Paytm Mall, the e-commerce business of Alibaba backed One97 Communication has launched a ‘retailer inclusion programme’ as it looks to help offline retailers in the areas of technology, besides aiding them in getting access to working capital via loans, etc. Under this programme, the company will invest $5 million. “India does not need one large e-retailer, it needs millions of e-retailers. We support these shopkeepers, hence would be educating them in terms of how to use technology to further drive sales more importantly on Paytm Mall besides other platforms,” said Amit Sinha, COO, Paytm Mall.
The e-commerce firm has set up a team of 500 personnel to address the needs of retailers. The team on a regular basis will collect feedback from shopkeepers including the challenges faced by them. It would then provide necessary support to retailers. The team is also organising workshops across the country for the sellers. As part of the programme, Paytm Mall will help shopkeepers in digitizing their catalogues, opening their store on its mall and making their shops QR Code-enabled. The e-commerce firm is also providing logistics support and GST training to brick-and-mortar retailers.
In July this year, Paytm Mall had delisted about 8,500 sellers who had failed to meet its quality standards. While Sinha refused to provide the total number of sellers currently active on Paytm Mall, he said that company is adding new sellers at a fast pace. “The only difference being these are authorised sellers by brands,” added Sinha.
In May, Paytm raised $1.4 billion from SoftBank Group, with latter acquiring 20% stake in the company. Post infusion of fresh funds, Paytm was valued at about $7 billion. As for the e-commerce business, Paytm Mall, in a separate transaction in March, it received investment worth $200 million from China’s Alibaba Group and SAIF Partners.