Flipkart and Amazon to approve new sellers within an hour.
Bengaluru | By Aditi Shrivastava, ET Bureau | Feb 19, 2016, 07.38 AM IST.
Flipkart and Amazon India have both launched initiatives to enable sellers to onboard in under an hour, the latest efforts by the two largest online marketplaces in the country to woo vendors as they race to increase sales volumes.
Strengthening the supply chain and hastening delivery times have become crucial to improving customer experience—an aspect where younger, logistics-focused startups seem to be gaining an upper hand. From ramping up financial services for merchants, and increasing warehousing and delivery capacity, large online retailers are pulling out all stops to help sellers grow their businesses online, preferably on their platforms.
Amazon is calling its quick-enrolment programme for sellers Amazon Tatkal, a term the Passport Office employs for a scheme that ensures quick processing of passport applications.
“Our conversations with hundreds of small and medium businesses reveal that there is a high level of interest among them to get online and start selling,” said Gopal Pillai, general manager, seller services, Amazon India, which has about 55,000sellers on its platform. “But they are unable to overcome perception barriers of the process being time-consuming, tedious and complex. As a result many interested sellers tend to put off onboarding tasks.”
Amazon Tatkal offers registration, imaging and cataloguing services as well as basic seller training, all in about 60 minutes, Pillai said. The programme is an extension of the Amazon ‘Chaikart’ initiative that focuses on spreading awareness among small and medium enterprises on the benefits of selling online, he said.
Bengaluru-based Flipkart, which presently has about 85,000 merchants onboard, has been piloting its ‘Spotlist’ initiative since November. It was set up to provide infrastructure and training to merchants and help them get well-versed on how to catalogue their products quickly, a company spokesperson said. “Our partners will travel via Spotlist-branded vans and bikes along with the required equipment (camera, half mannequins or photo boxes) for these shoots,” this person said.
Flipkart wants to increase the number of merchants on its platform to 1 lakh. Amazon has not provided a target number. Both companies have a long way to go in terms of vendors. Paytm, the newest entrant to the online marketplace business, expects to onboard more than 5 lakh sellers by the end of this year, up from about 1 lakh now. Snapdeal is targeting 10 lakh sellers, up from about 2.5 lakh now.
India’s online retail sector, including travel and payments, is expected to breach the $100-billion (about Rs 6.8 lakh crore) mark by fiscal year 2020, according to Goldman Sachs, driven by a combination of increased internet and smartphone penetration, digital wallet adoption, investments in last-mile logistics and continued discounting by the online retailers.