After digital wallet Paytm, its ecommerce entity Paytm Mall is on a mission to empower offline sellers. The company in a recent statement has confirmed that it will invest about $5 Mn to bring offline sellers online, under its Retailer Inclusion Programme.
The Retailer Inclusion Programme will allow sellers to generate additional sales through the Paytm Mall. The company claims that on the basis of the feedback gathered by offline sellers on its Paytm digital wallet, it introduced the Retailer Inclusion Programme. The company will also set up a team of 500 personnel for the same.
Talking about the initiative Amit Sinha, Chief Operating Officer – Paytm Mall said, “India does not need one large e-retailer, it needs millions of e-retailers. We stand in support of these retailers and our purpose is to support their growth. We invite shopkeepers and brands looking to build technology-integrated businesses to partner with us. We will continue engaging with our partnered retailers to build our inclusion programme and enhance their businesses. This will create new jobs and further support our nation.”
Paytm Mall is owned by Paytm Ecommerce Pvt. Ltd. The ecommerce and payment platform launched its consumer shopping app Paytm Mall in February 2017. It is inspired by the model of China’s largest business-to-consumer (B2C) retail platform, TMall. In March 2017, Alibaba had invested $200 Mn in Paytm Mall.
The company, in an official statement, said that Paytm Mall will also help in digitising catalogues, opening their store on its mall and making their shops QR Code-enabled. Under the Retailer Inclusion Programme, it has also extended logistics support and GST training to equip these offline sellers. Apart from this, shopkeepers will also be provided assistance for working capital loans.
The company has recently undertaken strict measures about the quality of sellers on its platform, as it buckles up to compete with ecommerce retailers like Flipkart and Amazon. In July 2017, Paytm Mall revamped its seller onboarding process. To this end, the ecommerce platform delisted over 85K online sellers. The company also made it mandatory for online sellers to furnish brand authorisation letters.
At that time, Sinha had said, “Our goal is to set the benchmark for a platform that empowers reputed local shopkeepers and brands to sell quality merchandise. We will work closely with existing sellers and continue onboarding further. This will help us offer a superior consumer experience.”
Talking about the change in policy, Paytm CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma on Facebook said, “From (being an) open marketplace for any seller to now, only reputed and brand-authorised sellers. No more, bad shopping experience due to a few sellers. Now, only highly reputed and brand authorised retailers can sell on Paytm Mall.”
Later the same month, Paytm Mall delisted 50% of its logistics partners, stopping deliveries to more than 9,000 pin codes out of its total reach of 26,000 pin codes. The pin codes were excluded because guaranteed assistance in returns and replacements was not assured at these locations. This reduced Paytm Mall’s deliveries to 17,000 pin codes. The company is now on a roll to re-establish its hold by providing a better customer experience.
As Paytm Mall looks to venture deeper into the Tier-II and Tier-III markets it is taking up measures to be careful about establishing the authenticity of the ecommerce platform. The new Retailer Inclusion Programme will definitely add a new fillip to Paytm’s efforts to compete against ecommerce giants Amazon India and Flipkart.