US-based etailer, Amazon, introduced its Global Selling service to India in 2015. This allowed online sellers on the platform sell to customers abroad. In 2016, Flipkart introduced a global sourcing platform for the reverse purpose. Flipkart Global allowed sellers on the etailer’s platform source goods from wholesalers outside the country.
However, the etailer has decided to close down this platform to concentrate on eBay’s global sourcing platform for this same purpose. The etailer grabbed eBay and $1.4 billion as funding back in April and may also be looking at selling globally through eBay’s foreign presence.
This platform was launched in January last year. It connected Indian sellers on Flipkart to manufacturers and suppliers across the world. The etailer assisted with payment completion through multiple options and arranged multiple logistic partners to enable delivery to seller doorsteps, after the clearance of customs.
Flipkart was a pilot programme. A Flipkart spokesperson said,
“Flipkart Global was a sourcing platform launched as a pilot programme in early 2016 to help our sellers source quality products from select international and domestic suppliers. The pilot ended in mid-2016 after a very successful run. We had good learnings from the pilot and now through our partnership with eBay, we are looking at implementing those learnings to provide great cross-border trade opportunities to our sellers.”
Using eBay for global reach
Flipkart Global may not be revived anytime soon as the online marketplace is reluctant to concentrate on global sourcing programmes of its own on a commercial scale. Instead, the etailer will be planning for cross-border ecommerce opportunities through eBay, its latest acquisition.
When the pilot programme commenced, they had a large number of imports coming in and new selections from China and the rest of the world said Flipkart’s head of marketplace Anil Goteti.
He said the programme was a success, “The pilot went very well and we learnt a lot from it. We connected a lot of our sellers with players abroad, and got a lot of new selections from overseas that are not currently available in India.”
He added, “We believe there is an opportunity for imports into the country, especially in categories where India doesn’t have access to these products as of now. That was a pilot and after running it successfully, we are ending it.”
With regards to the future of a global sourcing platform, Goteti mentioned that they were focusing on tying up with eBay and enabling imports through eBay. This is how Flipkart’s global sourcing platform will evolve.
Using eBay’s platform is not an attempt to revive Flipkart Global, this is because, “eBay.in is a very different business. eBay.in is more about the domestic business that eBay has here and is very different from eBay cross border trade,” said Goteti