Marketplaces woo sellers with seller advancement and support initiatives. According to a research report on online retail, e-retailing, which comprises online retail and online marketplaces, has become the fastest-growing segment in the larger market has grown at a CAGR of around 56 percent during 2009-14. The e-retail market was around USD 6 billion in 2015. As online marketplaces in India grow multifold, the online sellers to are growing rapidly. With increasing adoption, rise in government’s interest, private investment, entry of international players, the e-commerce industry is only getting bigger. Marketplaces are giving new opportunities to local art, artisans and small entrepreneurs from across the nation. As stated in a report published by the SMB Chamber of Commerce and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), there are over 48 million SMEs in India, who contribute 45% to India’s industrial output.
Almost all marketplaces have seller portals and dedicated teams to service the sellers. The typical support mediums online sellers can expect from marketplaces are:
- Email Support
- Phone Support
- Live Chat
- In-marketplace promotion
Well, it doesn’t stop here, the seller support has been taken notches above by the marketplaces with the not only sale based incentive scheme, but, cataloging, photography support, etc.
With the sellers increasingly using smart devices like phones, tablets, broadband, and 3G/4G services, it has led the marketplaces to develop seller applications. The seller apps make it easy for the sellers to do business-on-the-go and keep track of their business on a timely basis, making better business decisions.
The major Indian marketplaces, namely, Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon have grown by double-digits in the last few years. To be able to support the increase in business and the fierce competition amongst themselves, the marketplaces are wooing sellers with various initiatives and activities.
Snapdeal leads the game in terms of the number of sellers, claiming to have 2 lakh sellers, followed by Amazon with claims of 1 lakh sellers. According to a recent press release, Flipkart is also aiming to have 1 lakh sellers by the end of the year, with approx. 40,000 currently.
Seller Initiatives from Amazon
Amazon aims to tap into 50 million small and medium businesses by doubling its seller related activities. Amazon boasts of helping sellers grow by 10x over the last 2 years.
They are conducting webinars in different languages (keep increasing the number of languages) for retailers who do not know or understand online retailing and teach them about online business. They also have an on-ground team in various cities to educate the retailers about the usage of mobiles and apps.
For faster delivery and lower shipping costs, Amazon is supporting sellers by powering small warehouses owned by sellers. The program is called Seller Flex and follows its warehousing practices in quality control, inventory management, packaging, and shipping.
The company has been aggressively investing in increasing its seller base since it is a critical part of the e-commerce ecosystem. Amazon launched its Seller App recently, named ‘SellerMobile’. It allows the sellers to review orders, manage inventory, search products, scan barcodes, and list new products, all from a phone. The App is available for both the Apple Store and Android.
Amazon offers attractive sales incentives to top sellers, like a trip to Seattle, a chance to meet the top leadership including Jeff Bezos. Some of them also get to visit the Amazon Bangalore office and be rewarded with iPhone 6 Gold, LED TV, iPad Air and cashback.
Seller Initiatives from Flipkart
Flipkart is tapping the rapid growth in the SMEs adopting online selling and aims to create 10,000 millionaires by the end of 2015. The company has a seller training center with a focus on encouraging manufacturing and employment. The tech company is also engaging in enabling technically sound environment to the sellers.
The payments to sellers are being done timely to ensure higher satisfaction of the sellers. The e-tailer is also providing financial assistance to retailers in association with various financial institutions for loans up to INR 50 Lacs.
Flipkart launched an Android-based ‘Seller Hub’ app for its sellers to access data related to their listings, orders, returns, payments, and order fulfillment in real-time. The app will offer end-to-end visibility and enable sellers to enjoy a seamless selling experience. This initiative creates ease and convenience for sellers across the nation.
Flipkart also tied up with numerous Government bodies to bring more sellers to the platform by encouraging small scale industry and artisans.
Seller Initiatives from Snapdeal
Snapdeal has entered into a partnership with Yes Bank for its banking product suite to receive faster COD collections from BlueDart and in turn help in timely payments to the sellers. This was an important step in the value chain since the COD model accounts for about 60 percent of all e-commerce transactions, with transaction value expected to touch about Rs 54,000 crore by 2016.
Snapdeal is aiming to bring a million sellers onboard its marketplace platform over the next three years, currently has about 2,00,000 micro, small and medium entrepreneurs, selling a variety of goods on its web and mobile sites.
‘SellerZone’, Snapdeal’s app for sellers was the first one in India and made it easier for sellers to sell online.
In earlier days, when the distributors and retailers were being lured by FMCG and other consumer companies, who would have imagined that companies which only act as mediators (marketplaces), connecting sellers and buyers will have such plans and will change the way retailers used to be.