Online marketplaces try new strategies to woo sellers

Snapdeal has reduced the marketing fees for about 120 sub-categories, including digital products, electronics, women's fashion and fast-moving consumer goods, among others

With business metrics changing from gross merchandise value (GMV) to client retention and number of sellers on a platform, online marketplace players are trying hard to woo sellers.

Snapdeal on Monday announced it had updated its policies for sellers. It said it has reduced the marketing fees for about 120 sub-categories, including digital products, electronics, women's fashion and fast-moving consumer goods, among others.

The company claimed it would have the lowest marketing fee, for 300 sub-categories of the total 600, across all leading marketplaces.

"The marketing fee for nearly 30 sub-categories has been increased marginally. While the reduction in fee ranges from 0.2 per cent to 18 per cent, the increase ranges from 0.5 to 5.5 per cent," the company said.

Snapdeal has also unveiled a simpler framework of dos and don'ts for its sellers. The self-serve platform helps sellers resolve their queries easily and together with the simplified policies, this is expected to enable the sellers to avoid the imposition of penalties due to ignorance or complexity.

The company also said that to share the cost of returns, Snapdeal will bear the cost for reverse pickup and payment collection, while packaging and shipping will be borne by sellers.

In case of replacement, reverse pick up costs will be borne by Snapdeal.

"We believe reduction in marketing fees will foster growth for our sellers. Reducing returns from the market by ensuring best in class logistics and technology advances is a key focus area for Snapdeal. While we share costs with our sellers in case of return; we will continue to forego marketing fees to reduce the costs for sellers," Vishal Chadha, senior vice-president, market development, Snapdeal, said.

Mobile wallet giant Paytm said it is now facilitating collateral-free working capital loans for O2O merchants on its platform.

"Small merchants including mom and pop stores, chemists and auto rickshaw drivers, who have established a history of accepting consumer payments through Paytm will benefit from easy access to funding at rates substantially lower than their current alternatives. Paytm has partnered with financial institutions, which will offer loans to merchants based on their payments history at Paytm," the company said.

This will make it easier for small merchants across the country to access formal credit channels. After a merchant consents, Paytm's partners will use the payment acceptance history to offer loans to eligible merchants.

Paytm's rapidly growing offline payment network gives small merchants instant settlement at zero cost and is targeted to cover over one million outlets by December 2016. They are targeting four million merchants by the end of next year.

It has also roped in service providers to help sellers to boost their sales. These providers enable sellers by providing them with high quality catalogue, logistics and packaging support and business documentation at nominal fees.

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