Aamid speculation over WS Retail’s dominance of its online marketplace, Flipkart aims to get 1 lakh sellers on board by the end of the year. The homegrown e-tailer is also rolling out financial assistance, to the tune of Rs 50 lakh, for merchants to help them scale.
The e-tailer has been working with “a few trusted investors and partners” to offer working capital assistance to sellers. While the average loan value is Rs 5-10 lakh, it can go up to Rs 50 lakh, a senior Flipkart executive told FE. Though Flipkart did not disclose the number of sellers on its marketplace, the e-tailer had at least 3,000 merchants a year ago.
“Last year, we saw a lot of sellers across India adopting the e-commerce marketplace model both from metros as well as non-metros. Currently, we have thousands of sellers on our platform and are expecting exponential growth in our seller based this year,” said Ankit Nagori, senior vice-president, Marketplace, Flipkart.
Nagori added that categories like apparels and footwear, mobile and accessories and home décor and furnishing were the most popular among customers while home appliances and jewellery were also catching up.
The domestic e-commerce market is witnessing a three-pronged fight among Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. Though Amazon and Snapdeal crossed the $1-billion gross merchandise value (GMV) mark last year, Flipkart is well ahead, expecting to achieve $5 billion in GMV by the end of FY15. However, the company lags behind Snapdeal in terms of merchants. The Delhi-based e-tailer claims to have 100,000 sellers while Amazon has over 18,000 merchants.
Flipkart, however, has been in the eye of a storm over WS Retail, which was spun off into a separate entity and sold to a group of high net worth individuals led by former OnMobile COO Rajiv Kuchchal in February 2013, to comply with the country’s FDI regulations. However, WS Retail continues to be the largest seller on Flipkart’s marketplace, accounting for over 75% of overall sales. Besides, most of Flipkart’s exclusive partnerships are carried out through WS Retail.