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Anti-FDI small trade associations joining eBay India en masse

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Small trade associations that were against FDI in e-commerce in India will soon start selling via e-commerce platform eBay India, reports Business Standard.

The list of small trade associations that have agreed to use the platform recently include Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Engineering Export Promotion Council, GJEPC (Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council), Jaipur Jewellers Association, Delhi Hindustan Merchantile Association, Eastern UP Exporters Association, Gurgaon Chamber of Commerce, Tirupur Exporters Associations, Surat Diamond Association, District Industries Centre, Thrissur and Vijayawada Chamber of Commerce.

These traders told the publication that they prefer eBay as it is only a marketplace and does not compete against them (like Flipkart does with WS-Retail). Turns out eBay India approached these traders, which is why they have signed up for the service, instead of joining other marketplaces such as Snapdeal or Amazon.

eBay had started focusing on offline brands in 2012, and had started by on-boarding bigger Indian brands, but this seems to be the first time it has approached such trade bodies to register sellers on its website.

Against FDI or against vested interest? A bunch of retailers in Bangalore had last year protested against the pricing policies followed by VC-backed e-commerce companies, with some alleging that these companies were engaging in predatory pricing.

Praveen Khandelwal, general secretary of the Confederation of All-India Traders, told the publication that the traders were still opposed to foreign investment in retail. He however, said that online marketplaces, like those provided by eBay, could help local traders to grow their business.

This, despite the recent rise of plug-n-play e-commerce solutions from Shopify, CCAvenue, Kartrocket, Martjack and Buildabazaar among others, that enable merchants to set up an online store very quickly. Some of these companies offer a full suite of services that include web store, payment gateway, marketing support and logistics among others, but it is still very difficult for these smaller players to drive traffic to these websites.

That being the case, these traders still need these bigger e-commerce websites, irrespective of who owns or funds them. The only bone of contention for these retailers seem to be if these websites have a vested interest or not.

Is this about exclusivity? E-commerce websites have been adopting exclusivity apart from flash sales and deals to get people to use their services more than that of the competitors. This tie-up could be looked through such a lens, though it is not clear how much demand exists for products offered by these retailers. If the products sold by these retailers have a resonance with shoppers on eBay, then the e-commerce site seems to have found a way to use the anger these retailers have against deeply discounted services offered by several Indian e-commerce sites, to its advantage.

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