Close on Flipkart’s latest funding round from the SoftBank Vision Fund, Paytm Mall is investing $5 million to get on board 50,000 offline sellers. The programme is called Retailer Inclusion Programme “which will address support and empower these shopkeepers to challenge large monolithic online retailers.”
The company will set up a team of 500 personnel to retailers and will act as a direct link between the company and its partner retailers. It will also partner with external financial organizations to enable working capital loans ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 25 lakh for these retailers.
Note that Paytm raised funding of $1.4 billion from SoftBank Group this year and earlier had to spin off e-commerce business as a separate entity and raised $200 million from Alibaba. Paytm Mall is taking cues from Alibaba and is trying to build and offline-to-online (O2O) business through its network of QR codes.
The landscape for the dominance of e-commerce in India is again now a fight between three players. At this point, Paytm, Flipkart and Amazon are trying to build capabilities in e-commerce and payments.
Flipkart and Amazon’s payment capabilities
Meanwhile, Flipkart acquired payments company PhonePe and hived it as a separate business unit. PhonePe has a unified payments interface (UPI) app in partnership with Yes Bank. Recently, the company confirmed to MediaNama that it is getting into offline commerce – an area where Paytm dominates – and partnered with offline chains such as Apollo Pharmacy, Barista, Café Coffee Day, Spencer’s, KFC among others.
Amazon India has also got a wallet licence from the Reserve Bank of India and launched a service called Amazon Pay. The wallet service can be loaded with digital cash using credit and debit cards and net banking. Users can shop on the ecommerce website using this balance. It also works as a refund option and as a faster check out option: Amazon claims that via Amazon Pay, refunds for orders will be processed in 24 hours while ensuring faster checkout at the payment stage. Recently, it started mobile phone recharges and the wallet balance can be used for other apps/services like AbhiBus, Faasos, Justickets, Haptik, Housejoy, Box8, Byjus, Café Coffee Day outlets among others.