Indian offline sellers are in for a treat this festive season as Paytm Mall gets ready to woo them. The Alibaba-backed company has set aside a whopping $5 million (Rs. 32 crore) for on-boarding new offline sellers into its online marketplace Paytm Mall.
Paytm betting on online-offline combination for success
Termed as the ‘retailer inclusion programme’, Paytm Mall is looking to add 50,000 small retailers and shop-owners in its platform. This is aligned with the etailer’s differentiated online-to-offline (O2O) strategy.
The $5 million investment would be utilized to educate and train sellers about the benefits of selling online and potential of their business.
While speaking about the inclusion programme, Paytm Mall’s COO Amit Sinha shared, “We aim to bring on-board around 50,000 shopkeepers in the first year of the programme, educate them on technology and provide various kinds of awareness programmes and learning facilities which will help them in their business.”
Paytm Mall is going to offer offline sellers:
- Assistance in finding the right consumers, the positioning and branding for their products
- Full stack service to encourage selling online and the benefits of the same
- Assistance in solving the issues faced by small to medium sized retailers at no extra cost
- Logistics support
- GST training
- Facilitate access to working capital loans
- Equip shopkeepers with technology by digitising their catalogues
- Assistance in opening their stores on Paytm Mall
- Enabling QR code transactions through their stores
The marketplace has set up a team of 500 people to carry out the above mentioned duties.
“This team acts as a direct link between the company and its partner-retailers. The team meets them on a regular basis to receive their feedback, understand their challenges and offer necessary support for their growth. The company is on-boarding more retailers and is expanding its footprint,” said the company spokesperson.
Would this new batch of sellers get dumped by Paytm like the recent 85K delisted sellers?
Last month, Paytm Mall delisted more than 85,000 sellers to prevent fraudulent retail and remove sub-standard products from its platform. The etailer also clearly spelled out that brand authorization letters are mandatory for vendors who want to sell branded goods. It is a move in the right direction because it would improve the quality of product offerings and service.
But would all the new 50,000 small shopkeepers have authorization letters of brands or high-quality products? If not, then would they be delisted eventually like the 85K? How would Paytm maintain the quality standards when these sellers need to be trained from scratch? Or would these offline retailers join the group of online sellers that have negative profit and a mount of debt?