Paytm Mall, the newest entrant in the Indian e-commerce space launched its first major sale event this festive season. Amit Sinha, COO, Paytm Mall talks to Karan Dhar about the success of Paytm Mall's festive sale debut and how the offline to online model gives Paytm Mall edge over its rivals.
What is Paytm Mall doing different in the Indian e-commerce market?
If you look at the overall retail ecosystem of the country, we are aiming at the entire 100 per cent of the market . E-commerce accounts for only 2 per cent of total commerce, the remaining 98 per cent occurs offline. We are addressing the needs of online as well as offline consumers and adding value to the overall retail ecosystem.
Our definition of the market is different as it is not limited to e-commerce the way it stands today. We want to be where the consumer is and if you see, a very small percentage of consumers are shopping online today. How do you reach a customer who owns a smartphone, downloads apps, but still prefers offline for shopping? We will be present at offline shopping locations, transform consumer behavior and leverage technology to empower retail partners.
How does your O2O model work? Is it offline to online or the other way round?
It's offline to online. We want the consumer experience to be seamless across offline and online, whether its at a store or some other location.
Since offline retailers can now sell online, they can reach out to new customers and get additional business that they might have otherwise missed out on. We want to empower them with technology and ensure they are able to sell to consumers across online and offline.
Is this model more efficient than other models? Do you save on warehousing costs?
This model is more efficient than others as it saves warehousing costs and solves challenges around managing a large inventory. This is essential in a country with such breadth and depth as ours as it will enable us to expand our retail ecosystem to cover smaller cities and towns as well.
For people who buy offline, do they also get cashback and discounts like online?
Our customers receive similar offers and deals across online and offline. That is because you're probably walking into the same brand authorised store that will deliver to your doorstep if you place an order on our platform.
How many new users did you see during the festive sale this year?
The number of customers that shopped on our platform during the four-day Mera Cashback sale is thirty times higher than an average day.
What could be the reason for COD orders accounting for less than 1 per cent of total transactions on Paytm Mall?
Consumer trust is the primary reason for less than one percent Cash on Delivery orders at our platform.
Could it be cashback also?
Both are important factors. On one hand, I as a customer already have money in my Paytm Wallet. On the other hand, I have absolute trust given the positive association that I have had using Paytm for multiple use cases.
Are you looking for new brand partners to take on other e-commerce players?
We are in discussions with all leading brands and are signing up new partners every day. Majority of the top brands are already with us and we are helping them reach where a traditional distribution channel would not.
Our QR Codes have also helped these brands in multiple ways. They not only drive in-store purchases, but brands have started putting out full page ads with their Paytm Mall QR codes to encourage customers to purchase products from their online store on Paytm Mall.
Do you think there is scope of some improvement in the logistics side of your operations? Speaking as a consumer, I had ordered some groceries from Paytm Mall, I got my order in parts instead of getting the ordered items at once?
A majority of the orders placed on our platform during the recently concluded Mera Cashback Sale were serviced within the same day or next day. We are further enhancing our logistics abilities across the country to ensure our customers are able to receive a great order delivery experience.
In this sale, were you able to achieve your half-a-billion sales target?
It is still going on. We are fairly confident we will achieve it.
How long will the sale period continue?
Sale will continue till 14th October.
Paytm Mall had earmarked Rs 501 crore for cashbacks. Do you think this figure will go up next year?
The budgets are expected to be much larger by next year as we will grow much bigger in size. We will continue to co-fund cashbacks with our newly onboarded seller partners.
Are there any more sales in the offing?
We are currently hosting category-specific sales and will launch one large cross-category sale before Diwali.
Is Paytm Mall planning to raise funds by the end of this year?
We are fairly well capitalized for now. We have enough money to do a couple of more Diwali sales of Rs 500 crore.
What are you doing to improve customer experience on the Paytm Mall app?
We have recently revamped our app, forged new brand partnerships and rolled out several new features to enhance the consumer experience. We will continue to drive aggressive innovation in several other fields including logistics and post-sales to bring new experiences that may not have been done anywhere else before.
How will Paytm Mall be able to satiate the appetite of cashback-hungry customers in the long run?
Cashbacks hosted on our platform are offered in collaboration with our partnered merchants and brands. It makes shopping more rewarding for our customers and drives a high repeat user rate across our massive user-base. We recognize that such long-term investments are crucial in taking shopping to the next level.