Deals that pay: Small players piggyback on e-tailer giants

Written by Sayan Chakraborty | Bangalore | Updated: Jul 6 2014, 05:36am hrs
Traffic popularDon?t have to spend on attracting the kind of traffic popular sites enjoy
At a time when buyers have multiple online marketplaces to choose the best deals from, the space can get a bit competitive. This could mean the small fry watch from the sidelines as the giants make a killing. But, this is not so when it comes to online retail.

Smaller and niche e-tailers are not only leveraging online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon to drive domestic sales, they are also maintaining their own trading channels at the same time. Tying up with bigger sellers solves their limited infrastructure and logistics problems, while providing them higher visibility and sales.

A nascent business like Eristona, emerging players like Fashionara and Caratlane or even seasoned veterans like Croma and Utsavfashion, among others, have tied up with either Amazon, eBay or homegrown online marketplaces like Flipkart and Snapdeal.

The associations not only offer them alternative ways to make inroads into the countrys 200-million internet user base and step

up sales without spending a fortune on marketing

drives, but also help them direct traffic to their individual portals in case of repeat purchases.

Eristona, a Delhi-based online jewellery platform launched four months ago, was roped in by eBay within a month of going live. The portal, which records monthly sales of around R2.5 lakh, draws one-fifth of its volumes from eBay. Though a majority of the sales come through our own website, eBay has been a good reaching point, as it generates awareness about the brand, says Shagun Chaddha, Eristona founder.

As per eBay Indias lifestyle business head Upamanyu Bhattacharya, the online marketplace has 2.1 million active consumers from 4,306 cities in the country, a figure alluring enough for smaller e-tailers.

A significant part of the multi-channel strategy of brands and retailers is

tapping consumers at all touch points. They will be increasingly looking at multiple avenues to be visible at every channel of trade, including e-commerce, mobile commerce and social commerce, Bhattacharya says.

Consumer electronics and durables chain Croma, which has over 100 physical stores and generates close to R2 crore revenue every week from its online store, also sells its wares through eBay and Amazon. Croma launched a store on eBay in February last year and started selling on Amazon a few months later.

Ajit Joshi, MD and CEO of Infiniti Retail, a Tata Group company which runs Croma, said: Croma optimised the large user base of eBay India as part of its multi-channel strategy. The end-to-end operations of the eBay store is managed by an in-house team at Croma and leveraged by eBay PowerShip for the logistics service to customers.

For 10-year-old ethnic apparel brand Utsavfashion, the idea was to gain more visibility. The private label e-tailer, which derives over 90% of its revenues from overseas sales, has tied up with Flipkart, Snapdeal and Yebhi, besides eBay and Amazon. If we sell exclusively on our website, we have to spend money to drive traffic to our portal. Here, the idea is to feature my products on websites where traffic is already coming, said Shivank Sidhu, head-marketing,, an Amazon-backed search and comparison shopping website, has seen a significant spurt in listings on its platform. Launched in February 2012, the portal today has 30 million listings from over 2,000 online shopping sites and 100,000 nearby stores. For some sellers, Junglee contributes to about half of their total orders, said Mahendra Nerurkar, general manager,