Monday 24 September 2018

Amazon India Slashes Seller Fee Before Festive Sale In October

Amazon India's move to cut seller fee will encourage its vendors to stock more products
The company has reduced its sellers’ commission by 2% in the apparel, home, and electronic accessories categories
The rates for the 'Go Local' programme have been reduced by 20%
Online ecommerce giant Amazon India has reportedly reduced both its storage charges as well as seller fee in five categories in order to encourage vendors to stock more products ahead of its festive season sale in October this year.
The company has also reduced the rates of its Go Local programme by at least 20%, which will enable sellers to bring their inventories closer to their customers by improving their delivery speed. The Go Local programme introduced by Amazon is a distance-based shipment fee for third-party sellers. However, vendors have expressed concerns that the proposed rule can lead to a 15% additional cost of doing business for them.
Further, Amazon has slashed the commission it charges sellers by 2% in popular categories such as apparel, home, and electronic accessories. The company has also cut the closing fee for sellers who use its fulfilment centres to store products. 
With this revised seller fee, Amazon India aims to give its sellers an added benefit so they participate enthusiastically in the upcoming festive sale. This will further help the company in avoiding last-minute “out of stock” situations and deliver its products faster.
Also, the cut in seller fees in categories such as apparel and home will further help Amazon India tackle issues arising due to heavy discounting during the festive sale.
According to reports, the Amazon India has been witnessing an addition of 3,000 sellers every week.
Even though the company is taking steps to support the merchants on its platform, a group of sellers is reportedly in the process of filing a case against the company alleging that it gives “ preferential treatment” to larger sellers such as Cloudtail and Appario.
This is not the first time Amazon has revised its seller fee structure. It has done it before as well on the following occasions
  • In June 2018, it reduced its seller fees in categories such as furniture and luggage
  • In April 2018, the company reduced the seller fees by 70% in categories such as daily needs and apparel, while it was increased by up to 50% for items like power banks, chargers, shoes etc.
It must also be noted that after the completion of the Walmart-Flipkart deal, Flipkart reduced its commission in low-priced categories in August 2018.
Meanwhile, ecommerce companies are looking to sparkle in their upcoming festive sales.
The month of October usually marks the beginning of the festive season in India. Not only Amazon India, but it’s arch-rival Flipkart is also gearing up for its annual festive sale — Big Billion Days — which is scheduled to begin on October 10. This time, it plans to increase the total headcount of its delivery and warehousing executives to 100K.
Recently, a group of online sellers affiliated to Flipkart requested the country’s fair trade watchdog — the Competition Commission of India (CCI) — to restrict large sellers from participating in the five-day Big Billion Days sale.
According to the Economic Survey 2018, India’s ecommerce market reached $33 Bnand registered a 19.1% growth in 2016-2017. Last year, Flipkart claimed the top spotin the festive season sale as managed to sell around 1.3 Mn smartphones within the first 20 hours of the category opening for sale.
With the festive season sales playing a major role in hiking up the overall gross merchandise value (GMV) of ecommerce companies, Amazon India’s latest move of slashing seller fee is sure to encourage vendors to stock up on more products in view of the upcoming sale.

Walmart May Appoint New Group CEO For Flipkart

Walmart is looking to separate the responsibilities of chairman and group CEO
Walmart holds the rights to appoint a new Flipkart CEO or chief financial officer, in the event of a vacancy
Flipkart CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy is one of the candidates likely to become group CEO
Whenever Flipkart has gone through leadership changes, the company has taken another step at success. Seems the global retailer Walmart is expecting the same. Post receiving the CCI approval for the acquisition, Walmart is reportedly considering naming a new chief executive at the group level.
At present, Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal is the Group CEO while Kalyan Krishnamurthy holds the Flipkart CEO position. According to media speculations, Krishnamurthy is the first choice as a Group CEO for Walmart now.
Krishnamurthy was first appointed as Flipkart CEO in January 2017 when Binny Bansal stepped down from his position. At the same time, Binny Bansal took up the responsibilities as Group CEO of Flipkart. Prior to that,  Flipkart CEO Sachin Bansal steps down and was replaced by co-founder Binny Bansal 
To be noted, Walmart holds the rights to appoint a new Flipkart CEO or chief financial officer, in the event of a vacancy, in accordance with the company regulatory filings.
The move is in line with global retailer’s plans to separate the responsibilities of chairman and group CEO and therefore may look at both internal and external candidates for the group CEO role.
It is further suggested that Flipkart may decide to name a new group CEO, partly because co-founder and current group CEO Binny Bansal is not actively involved in daily operations. He will, however, remain the chairman of the company.
However, these discussions are still at a nascent stage and not yet entirely finalised. A Flipkart spokesperson said the company does not comment on “speculations and rumours”.
If, and when, Bansal leaves, he has to follow a stringent non-compete clause that will prevent him from working with any competitor of Flipkart’s group companies for 18 months from the date of his departure or from the date his shareholding in Flipkart falls below 2%.
The development comes soon after Walmart moved several of its leaders to senior positions at the group level at Flipkart. Walmart appointed a new chief financial officer, general counsel, chief ethics and compliance officer and group controller.
In August 2018, Walmart had announced that it had acquired 77% of Flipkart for $16 Bn, valuing the homegrown ecommerce unicorn at $22 Bn which is reportedly one of the largest ecommerce acquisition deals in the world. Post-acquisition of the retail giant has also stated that Flipkart’s existing management team will continue to lead the business.
As the new parent-subsidiary combination, global retailer Walmart and Indian ecommerce giant Flipkart have been gearing up to challenge Amazon, one of the biggest war is expected during the upcoming festive season. While challenging global player Amazon with major market share and playing one of the biggest acquisitions in Indian ecommerce, Flipkart has created one of the most successful stories in India.
However, the sudden exit of Sachin Bansal (he bid adieu to the Flipkart team after 11+ years) from the company and now, speculations around the removal of Binny Bansal from a key leadership position, cannot be ignored. Not to mention, that both these co-founders have been an active supporter of the local lobby group in India to support the rights of startup founders against the foreign investors.
Walmart has been chanting the mantra of supporting the local small retailers and kirana stores and being an asset to the Indian ecommerce ecosystem as a whole. But the way, Walmart is smoothly placing its own people in the company, it forces us to question, “What is cooking behind the Walmart desk?”

Wednesday 5 September 2018

How Google will change e-commerce in India; Diwali deadline in face-off with Amazon, Flipkart

Amidst the new game set to begin, a series of interesting trends will roll out both for consumers and the sector alike, predict experts. Firstly, for consumers, the party will continue with raining deals, discounts and cashbacks, says Sidharth Rao, co-founder and CEO of digital agency Dentsu WebChutney. Secondly, the market will further ripen up for acquisitions. The big three, flushed with big money and investor optimism, will aim to buy out smaller players to beef up their e-commerce war chest in India.

How Google will change e-commerce in India; Diwali deadline in face-off with Amazon, Flipkart
Global giant Google is rumoured to debut in e-commerce from India around Diwali. Chances are this might instantaneously transform the e-commerce sector into a super-interesting battlefield. Image source: Reuter

How Women Sellers are Breaking Barriers and Selling Online

Women can play multiple roles. At any point in time, they can be mothers, businesspersons, leaders, workers, decision-makers, and much more. Women today are not only breaking stereotypes to better their own lives but also inspiring other men and women around them. Barriers can come in any form. But all it takes to break these barriers is self-confidence and the urge do something. This article explores the story of two such women who broke the shackles of societal pressure and age-old dogmas and paved their path to success by selling on Amazon. Let us watch their stories.

Shilpa breaks patriarchal norms; starts her own business

“The greatest barrier to someone achieving their potential is their denial of it.” – Simon Travaglia. In Shilpa’s case, societal norms played a villainous role but she did not let her circumstances stop her from dreaming big and also achieving those dreams. Belonging to a conservative family and coming from Bhiwani, a small town in Haryana, 24-year-old Shilpa always knew it would be hard for her to convince her parents to let her do higher studies and go to a big city for a job. Beating all the odds, she managed to convince her family to let her complete her studies and do a job of her choice. It was during her stint with various small e-commerce companies, the entrepreneurial bug bit her and she decided to start her own business. But then, she was scared to even think of telling her parents about her decision. So, she started her business without informing her parents and later when her business flourished, she told her parents. To her immense astonishment, her parents are super proud of their daughter breaking all the barriers and achieving her dreams.

‘Age is just a number’ – At 50, Seema takes her hobby online

With a drive to be an independent earner and an aim to employ women to uplift their lives, Seema Bansal, a 50-year-old woman from Bhopal started selling on Amazon. Since her childhood, she has always been interested in keeping her things organised, and doing something creative. But then, the responsibility of raising her kids and managing the family took precedence over following her dreams. After fifteen years of being married, she felt that she should start something of her own. Taking her passion of making creative things out of old or new unused pieces of cloth, Seema started teaching her housemaids the art of sewing organisers or covers for sarees, bangles, shirts, and other items. She began her journey employing one woman and is now employing twelve of them. Her business that started as a hobby is now a full-fledged one witnessing exponential growth. With this growth, she aims to grow her business on Amazon and build a better future for these women.
If these stories inspire you to do something of your own and achieve your dreams, wait no more! Set up your own online store on Amazon for free, and start selling today!

Tuesday 4 September 2018

Mutual Funds Platform Paytm Money Starts Public Operations With 850K Users

Paytm aims to double the mutual fund investor base in India within the next three to five years
Paytm Money will offer direct mutual fund schemes from 25 asset management companies
Paytm Money app will be available for download from September 4 on both Android and iOS
Digital payments giant Paytm has now publically launched its fourth consumer brand in India— a mutual funds platform called Paytm Money. 
After reeling in 500K registrations well before the launch, the company officially started its operations with 850K users. It aims to double the mutual fund investor base in India within the next three to five years.
The company claims that of these 850K users, 65% are from B15 (beyond Top 15 cities) as the platform wants to provide wealth creation opportunities to people in smaller cities and interior towns.
Paytm Money app will be available for download from September 4 on both Android and iOS. It supports investing from over 190 banks through auto-pay e-mandates, physical mandates and netbanking.
The platform, based in Bengaluru, was built from scratch and operates independently as a Paytm entity. Paytm Money will focus on building investments and wealth management products and services.
With a more-than 100-member team led by Whole-time Director Pravin Jadhav, Paytm Money has received an investment commitment of $10 Mn from its parent One97 Communications for setting up of its operations.
Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Founder and CEO of Paytm, said, “Access to wealth creation opportunities till today has been limited to a select few. With Paytm Money, we want to democratise and bring mutual fund investments to millions of Indians. We are committed to taking the mutual fund investor base in India to 50 Mn in the next five years and expect Paytm Money to be the catalyst in bringing new incremental investors to this industry.”
Here’s a quick look at the offerings of Paytm Money:
  • The company will start by providing access to the platform to more than 2,500 users a day and will increase this to over 10K users daily over the next few weeks
  • Users will be informed when they are given access on their registered mobile number or email address
  • Paytm Money will enable users to complete their fully digital KYC and onboarding for mutual fund investments to offer faster access to its app
  • Its team will closely work with its initial users to seek feedback and suggestions before opening up the service to all
  • The company has partnered with 25 asset management companies (AMCs), which cover 90% of the industry assets under management (AUM). It will offer direct mutual funds plans that come with lower expense ratios due to zero distribution fee or commissions
  • Users can start investing in a lump sum or via SIPs with as little as INR 100 in some of the schemes
  • Paytm Money has tied up with leading rating services — MorningStar, CRISIL, and Value Research — to ease the investment decision-making process for its users
Pravin Jadhav said, “With Paytm Money, our role is to connect millions of investors to India’s trusted AMCs and fund managers while making the investing process simple, transparent, accessible to all, and offer it completely free to investors. We are building a technology based platform that offers both investment advisory and execution services, complete detailed risk profiling, and provides all possible information to users before they take any investment decision.”
The company plans to invest further in product, design, data science, and machine learning to analyse users’ risk assessment and recommend advisory portfolios and investment options that best suit individual users from time to time.
Earlier this year, the company received Sebi approval to act as an investment advisor (IA) and aims to provide both investment advisory and execution services.
Paytm Money aims to become a full-stack investment and wealth management company.
Recently, Paytm acquired Bengaluru-based smart savings management startup Balance Technology for an undisclosed sum. Balance Technology is a personal savings app that enables users to save petty change and invest in fixed deposits and mutual funds.

Mutual Funds Industry In India

According to the IBEF, the mutual funds (MF) industry in India has seen rapid growth in its total AUM.
The AUM of the industry increased 25.79% year-on-year to hit a record high of $ 342.91 Bn (INR 22 Lakh Cr) at the end of February 2018. At the same time, the number of MF equity portfolios reached a record high of 2.27 Bn in the same month.
As of April 2018, the four key metros — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Chennai — were expected to see revenues worth $7.2 Bn generated annually through increasing payments in the digital mode. This indicates the rising opportunity for the online wealth management industry in India.
In the mutual funds’ industry, startups such as Fisdom, a personal wealth management startup; WealthTrust, a wealth management application; Tauro Wealth, a stock market investments platform; Tipbazaar; and Scripbox have been working to tap into the growing market. Most recently, ETMoney, after operating for three years as a regular mutual funds platform, has now shifted to offering only direct mutual fund plans on its platform.
ETMoney currently offers more than 1,000 mutual funds on its platform. It has tied up with 20 asset management companies (AMCs) to offer direct mutual fund plans and has already seen more than 2 Cr transactions on its platform since it started offering mutual funds on its app in 2016.
The Indian fintech software market is forecast to cross $2.4 Bn by 2020, according to a report by KPMG India and NASSCOM. India is currently home to more than 500 fintech startups.
According to the Inc42 DataLabs Indian Startup Funding report 2017, the overall Indian fintech industry received $3.01 Bn funding across 111 deals in 2017.
The sector continues to witness aggressive growth. According to the Indian Tech Startup Funding H1 2018 report, fintech as a sector witnessed the highest funding in the first half of the year.

Amazon India unveils Hindi mobile website, Android app in a bid to make deeper inroads into e-commerce market

New Delhi: on Tuesday launched a Hindi version of its mobile website and app for Android smartphones in a bid to make deeper inroads into India’s fast-growing e-commerce market, stepping up its battle with Walmart’s Flipkart unit.
None of India’s other leading e-commerce portals - Flipkart, Snapdeal or Paytm Mall - currently have a local language version of their apps or websites, and the move to launch a Hindi app and website could give Amazon access to tens of millions of new customers in India’s small towns and villages.
Representative image. Reuters
Representative image. Reuters
“What we believe is, in Hindi is a critical step to actually address the next 100 million customers,” Manish Tiwary, Vice President, Category Management at Amazon India told reporters at a news conference.
Amazon is looking to win over the next 100 million customers in the country, its India head Amit Agarwal told Reuters in April. The country’s e-commerce market is tipped to grow to $200 billion in a decade, according to Morgan Stanley.
Flipkart, along with its fashion units Myntra and Jabong, is slightly ahead of Amazon in India’s online retail, according to Forrester estimates.
Amazon also has plans to support more local Indian languages on its shopping app and mobile website and will also extend the service to mobile platforms beyond Android, said Kishore Thota, Amazon India’s head of customer experience and marketing, without giving a timeline.