(By Bhavya Arora & Nikhil Pahwa)

Online commerce company Infibeam has launched buildabazaar.com, allowing online businesses to create their own e-commerce store. In the past, online commerce portals have tied up with large publishers, and had to pay them a fee – something on the lines of a traffic / user acquisition fee – for selling. What Infibeam has done is, created a standard format for sales. We’ve said before that there’s a need for a plug-and-play payment gateway service, and Infibeam appears to have gone beyond that, and allowed creation of customized storefronts. Here’s what you need to know about the service:

– Low entry costs: the basic model is available for free for the first 6 months, and for around Rs 500 a month after that, for which you get an online space complete with a payment gateway.

– Transaction fees: For every product of yours that is sold, you pay a transaction fee of 1% or 5% while the site pays you a commission of 1% or 2% for every Infibeam product that’s sold on your domain.

– Payment cycle: Payment will be released in weekly cycles for products verified by customers post delivery. Seller Commission will be also be released in weekly cycles. Service Taxes will be extra.

– Shipping: Infibeam takes care of its own shipping, while the storefront owner is responsible for shipping their own goods

– Cash On Delivery: Not available in most cases, only for the storefronts who meet an unspecified eligibility criteria.

– The catch: You need to add some of Infibeam’s products under your brand umbrella and showcase them for selling as well. This might dilute your product offering or Infibeam’s products might not be consistent with what you’re offering, given that Infibeam claims to retail around Rs 1 lakh products, there might be products that fit with your portfolio.

You do have an option to not showcase their products, but that calls for a custom quote. There are 3 pricing models – Basic at Rs 500 per month, Professional at Rs 2500 per month and a customized implementation, the cost of which is negotiable.

– International Parallels: There are some international parallels to this model, for example vendder.com and Yahoo! Small Businesses, but both of them concentrate on simply providing a store creation service, straight up server space with ecommerce facilities without piggy-backing any other products on to your domain.

Will It Work?

What’s unique about Infibeam’s approach is that you don’t really need any products to set up shop and start selling. You can pretty much just choose their products and sell for commissions. Does that work in India? I’m not sure but I’m inclined to say that it might. There’s not much to lose selling for commission and if you get enough traffic, you can think of introducing your products in there. Even if your products don’t do well, maybe Infibeam’s would, so there’s some change in the cash register.

Overall, we’d say wait and watch, and a 3 on 5 for that innovative twist of a semblance of MLM.