Paytm : Rs 20,000 crore lined up, Paytm swears by India digital play

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NEW DELHI: Paytm, with high-profile investors like SoftBank and Alibaba, has strained up a huge investment plan of Rs 20,000 crore. As the group enlarges its play into the digital payments, monetary services and e- commerce space in the country.

“In the last 2 years and the next three years, we would have invested Rs 18,000-20,000 crore. I don’t want to talk about profitability right now because we are still in an investment phase,” reporters were informed by the Vijay Shekhar Sharma who is Paytm founder and CEO

He was talking on the sidelines of the official launch of Paytm Payments Bank operations.

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which offers a mobile wallet, recharge, bill payment services, e-commerce (Paytm Mall) and ticketing services. Saw a enormous growth in its business after the government’s demonetisation drive in November last year. Paytm has 28 crore registered users, of which 18 million use Paytm wallet service.
Sharma said its platform processes about 250 crore transactions yearly value of Rs 80,000 crore.

“We expect this to grow to Rs 1 lakh crore by the end of the fiscal. The number of merchants on our platform will also touch 60 lakh in a few months,” he further informed.

Sharma also said  The company, will spend Rs 5,000 crore over the next 2 years in its financial and payments services.  Rs 1,700 crore have already been pumped in this year.

“Paytm is a contribution positive business. We are not profitable yet because we are investing in marketing, cloud and customer acquisition,” he added.

He further added that for the Payments Bank operations, the aim is to break even in the next 2  years.

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Flipkart Grocery : Flipkart does a soft launch of its grocery category under Supermart in Bengaluru

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Flipkart Grocery : Flipkart does a soft launch of its grocery category under Supermart in Bengaluru

BENGALURU: Online retailer Flipkart has re-entered the basic need class, propelling it under Supermart on its portable application to an underlying arrangement of clients in Bengaluru ­­ venturing up rivalry against US-based opponent Amazon.

Flipkart, which has been looking at foraying into the FMCG fragment for some time now, had propelled flipkart basic supply classification and began conveyances in Bengaluru a couple of months back, just for its workers.

Flipkart basic need commercial center requires a base request estimation of Rs 500 and gives free conveyance to orders over Rs 1,000, as indicated by data accessible on the versatile application.

“We have done a soft launch for grocery categories at Flipkart. Currently, it is available to select customers in Bengaluru. In line with our aim of transforming e-commerce in the country through technology, we want to make shopping for everyday essentials convenient for our customers, we intend to scale it up to all customers in Bengaluru and take it to other cities in future,” a Flipkart representative said.

This isn’t Flipkart’s first raid into the basic need fragment. The organization had entered the basic need conveyance benefit through its application Nearby in 2015, which used to convey from neighborhood kirana stores. In any case, the activity was closed during a few time later.

Basic supply has been a noteworthy purpose of center for Amazon India since a year ago because of its rehash buys prompting higher client securing. Paytm Mall, alongside its principle financial specialist Alibaba, is likewise growing in this space and is in converses with purchase a noteworthy stake in the biggest staple retailer BigBasket.

Amazon India offers sustenance items through Amazon Pantry in a few urban areas and same-day basic supply conveyance on Amazon Now application through a tie-up with retailers, for example, Big Bazaar and Hypercity in a few urban areas.

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is building a committed inventory network for its basic supply benefit and is giving choices, for example, open-box conveyance to confirm items before acknowledgment and doorstep returns if the client faces any issue with the item.

Source: IndiaTimes

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E-wallet : Tata CLiQ to launch e-wallet in 4-5 months

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MUMBAI: Tata Group owned e-commerce marketplace Tata CliQ will launch an e-wallet exclusively for use in the marketplace in the next 4-5 months and eventually foray into selling services such as financial services.

It also plans to double the present 60 brands who have set up their omni-channel presence on the platform in one year. These are part of the plans to become the country’s largest omni-channel platform for which it will continue the investment mode while targeting to break even in 3-4 years, said Ashutosh Pandey, CEO at Tata UniStore, which owns and operates the website.

“We are currently in a growth phase and focus is on building brand, omni-channel relationships and traffic. A total of 800 plus brands across electronics, fashion, shoes, watches, kids and luxury sell through the marketplace. E-wallets too will be launched since they account for almost 20% of online payments. Our wallet will, however, be used only to enable customers to pay on our site and get refunds, though we could look at extending it to our omnichannel partners in future,” said Pandey. Tata CliQ will soon launch newer categories like jewellery, home furnishing and furniture. However, FMCG is not in the pipeline as yet, said Pandey. Tata CliQ went live in late May 2016.

Pandey said the just-completed festive season was significantly above expectations, with overall sales and traffic during the period growing by 25 times and 15 times respectively than the usual sales, which will also reflect in the financial performance for the current fiscal.

“Our focus isn’t on just selling low-value products like unbranded pen drives and power banks to increase volumes. Instead, our focus was on experience-led large ticket items like 50-inch plus televisions, AC, luxury products. It will remain so in future as well so that customers have a differentiated experience while buying on our site,” he said.
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BookMyShow : Flipkart in talks for a possible partnership with online ticketing platform BookMyShow

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BookMyShow : Flipkart in talks for a possible partnership with online ticketing platform

E-commerce firm Flipkart is in talks for a partnership with online ticketing platform BookMyShow in a bid to build out its services and transaction offering, the Economic Timesnewspaper reported.

The talks are at a preliminary stage and may see Flipkart picking up a significant minority stake in BookMyShow, two people familiar with the discussions told the paper.

Flipkart, which secured nearly $2.5 billion in funding from Japan’s SoftBank Group in August, did not respond to a request for comment.

BookMyShow, owned by Mumbai-based Bigtree Entertainment Pvt Ltd, was not immediately available for comment.

Source : FirstPost

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Ecommerce : India may face pressure to open up ecommerce

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Ecommerce : India may face pressure to open up ecommerce

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NEW DELHI: India is expected to face pressure to begin talks to open up cross-border digital trade and also ease investment norms in a crucial two-day meeting of trade ministers of key countries in Marrakech beginning Monday. Trade ministers of many developed and developing countries, including India, are meeting on October 9-10 for a mini-ministerial of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) ahead of the ministerial conference in Argentina later in the year.

Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu will represent India at the meet whose outcome would define the broad contours for the December meet. India is likely to reiterate its demand for a permanent solution for public stockholding (PSH) of food grains and the continued relevance of the Doha Development Agenda. The previous ministerial conference in Nairobi in 2015 had culminated in a divided opinion on the issue.

“Our concern is if Doha will be mentioned at all in Argentina. Reiteration of Doha is important for us,” said an official aware of Delhi’s position.

The Doha round seeks to put in place a global pact to reduce trade barriers. As part of the G-33, India floated a revised paper on PSH proposing the inclusion of procurement of foodstuff at minimum support price and their distribution at subsidised rates in the global rules for agriculture in order to safeguard the interests of low-income resource-poor farmers and ensure food security to the poor.

Delhi’s concerns are not unfounded as developed countries like the US, the EU and Japan and a few developing ones like Singapore are not only opposed to these but also want new subjects like e-commerce, investment facilitation, fisheries and MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) to brought in the ambit of WTO’s multilateral discourse. While India is already discussing fisheries subsidies and an outcome is likely on the issue, the official said a lot is being pushed on investment facilitation, fisheries and MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) to brought in the ambit of WTO’s multilateral discourse. While India is already discussing fisheries subsidies and an outcome is likely on the issue, the official said a lot is being pushed on investment facilitation and e-commerce in the garb of these benefiting MSMEs.

Online sales Festival season: Firms claim big numbers but questions over discount model continue to haunt

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Festival season online sales: Firms claim big numbers but questions over discount model continue to haunt

Ashish Gupta, a 35-year-old from Delhi, is an avid online shopper. He does not recall when he last went to a physical store to shop. When the pre-festival sales on all e-commerce platforms were advertised, Gupta and his wife Arti Singh, were scouring them for a ‘good discount’ for a laptop. They found an Apple MacBook Air at a ‘real deal’ price of Rs 40,000 but Singh decided to wait thinking that the next sale online between Dussehra and Diwali might offer an even deeper discount. However, he found the price was Rs 59,000 once the sale was over. “I wished I had bought it earlier,” Singh says.

Has repeated online sales led to jaded buyers like Gupta and Singh who are regular online shoppers? Even casual observers of online commerce platforms are aware that discounts will be available on some product category or the other. It is never a ‘no-discount’ day on e-commerce platforms. Yet.

Festival sale discounts have garnered in consumers though, according to a report from RedSeer Consulting. E-commerce companies generated sales of an estimated Rs 9,000 crore (US $1.5 billion) in the festival sale offered last week on most platforms. “E-tailers generated their highest ever sale performance over the five festive days from September 20-24, 2017…For these festive sale days, RedSeer analysis shows that the e-tailing industry managed to generate Rs 9,000 crore/ US $1.5 billion of sales,” the report said.

Remember, no e-commerce platform is listed and hence their financials are not known. Retailers offer huge discounts on some product category online and e-commerce platform advertising and promotion spends are huge, but are there any margins from the products sold, asks Arvind Singhal, chairman and managing director of Technopak Advisors, a retail industry consulting firm. “My belief is that the amount of money spent on mega advertisements and the decibels they create will only show diminishing of returns even during the sale period. There are no authentic figures being put out by company,” he says explaining his stand.

Even though there are deep discounts that are advertised by e-commerce platforms, the fact is shoppers are not inclined to shop or splurge unless they want a product. How many times does one scour a e-commerce platform just for the sake of surfing and end up buying a product every time? Rarely. With demonetisation and goods and services tax (GST) having impacted spending patterns, say analysts, shoppers are cautious about splurging.

“When e-commerce platforms talk of huge sales during the festival period, I don’t doubt the sales figures,” says Paula Mariwala, partner, Seedfund, and Co-Founder, Stanford Angels. She believes that a buzz is created by e-commerce platforms and it might lead to an increasing number of shoppers buying products. But are the margins profitable or are the e-commerce companies bleeding to lure in shoppers, she asks, adding that online sales and discounts have become an ‘overkill’.

Online retail in India is only a small slice of retail in general and is expected to be at par with physical stores only in the next five years. The e-commerce market in India is expected to reach $220 billion in terms of gross merchandise value (GMV) and 530 million shoppers by 2025, led by faster speeds on reliable telecom networks, faster adoption of online services and better variety as well as convenience, according to an Indian Brand Equity Foundation survey.

Though e-commerce claims to attract customers, the bald fact is it does so only after luring them with discounts. There is no customer loyalty as such. If there was, where is the need to offer discounts every time, ask analysts.

Shoppers are inclined to shop during the festival time and tend to indulge themselves. It is this ‘weakness’ that e-commerce are playing upon, says Satish Meena, senior forecast analyst, Forrester Research. He says it is not only online platforms that announce and offer discounts but offline retail too give deep discounts because festive season accounts for 40 percent of their total sales. But, he too is skeptical about the figures put out by e-commerce companies that talk about their sales as he says even with the figures they tout they don’t reach their targets or are even on the path to profitability.

Customers are not looking for discounts every time they shop, say analysts. It is a strategy that retailers selling on e-commerce platforms adopt to create a market for themselves online. That, says Meena, is one of the reasons many e-commerce companies have had to merge or shut down. “Discounts cannot be the name of the game,” he said.

Source : FirstPost

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Great Indian Festival : Amazon sale starts today 40% off on mobiles, 60% off on electronics, 70% off on fashion

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Great Indian Festival : Amazon sale starts today 40% off on mobiles, 60% off on electronics, 70% off on fashion

Great Indian Festival

Amazon India’s “Great Indian Festival” offers is back to add more colour to the upcoming festival season in the country. The festival will start from September 21 and will go on until September 24.
For Amazon Prime users, the sale will start early at 12PM on September 20. During the Great Indian Festival sale, you can get amazing discounts and cash back offers on mobiles, laptops, fashion, shoes, TVs, washing machines, home and kitchen products and much more.
Get Up to 40% off on Mobiles
The Amazon id offering up to 40 per cent discounts on various mobile phone brands such as Xiaomi Redmi, Lenovo, OnePlus, Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Honor, LG, Coolpad, Micromax, Nokia etc. Apart from mobile phone, there is offers available on gadgets like laptops, cameras, speakers, headphones, smart watches, activity trackers, Amazon Fire TV Stick, power banks etc. There is up to 50 per cent off on speakers, headphones, Amazon Kindle, grooming appliances, activity trackers and much more.
Get up to 60% off on Electronics and Appliances
Electronic appliances such as washing machines, televisions, air conditioners, refrigerators etc. are available on up to 60 per cent discount on Amazon. You will avail up to Rs 15,000 discount on laptops, 40 per cent on television, minimum 20 per cent on refrigerators, up to Rs 10,000 off on ACs, minimum 25 per cent discount on washing machines, up to 60 per cent discount on networking devices and much more.
Get up to 70% off on Fashion
You can revamp your entire wardrobe during Amazon Great Indian Festival with up to 70 per cent discount on popular brands such as Fab India, Adidas, Puma, Titan, United Colors of Benetton, Lavie, American Tourister and many more at Amazon.in. There will be discounts on clothing, shoes, watches, handbags, kid’s fashion, jewellery etc.

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Flipkart Big Billion Day Sale 2017: Here are the top deals and discounts on day 1

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Big Billion Day

India’s largest e-commerce marketplace is back with its mega festive season sale, The Big Billion Days / Big Billion Day. The sale that started today will go on till September 24th, offering you some unbelievable discounts on fashion, home furnishing and large appliances.

India’s largest e-commerce marketplace is back with its mega festive season sale, The Big Billion Days. The sale that started today will go on till September 24th, offering you some unbelievable discounts on fashion, home furnishing and large appliances. Flipkart claims to have a registered customer base of over 100 million. In the 10 years since it started, Flipkart has come to offer over 80 million products across 80+ categories including Smartphones, Books, Media, Consumer Electronics, Furniture, Fashion and Lifestyle. This means that there is something for everyone in the Big Billion Day Sale 2017.
On day 1 of the Big Billion Sale, TV and Appliances, fashion, lifestyle and home appliances are up for the grabs. The online store is offering up to 90% off on some items. To make your job easy, we have found out the best deals on the website. Here are the top deals and discounts of Flipkart Big Billion Day Sale 2017 day 1:
1. Panasonic EH-ND11-P62B Hair Dryer – Rs.399
2. For the gadget lovers, the Fossil Smartwatches are available at flat 40% off.
3. In case you are planning to buy a new bed, the range starts at Rs 7999 on Flipkart.
4. 4-Seater Dining set made of solid wood is available at Rs 7,999.
SEE PICS | Buy these smartphones for less than Rs 7000
5. Braun trimmer available at 55% discount.
6. Samsung 123 cm (49 inch) Ultra HD (4K) LED Smart TV – Flat Rs 60,000 Off
7. You can buy the Armani Exchange watches under Rs 4,299.
8. Ferrari Watches are up for sale at flat 65% off.
9. If you are a frequent traveller, the Safari suitcases are available at Rs 1,999.
Apart from this, mobile phones, tablets, and other electronic items will be on sale from September 21. As per the details available on the website, Samsung S7 will be available for just Rs 29,990 which is Rs 16,000 less than its actual price.

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Zomato acquires logistics company Runnr for an undisclosed sum to boost food delivery business

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Zomato acquires logistics company Runnr for an undisclosed sum to boost food delivery business

Online restaurant guide and food ordering startup Zomato has acquired last-mile logistics company Runnr for an undisclosed sum to boost its food delivery business. Runnr will continue to function as an independent company offering logistical services to players other than Zomato in verticals such as pharma, grocery and e-commerce, Zomato said today.

“We just signed our long-rumoured acquisition of Runnr. Emotionally, the deal has been in place for a couple of months now, and both the teams have been working closely with each other quite some time now,” Zomato Founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal said in a blog post. With the combination of Zomato and Runnr, “we have everything in the stack of building a delightful food delivery service in India and UAE – end to end – listings, discovery, reviews, ordering, and now, logistics,” he added.

Runnr is already efficiently fulfilling 300 thousand orders a month, which is just a tad less than 10 per cent of it’s food ordering volumes, Goyal said. “Mohit (Kumar) will remain the Founder and CEO of Runnr and will continue developing his vision along with the rest of the founding team – Arpit, Mukunda, Gnanesh, Vatsal, and Aravind,” he added. At Zomato and Runnr, the delivery boy is going to get the status of most important employee and is going to be treated like one, Goyal added.

Source : FirstPost

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Amazon opens its largest fulfilment centre in Hyderabad with an aim to increase delivery speed

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E-commerce giant Amazon on 7 September announced the opening its largest fulfilment centre in the country in Hyderabad.

Located at the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, the centre covers over 400,000 sq ft with close to 2.10 million cubic ft. It is the fifth fulfilment center in Telangana and the largest in the country.

With this, Amazon has a storage capacity up to 3.3 million cubic feet in Telangana, vice president, India Customer Fulfilment, Amazon India, Akhil Saxena said, without revealing the investment figure into the centre.

“We have been consistently investing in our infrastructure and delivery network, so we can increase our speed of delivery and provide a superior experience to both, customers and sellers,” Saxena told a press conference.

“With the launch of our largest fulfilment centre in Hyderabad in Telangana, we strongly believe that we will be able to better serve our customers with one-day and two-day delivery.

The FC (fulfilment centre) will enable sellers to use local infrastructure, save capital and help them grow their businesses,” Saxena said.

With more than 10,000 sellers in Telangana, the selection offered by sellers in the state for immediate delivery has grown more than 120 percent this year as against last year, he said.

To a query, he said Amazon Pantry bulk packs of monthly and weekly grocery and household essentials is being currently test piloted in Hyderabad.

Amazon currently has 41 fulfilment centres in 13 states with a storage capacity of 13 million sq ft, he said.

Source : FirstPost

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Paytm Mall to splurge Rs 1,000 cr, mostly to offer discounts this festival season, say reports

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Paytm Mall : The competition in the online shopping space in India is likely to heat up this festival season with one more player planning to splurge in order to woo customers.

According to media reports, Alibaba-backed Paytm Mall is planning to spend about Rs 1,000 crore this festive season, giving a tight competition to domestic e-commerce stalwarts Amazon and Flipkart.

According to a report in The Times of India, the amount earmarked will be utilised for marketing, cashbacks and promotions. It says, however, most of it will be spent on discounts.

Another report in The Economic Times notes that the amount to be spent is three-fold over last year’s expense of about Rs 300 crore by Amazon India, Flipkart and Snapdeal . This year, although New Delhi-based troubled etailer Snapdeal is not in the fray, Paytm Mall will more than compensate for it. It is to be remembered that this will be the first festival season of Paytm Mall, which was spun off into a separate app in April this year.

According to the report, the company is planning to add about 5,000 branded stores to its platform ahead of festival season sales.

“This festive season, while online retailers will focus on spending money and taking away business from shops in the neighborhood, we will work with them and bring special offers for consumers to shop from their nearby markets by enabling these shopkeepers with mobile technology,” Amit Sinha, COO, Paytm Mall, has been quoted as saying in the report.

The company owned by Paytm Ecommerce recently refreshed its app featuring 1,000 brand stores and 15,000 brand- authorised retailers selling over 65 million products.

Its aim is to clock a gross merchandise value (GMV) run rate of $4 billion by the end of March next year on the back of strong growth in transactions on its platform.

The e-commerce firm expects strong demand in categories like electronics, appliances, FMCG and fashion to drive its growth.

The brands the company is looking at include Apple, Samsung, HP, Lenovo, JBL, Philips, Puma, Allen Solly, Lee, Pepe, Levi’s, Fossil and Vero Moda, among others, to drive growth.

However, analysts quoted in the ET report feel Paytm Mall may find it difficult to make a mark in fashion and retail even as consumer electronics and appliances may not be a major issue.

With all the players drawing up strategies to attract consumers, buyers can definitely expect a great festival season ahead with mouth-watering discounts.

Source : FirstPost

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Wal-mart to join hands with Google to enter the voice-shopping platform

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc is teaming up with Alphabet Inc’s Google to enter the nascent voice-shopping market, currently dominated by Amazon.com Inc, adding another front to Wal-Mart’s battle with the online megastore.

voice-shopping

Google, which makes the Android software used to run most of the world’s smartphones, will offer hundreds of thousands of Walmart items on its voice-controlled Google Assistant platform from late September, Walmart’s head of e-commerce, Marc Lore, wrote in a blog post on 23 August.

Lore, who joined the world’s largest retailer after it bought his e-commerce company Jet.com, said Wal-Mart would offer a wider selection than any retailer on the platform.

Amazon, whose voice-controlled aide Alexa allows users to shop from the retailer, has the lion’s share of the US voice-controlled device industry, with its Echo devices accounting for 72.2 percent of the market in 2016, far ahead of the Google Home gadget’s 22 percent, according to research firm eMarketer.

Amazon has also dominated Wal-Mart and other brick-and-mortar retailers in online sales.

Wal-Mart has begun pushing back aggressively, however, offering discounts to customers who buy online and pick up in-store, and free two-day shipping for purchases of $35 or more. The latter move even forced Amazon, which rarely imitates the competition, to lower its threshold for free shipping.

Lore said in the blog post that Wal-Mart was also integrating its quick reordering tool into Google’s same-day delivery service and voice-shopping.

“One of the primary-use cases for voice shopping will be the ability to build a basket of previously purchased everyday essentials,” he said in an interview.

He added that Wal-Mart has bigger plans for voice shopping next year that will involve capitalising on its 4,700 US stores to “create customer experiences that don’t currently exist within voice shopping anywhere else.”

Customers might be able to use voice shopping to pick up a discounted order in-store or buy fresh groceries across the country, he said.

But while both Amazon and Google’s voice-controlled speakers are gaining in popularity, people still mainly use them for such basic tasks as placing phone calls or playing music.

To boost voice purchases, Amazon has started offering Alexa-only shopping deals.

“We’re still in early days, but shopping isn’t yet one of the big uses of the devices,” Victoria Petrock, principal analyst at research firm eMarketer, said on Tuesday.

“Obstacles to people using the devices to shop are cost and privacy. A little more than six in 10 people are concerned that these virtual assistants are spying on them.”

Source : FirstPost

 

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For bill payments and transaction on e-commerce platforms BSNL launches mobile wallet app

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BSNL launches mobile wallet app for bill payments and transaction on e-commerce platforms

State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) on Thursday launched a mobile wallet that would enable its existing 100 million customers to make bill payments and transact on e-commerce platforms.

The wallet has been developed and issued by MobiKwik on behalf of BSNL.

“With this co-branded wallet, the ease of payment will be extended to all the customers while equally strengthening financial inclusion in the rural hinterlands, which often get neglected. Going digital is the need of an hour for both urban and rural areas, and this partnership is definitely a step in right direction,” said Communications Minister Manoj Sinha.

The wallet app enables fast online recharges, bill payments, shopping and bus booking, e-commerce platforms payments among many other activities.

“Through this strategic partnership between BSNL and MobiKwik, we are taking another important milestone in achieving PM Modi’s vision of enabling and making India a less-cash society based on his grand vision of digital India. We at BSNL are proud to be part of this programme and will ensure that all our 100 million BSNL customers will be able to seamlessly and conveniently transact and pay mobile and other financial payments through the co-branded MobiKwik wallet,” said Anupam Srivastava, Chairman cum Managing Director, BSNL.

“BSNL wallet will enable masses in paying bills, recharging their phone connections and paying for their daily purchases, within seconds,” said Bipin Preet Singh, founder and CEO, MobiKwik.

Source : FirstPost

 

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Amazon claims to have doubled its customer base in Tier II and III towns, at this year’s Great Indian Sale

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Amazon claims to have doubled its customer base in Tier II and III towns, at this year’s Great Indian Sale

In a report by the Economic Times, Amazon India is said to have added Amazon Prime customers in an exclusive deal which offers customers Prime membership at an introductory price of Rs 499 annually as against Rs 999. This membership includes unlimited video streaming, free delivery on eligible items which are mostly on the same day in select cities. Other offers include deals.

The sale which took place from 9 to 12 August, also gave users an option of using Amazon Pay wallet. According to the e-commerce company, their native wallet saw 20 times jump in the number of customers. Fashion, smartphones and appliances were some of the sectors which grew ‘multiple’ times.

As quoted by ET, Manish Tiwary, vice president, category management, Amazon India, said, “Customers especially enjoyed big deals from big brands across smartphones, TVs and appliances and fashion, with old-product exchange and No-Cost EMI being particular hits.”

Other findings by the US based e-commerce company, during the Great Indian Sale included an increase in purchases through its no cost EMI scheme.

The sale had offered a selection of over 100 million products across various categories. Smartphones had discounts up to forty percent.

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Source : FirstPost

Notice served for selling wildlife products online to Snapdeal, IndiaMart, Wish and Buy, Craft Comparison

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The Madhya Pradesh Tiger Strike Force has served notice to e-commerce firms Snapdeal, IndiaMart, Wish and Buy, and Craft Comparison for allegedly selling wildlife products on their portals.

Issued notices were served to the e-commerce companies last week after their names surfaced during an investigation of seizure of wildlife products related items in Indore, a state public relations department official has said.

“MP Tiger Strike Force has served notices to Snapdeal, IndiaMart, Wish and Buy and Craft Comparison for selling wildlife related items on their websites. The companies were told to remove all such content and to submit a clarification as to why an action should not be initiated against them,” the official said.

She said the force had confiscated items hattha-jodi and siyar-singhi (used in black magic) made out of wild animals limbs from the premises of a company called, Shubh Bhakti in Indores Vijay Nagar in June this year. The company owners, Sumit Sharma and Firoz Ali, were arrested and a case was registered against them under the Wild Life Protection Act.

“During interrogation, the accused told that they were into trading of puja (worship) materials and are also into sale of wildlife related items,” she said. They also told police that superstitious people believe that possession of hattha-jodi will make them win court cases, help them become rich, child birth, business growth, and saw it as solution to every problem. The duo said that they sold these products like hattha-jodi in a large quantity to people at a high price.

During interrogation, the accused confessed that they sold these wild life related itemsthrough portals, Snapdeal, IndiaMart, Wish and Buy, and Craft Comparison.

Initially, the accused defended themselves by claiming that the items are not related to wildlife, and are made up of roots of plants. However, a forensic examination confirmed that the products were wildlife items, the official said.

Source : FirstPost

SoftBank’s $2.5 bn Flipkart deal makes Indian e-tail hot again, it’s no longer a cakewalk for Amazon

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SoftBank’s $2.5 bn Flipkart deal makes Indian e-tail hot again, it’s no longer a cakewalk for Amazon

Finally, home-grown e-commerce company Flipkart deal can stand up to Jeff Bezos’s Amazon and not allow it a free-run in India. With its latest round of funding, the company says it has excess cash of $4 billion in the kitty as against Bezos’s $5 billion.

SoftBank Vision Fund, the world’s largest technology-focused investment fund, on Thursday made an “undisclosed” investment in Flipkart. The transaction, claimed to be biggest-ever private investment in an Indian technology company, will make the fund one of the largest shareholders in the e-commerce leader in India. However, according to media reports, the investment amounts to $2.5 billion.

The investment is part of the previously announced financing round, where Flipkart deal had raised capital from three of the world’s premier technology companies – Tencent, eBay and Microsoft.

Until Thursday (yesterday), it was believed, and rightly so, that Amazon has an advantage over Flipkart deal in that it has deep pockets unlike the latter which has to get investors’ approval to scale up.

Though Flipkart’s market share has grown to 57 percent in March 2017 from 45 percent in June 2016 thus maintaining a lead over the other top players in the sector, it was then felt that it was only a matter of time before Amazon outperforms and claims the leading position, said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of Third Eyesight, a consulting firm. However, it won’t be a walk-over for Amazon now.

Amazon India recently said it invested an additional Rs 1,680 crore in India as part of its commitment to invest $5 billion. The global major has said it will continue to invest in expanding infrastructure and bringing in solutions to enhance consumer and seller experience in the country.

India has close to 500 million Internet users. As per market research, the Indian e-commerce market is expected to grow at a five-year CAGR in excess of 30 percent.

What money can buy for Flipkart
With the funds in place, Flipkart will need to still get the structure in place, upgrade their technology, cost structure and customer acquisition.

“I suspect that with the funds at hand and the fund crunch hurdle now crossed, Flipkart will be able to infuse some fresh talent. They do not need to focus on unit economics now,” said Paula Mariwala, Partner, Seedfund, and Co-Founder, Stanford Angels.

Though Amazon has been investing hugely in the Indian e-commerce space, Flipkart has been able to answer it fittingly at every step, Mariwala said. “Flipkart is solid on paper for sure and now they can do planned thinking with Paytm through Alibaba. Unlike Alibaba which has protection from the Chinese government, Flipkart with its kitty full can now compete on a level playing field with Amazon,” Mariwala said.

Amazon will have to re-chart the India blueprint in the e-commerce market as now it is no longer the only player with deep pockets. “With the leading two e-commerce players flush with money, it is a good time all around with advertising spend going up, logistics getting a boost and customers getting discounts,” said Arvind Singhal, Chairman and Managing Director, Technopak Advisors, a Delhi-based management consultancy firm.

The e-commerce market in India has changed with discounting being no longer the name of the game. The focus is on margin realisations and customers are willing to pay for services like delivery charges as they see value in it. But with Flipkart now in a happy space with excess cash, it will be back to mega discountrs during festival time, believe anaysts.

If the name of the game is to offer discounts, then Mariwala hopes that Flipkart will ensure that people will continue to buy more as customer acquisition through discounts hasn’t worked for it and cannot be the name of the game in e-commerce. “With money at their disposal they can do planned thinking and improve the game,” she said.

Thriving e-commerce space
What SoftBank fund’s investment in Flipkart basically means is that the potential of the Indian e-commece space is now beginning to be understood and no one is giving anyone an open uncontested field. In that sense, say analysts, India is one of the very few markets left in the e-commerce world where Amazon was threatening to stay ahead by investing heavily here.

Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal acknowledged the promise of India’s e-commerce market in their statement released to the press on Thursday. “This is a monumental deal for Flipkart and India. Very few economies globally attract such overwhelming interest from top-tier investors. It is recognition of India’s unparalleled potential to become a leader in technology and e-commerce on a massive scale,” the duo said.

But the latest round of funding changes the game that now poses a challenge for Amazon.

The e-commerce space is also populated with start-ups and not just vendors and manufacturers. Vision Fund’s latest financial boost to Flipkart will have many ripples with more jobs being created, with logistics and last mile delivery business being given a boost.

There will be additions to talent at Flipkart. A lot of its top talent had resigned. After Kalyan Krishnamurthy took over as CEO, at least three top executives had resigned — Saikiran Krishnamurthy, head of Ekart; Surojit Chatterjee, senior vice-president of product management; and Samardeep Subandh, chief marketing officer, according to a report in the Business Standard.

The management structure was getting confusing at Flipkart, says Harish HV, Partner, India Leadership Team, Grant Thornton India LLP, with people leaving. “Yet, Flipkart responded to challenges from Amazon in the marketplace. Now with funds at their disposal, they will be able to get the right people and up the game,” he said.

He believes that this funding has changed the game making it very tough for a third player to match Amazon and Flipkart.

Before this fresh round of funding from the SoftBank fund, many thought the e-commerce space would be dominated by Amazon with Alibaba giving it a tough competition. But the rules of the game have changed. “However, it would be wrong to believe that the Indian e-commerce arena will be dominated by Amazon and Flipkart. Alibaba is in the game with Paytm and in 12-18 months time, there are reports that Reliance Industries is expected to enter this market” says Singhal.

Clearly, Indian e-commerce is hotting up again. And it is indeed good news for customers.

Source : FirstPost

GRAB THE BEST FROM AMAZON GREAT INDIAN SALE 2017

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Did you miss the previous Amazon Great Indian Sale?? Don’t worry, it’s time again to experience the amazing sale with an innumerable number of offers, discounts, and deals. Yes, the Amazon Great Indian Sale 2017 is back, again with a bang. The sale will run from January 20-22, 2017. Take a look at numerous discounts available on various products across different categories. So, brace yourself for the 72 hours Deal Marathon, which brings lighting offers in every 30 minutes.

Get ready for best deals during Amazon Great Indian Sale 2017 !

The Amazon Great Indian Sale will offer exciting deals on daily essentials, home, and kitchen, consumer electronics, books and music, fashion and much more. Apart from the generous discounts, Amazon is offering 15 percent additional cashback on app purchases exclusively for the State Bank of India customers. Hold on…..the web users can have something good too! Get pampered with 10 percent cash back when purchased with State Bank of India debit and credit cards while shopping on the website. Take an advantage of going cashless as Amazon Pay would be offering up to 15% cashback when the payment is made through Amazon Pay Balance. All the Amazon Prime members can grab the best deals first; with 30 minutes early access.

Deals to explore #BadiBachatOnAmazon

1)Deal of the Day brings you fresh deals every day to make your day memorable.
2)Lightning Deals are sparkling offers on baby products, beauty, fashion, furniture, health & personal care and much more.
3)Saving and sales are offering huge discounts on some of the best products like 16 percent off on Moto G4 (16GB), 55 percent off on the Micromax Canvas Nitro 2, pantaloons instant voucher and so on.
4)Get exclusive Amazon Great Indian Sale 2017 coupons on baby products, beauty, car & motorbike accessories, grocery, health & personal care, household supplies and personal care.
5)Prime Early Access Deals offers products at a better discount.

ShopClues to enter the unboxed and refurbished electronics category with focus on tier-III and IV towns

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Online marketplace ShopClues is entering the unboxed and refurbished electronic gadgets category and targets doubling its gross merchandise value with a customer count of 9 million by the end of this fiscal.

The company aims to organise the mostly unstructured category of used and unboxed electronics, it said. “With a focus on the re-new gadgets category, ShopClues is structuring the massive opportunity around unboxed and refurbished electronics. Extensive primary research has informed us that there is a huge need gap when it comes to consumers buying unboxed and refurbished gadgets, especially with awareness, availability, and quality assurance,” Radhika Aggarwal, co-founder and chief business officer, ShopClues.com said here.

It is targeting to grow its gross merchandise value (GMV) by two-times, with a customer base of 9 million, she added. ShopClues currently services 30,000 PIN codes and is targeting a GMV of about Rs 20,000 crore by the end of this fiscal. The e-commerce company will be among the first marketplaces to enter this category.

“Our product teams have also solved the fundamental problem of trust and quality through a specific surety badge? Surety Re-New, which signifies that the product has gone through 5 levels of quality checks, something that no local seller can replicate,” she added.

The company plans to focus on tier-III and IV towns like Bankura, Tiruvallur, Krishna, and Godavari, in the South. The company has tied up with top selling brands like Nokia, Samsung, OnePlus, and Motorola, Xiaomi, and Asus. It aims to move beyond the consumer-to-consumer nature in this market and add value to products in this category.

Going forward, the company plans to grow this category to include TVs, watches, and more, it said. ShopClues has over 20 million listed products, with five lakh merchants and 7,000 online brand stores. The company received Series E funding from sovereign wealth fund GIC. Its other investors include Tiger Global, Helion Venture Partners and Nexus Venture Partners.

Source : FirstPost

Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal tell staff ‘new path’ already profitable at gross level

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Snapdeal’s Kunal Bahl, Rohit Bansal tell staff ‘new path’ already profitable at gross level

Snapdeal’s sellout talks with Flipkart was called off with the co-founders of the former committing to an independent path and a ‘Snapdeal 2.0’ version.

Firstpost has received the mail Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal wrote to Snapdeal employees through sources. In the letter, they have said that with the ongoing streamlining of costs and sale of some of the assets, such as Freecharge, “we are financially self sufficient as a company and don’t need to raise additional capital to reach profitability’.

The company recently sold the mobile payment solutions company, Freecharge, which it bought in 2015 for about Rs 2,500 crore for Rs 385 crore to Axis Bank.

“…The opportunity of e-commerce in India is immense, and the surface of this $200 Billion market has barely been scratched yet,” the c-founders said in the letter, putting up a brave face even as media reported that it may cut 80 percent of its staff.

Here is the full text of the letter:

Dear Team,

Over the last few months, our company has been engaged in strategic discussions with other players. A lot of time and effort has gone into the process from all participants in this exhausting process. The process has led to intense speculations and uncertainty for our team, partners and shareholders. And now it is time to finally put an end to this saga.

We will be continuing the Snapdeal journey as an independent company. As we have often discussed, the opportunity of e-commerce in India is immense, and the surface of this $200 Billion market has barely been scratched yet. We have a tremendous team, millions of loyal customers, hundreds of thousands of motivated sellers and a phenomenal platform that has been built with years of effort. All the ingredients of success have always been there in our company. And after the last few months of tumultuousness, it is time to focus on the business and leverage all our strengths to progress towards our vision of building the best marketplace to connect buyers to sellers in India.

The good question to ask is why are we moving down an independent path, when so much effort went into determining a strategic combination. There are a few reasons for this, which go beyond the fact that the deal being contemplated was incredibly complex to execute as reported extensively by the media. Firstly, there isn’t going to be one successful model for e-commerce in India. In every market, there are multiple successful e-commerce businesses, and as long as one’s strategy is differentiated and has a clear path to success, there is a great company that can be built. We firmly believe in our new direction – Snapdeal 2.0 – part of which is a laser focus on being a champion for all sellers in India, enabling anyone to setup a store online in a few minutes and focusing on providing large selection of products at great prices to consumers. Secondly, we have made tremendous progress towards this new path over the last few months and are already profitable at an gross profit (a.k.a. net margin) level, with clear visibility to making upwards of INR 150 Crores in gross profit in the next 12 months. Finally, with the ongoing streamlining of costs and sale of some of our assets, such as Freecharge, we are financially self sufficient as a company and don’t need to raise additional capital to reach profitability. Needless to say, we will need to keep a tight control on our costs and work towards becoming a hyper efficient culture delivering profitable growth, month on month.

Many of our team members have spoken with me over the last few weeks, reiterating their interest in the fact that Snapdeal should continue in its independent capacity. The passion our team has for our purpose, and the signs of progress being very visible are key reasons why our team continues to be inspired to pursue an independent path. So, the decision is made. There is zero ambiguity. We will be running the company as we have been and rapidly moving ahead with our mission.

Success is never final, failure is rarely fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts. Let’s work together to make Snapdeal 2.0 a super success!

Thanks!

Kunal & Rohit

Source : FirstPost

Axis Bank buys FreeCharge for Rs 385 cr: It’s the right price but sharp valuation fall a wake-up call for startups

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Snapdeal is finally selling off FreeCharge, its mobile transactions platform, to private sector Axis Bank. The bank said in a communication to the Bombay Stock Exchange that it has entered into a share purchase agreement with Jasper Infotech Private Ltd, Snapdeal parent, to acquire 100 percent equity in FreeCharge for a consideration of Rs 385 crore.

Snapdeal’s move is likely to expedite its own sale to Flipkart, which has been stuck over valuation issues. Recent media reports said Flipkart has offered $900 million for Snapdeal and the board of the company may have cleared the deal.

Meanwhile, it is to be remembered that Snapdeal bought FreeCharge in a ‘cash and stock’ deal in 2015 for $400 million or about Rs 2,500 crore (at the rupee exchange rate then). It was touted as “one of the largest acquisitions” in the Indian digital commerce space.

With the acquisition, Snapdeal was set to become the largest mobile commerce company in India, offering the widest range of products and services, including financial services and mobile recharge with an exponentially growing user base of over 40 million, the company said, according to a PTI report.

But interestingly, now the deal is happening at just Rs 385 crore. So is Snapdeal selling FreeCharge for a song? Not really, aver analysts for they reason that the price at which FreeCharge was acquired by Snapdeal was ‘unrealistic’. The price paid by Snapdeal for FreeCharge was a ‘lot of money even then’, said Sanchit Vir Gogia, Chief Analyst and Founder, Greyhound Research. “That was an inflated price for FreeCharge then and I expected the valuation to drop,” he said.

When a company is being sold for one-sixth of the price at which it was bought, it means there was some ‘gross miscalculation’ about its valuation, Gogia said. But in 2015, it made a lot of sense for e-commerce platforms to buy mobile transaction players, said a sector analyst. “Remember, then Paytm wasn’t as big as it is today and FreeCharge was doing well. That was a business call that Snapdeal and its investors took based on the available fundamentals then to buy FreeCharge. Even today when they are selling it, it is the best deal in the circumstances Snapdeal is in today,” the analyst said.

On hindsight, decisions may seem as if they needed a correction or that they were fallible. Snapdeal had a high valuation and in February 2016, was valued at $6.5 billion. “At their peak, Snapdeal had a lot of money they could afford to invest,” said Paula Mariwala, Partner, Seedfund and Co-Founder, Stanford Angels. Snapdeal paid the money to acquire FreeCharge as they felt they could expand their reach with digital payments service. “They also bought FreeCharge as they wanted to beat the competition that Flipkart provided and become number one. Obviously that growth strategy did not pan out as expected,” said Mariwala.

Both Gogia and Mariwala feel that Rs 385 crore is the ‘right’ price for FreeCharge now. “This is the real price of FreeCharge,” they say.

What does this acquisition mean for Axis Bank, which incidentally will be the first one in the banking space to snap up a mobile transaction platform, thus increasing its customer base. The FreeCharge deal, when it materialises is being seen as a sweet deal, by sector experts. From having tech at the back-end like most banks claim to, Axis Bank will be the first to have tech at the front-end too.

The payments space will get shaken up and more banks will now be forced to look at similar acquisitions, say some. “I don’t see any such company in the mobile transaction space in the market to be snapped up though,” said an analyst.

Axis Bank has Axis Pay besides the UPI platform. Now they will be able to integrate FreeCharge with UPI, said a sector analyst. “Axis Bank is tech savvy and with the acquisition of FreeCharge it will further the tech image of the bank,” he said. Also, FreeCharge would have tied up with other players for discounts and those relationships can pay dividends for Axis, he said.

Mariwala is curious to see how this deal will pan out for Axis Bank. She wonders if Axis Bank wants to enter the retail payment space with FreeCharge.

The sale price of FreeCharge is a good wake-up call for the startup ecosystem, founders, investors and those planning to buy similar startups, said Gogia. “Me-too products cannot survive and consolidation is the name of the game. Even Paytm had to turn into a bank to be successful,” he said.

The card space is getting obsolete not just in India but also worldwide. With the government encouraging digital payments and with UPI and the BHIM app, the sector is going to do well, say analysts.

“Yet, India is far behind in comparison to even some countries in Africa in the mobile and digital payments space. Banks are constrained by their own structure and regulation and not able to focus on tech innovations. It makes sense to incubate startups in the fintech space or acquire them. I think we will see more of this trend in the future,” said Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of Third Eyesight, a consulting firm.

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