Offline to online: Paytm now allows mobile, appliances retailers to sell on ecommerce platform


February 11, 2016

Richa Maheshwari, The Economic Times

Bengaluru, 11 February 2016

Paytm is tying up with mobile and large appliance retailers to list their brick-and-mortar stores on its ecommerce platform as part of its omni-channel strategy.

"We will help these retailers create brand stores on Paytm and enable their offline channel to come online," said Amit Bagaria, associate vice president and mobile and electronics head at the payment wallet to ecommerce company.

With this, shoppers will get to choose the offline store from where they want their product. They will also have the option of either picking up their purchase from the shop or have it delivered.

The Alibaba-backed Paytm has tied up with close to 5,500 stores, including 4,000 brand exclusive mobile stores and 1,500 stores of large appliance retailers. These stores can list their products and selling price on Paytm platform.

"We are first working on the electronics segment since there are a fixed set of SKUs. Soon we will be rolling it out in other categories," said Bagaria.

Rival marketplace Snapdeal is also looking at giving an option to its consumers to buy on the platform and get the item delivered from neighbourhood store or buy it directly from the store through online guidance.

While deep discounting was once a vital ingredient for ecommerce companies to increase footfalls, now they seem to be looking at differentiating themselves with new consumer experiences besides exclusive products and services.

Recently, Flipkart-owned fashion portal Myntra revamped its app interface and made it more Facebook-like wherein brands have their own page, create their own content and can engage with customers.

According to industry experts, brands are struggling to stand out as the online market is flooded with hundreds of options.

Bagaria said many marketers want to use analytics and numbers and accordingly launch newer products. "Hence we will provide them with the data based on their virtual brand store where they can create content and talk about the brand," he said, adding that the company is moving away from flash-sale-model and will work on helping brands connect with their potential customers.

As per a joint report by Boston Consulting Group and Retailers Association of India, more than 400 million customers could potentially be digitally influenced by 2020, accounting for about 25% of total retail spend. Digitally influenced spenders research products and pricing online while purchasing them either offline or online, it said.

Devangshu Dutta, CEO at retail consultancy Third Eyesight said, "The hybrid model (offline to online) helps ecommerce companies to co-participate in the business opportunity. The benefit of having offline retailers on board helps them have distributed inventory and thereby improve their flexibility of doing business."

(Published in The Economic Times)