eCommerce News - January 2022

Walmart, Flipkart Partner With Uttar Pradesh Govt to Support and Uplift MSMEs

 

  • Walmart and it’s subsidiary , e-commerce platform, Flipkart has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Export Promotion Bureau, Govt of UP. This is to create a supportive ecosystem for local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
  • The two companies along with the UP Govt, will together work towards digitising small businesses and get them selling their products in global markets.

Shoppers Give Malls a Miss as Third Wave Hits

 

  • Shoppers are avoiding malls and high streets, during the usual high footfall days at the start of the year. This is over concerns over the new omicron wave.
  • Top malls in metropolitan cities recorded a 15-25%  dip in number of visitors in comparison to the previous years.
  • Industry executives are hoping authorities will avoid  harsh restrictive measures and allow most economic activities to continue. This, so as to not further weigh on businesses.

Opinion: Why are Marketplaces Advancing R-Day Sales?

 

  • Leading marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart have interestingly advanced their Republic Day sales this year to around January 16-17. Usually, their sales are scheduled such that the last day coincides with Republic Day. 
  • However, it seems both players have strategically planned the sales to make the most of increased demand during the peak of the third wave. Inventories have reportedly been stocked up. 
  • Forecasting a trend similar to previous lockdowns, where sharp shifts to online shopping occurred due to government restrictions, this move may just help eCommerce sellers cater to peak demands.

Third Wave Curbs Upsets Discretionary Spends

 

  • A rise in Covid cases along with stringent curbs have hit sales of products across the discretionary categories. This includes personal care, beauty, furniture, consumer durables, sports goods, jewelry, footwear, and apparel.
  • Sellers of these products have had a business dip of almost 60% in the last two weeks. There is lingering uncertainty in the months ahead.
  • Third-wave has prompted several states to impose restrictions such as night curfews and weekend curfews causing the stirrup in sales.

Weavers and Artisans Should be Urgently Linked to eCommerce: Piyush Goyal

 

  • The need to link weavers and artisans through eCommerce is a pressing matter; as this would help them leverage technology in to their favor and also promote livelihoods, said textile minister Piyush Goyal. 
  • He further went on to say that, no stone would be left unturned to promote the growth of these handlooms and handicrafts sectors.

Flipkart Acquires Refurbished Electronics Seller Yaantra

 

  •  Flipkart Group said it has acquired electronics reCommerce company Yaantra for an undisclosed sum.
  • This acquisition will augment Flipkart’s existing refurbishment business of smartphones.
  • Yaantra deals with repairs and selling of refurbished tech products such as smartphones and laptops.

Key GST Changes effective from January 1, 2022, in India

 

  • Several key amendments in the Goods and Service Tax (GST) regime were implemented from January 1, 2022. Few changes had also been made in the Central Goods and Services Tax (CGST) Act, 2017 via the Finance Act, 2021.
  • Amendments cover several areas, some of which are shifting the tax burden to eCommerce websites, input credit restriction, enforcement provisions, mandatory Aadhaar authentication for GST revocation and refund application, blocking of GSTR-1 for non-filing of GSTR 3B, empowering the GST Commissioner, etc.
  • For a full list of amendments.

Social Commerce is set to Grow Three Times Faster

 

  • Shopping via social media platforms is predicted to reach $1.2 trillion globally by 2025.  This is three times faster than traditional eCommerce as per Accenture.
  • The highest growth is predicted in developing markets like India. Further, the report stated the fuel behind the growth would be Millennial and Gen Z users that account for almost 62% of buyers.
  • Social Commerce is eCommerce where product discovery to payments takes place via social media platforms.

Is Meesho’s App Size, a reason for its Success?

  • Meesho has the lightest eCommerce app in India compared to its competitors. A mere 14.5MB in comparison to Flipkart’s 18MB and Amazon’s 55MB.
  • It’s a clever strategy used by the marketplace to cater to small-town users who use older phone models. They also may not have the memory to store large-sized apps.
  • A conscious effort was made to code the app as per the operating system and the size is monitored to keep within this limit.

Story of a Browntaper: How Khadim Helps Bharat put its Best Foot Forward

Building a legacy takes time. From a small footwear store in 1965 to India’s second-largest footwear retailer- Khadim is indeed a Made in India Success. We congratulate Khadims and are honoured to be part of their journey.

Blinkit Adds 200 ‘Dark Stores’ to Facilitate Instant Grocery Delivery

  • Since December, Blinkit (Grofers Re-Branded), has added 200 dark stores to enable instant delivery.
  • They plan on increasing this number to 1000 by March. TThe quick commerce platform offers instant delivery within 10 minutes. Increased stores will improve the company’s capability to cater to customers.  
  • Owing to the third wave companies like Blinkit, BigBasket, and MilkBasket are getting aggressive with their growth plans.

Here's an achievement by another Browntaper. Congratulations, Nilkamal!

Nilkamal success

Browntape Learning: Amazon Releases Instant Settlement for its Sellers

Amazon's Instant settlement
  • Amazon has recently launched “Instant Settlements” for sellers- a form of invoice discounting. The concept of invoice discounting is not new, with companies like Razorpay and KredX offering payments to sellers on the pending invoices. This is because marketplaces take 7-14 days to settle payments. 
  • Now with Amazon itself offering instant settlements, sellers can opt to be paid instantly, for a small fee. 
  • There are zero account maintenance charges. Amazon would charge the seller a 0.5% fixed fee for the amount withdrawn.
  • Amazon has promised 24/7 withdrawals- even during bank holidays and non-banking hours.
  • Sellers will be able to withdraw up to 50% of their Amazon payouts in advance. 
  • The response from sellers has been mixed. Large sellers are viewing it as having to pay Amazon to get their own money. However, small sellers are seeing it as an opportunity to increase cash flow, have ready working capital, and most importantly reduce borrowing. If one compares paying 0.5% for funds versus the regular interests charged by banks for borrowing working capital- the former makes for a more logical choice

How eCommerce is Bolstering the Craft Sector, One Click at a Time

  • The Global Pandemic had the worse impact on the Indian craft sector; that makes up for the employment of thousands of artisans. As it created a sense of doubt and fear in the minds of the artisans with a source of employment and income as well.
  • While the fashion industry adopted the hyper digitization of sales and marketing with open hands, the craft sector with their handicrafts and handmade items were left behind.
  • Only recently they have resorted to eCommerce sites where there are starting to steal the hearts of national as well as international customers alike.

Meta Appoints Meghna Apparao as the Director of eCommerce in India

  • Meta, (Facebook’s parent company) appointed Meghna Apparao as the Director of eCommerce in India on 18th January 2022 
  • She will be leading strategies and solutions that are focused on the company’s eCommerce advertiser

Walmart Invites Indian eCommerce Sellers to Sell in US markets

  • On Thursday, 20th January 2022, Walmart said that it is inviting select Indian sellers to join the Walmart Marketplace that serves over 120 million shoppers monthly in the US.
  • Walmart-owned Flipkart is already one of its top sourcing markets. And they further aim to export $10 billion worth of goods from India each year by 2027.
  • This initiative is part of Walmart’s global drive to attract international sellers and expand their marketplace’s product assortment

Goat Brand Labs Buys 90% stake in online fashion brand The Label Life

  • Goat Brand Labs, a venture run by former Flipkart Executive Rishi Vasudev, has bought 90% stake  in The Lable Life. The brand operates in the women’s fast fashion category.
  • As per the deal, Goat will absorb most of The Label Life’s team as per co-founder Preeta Sukhtankar.
  • Goat Brand Labs is a roll up ecommerce venture that supports brands by providing data-based insights, seamless operations, and deep expertise in brand building, digital marketing, and more.

Coupons- The Future of eCommerce?

  • Owing to the massive shift to online shopping; discounts, promotions, special cashback offers, and coupons becoming more common than ever.
  • It seems that coupons are here to stay!  Coupons provide an instant incentive to customers. Right from groceries, electronics to clothing and beauty products- eCommerce sellers are adopting coupons.
  • Coupons increase brand loyalty and also lead to repeated purchases due to the lower cost of purchase.

Tough Times Ahead for Indian Marketplaces

  • Reportedly, Reliance and TATA group have had a meeting with the government recently. They have sided with smaller Indian retailers & opposed eCommerce giants like  Amazon and Flipkart -Walmart. 
  • India’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, Reliance exhorted the government to put in place tighter norms for the marketplaces to create a level playing field for sellers.
  • This is the first time a corporate powerhouse like Reliance has addressed this matter.

FedEx and Microsoft Announce New Cross-Platform Logistics Solution for eCommerce

  • On Monday, January 24, 2022; FedEx and Microsoft said they are to introduce a cross-platform “logistics as a service” for retailers, merchants, and brands. The concept is that it will bring together FedEx network intelligence with capabilities from Microsoft Dynamics 365.
  • Both these companies, wish to transform logistics experiences for businesses. And they, in turn, can offer their customers more integrated ways to shop faster, easier, and efficiently at least in delivery. 
  • This initiative is a part of their “Multiyear Collaboration” to transform commerce, supply chain, and logistics.

Mobile Payment Apps Boom in India

  • Google’s plan to dominate India’s boom in online shopping, social networking, video streaming, and cloud gaming has seemingly become successful. Google Pay is now the second-largest mobile payments app in India.
  • Facebook’s parent company Meta platforms and Amazon are in talks to build a payment app for the subcontinent. All to challenge  Indian companies like Paytm and PhonePe.

Rise of Live Commerce and Shopatainment

  • It turns out Indian youth prefer to buy products from social media sites like Instagram instead of marketplaces. This is because sellers/users post more videos or photo-based content giving potential buyers a better understanding of products they like.
  • Shopping through these platforms provides the experiences  of live shopping as the sellers tend to reply to queries faster. Therefore live commerce is a big plus.

Budget 2022: E-commerce Nibbles into Small Retailers Biz; Facilitate Parity Between Online, Offline Retailers

  • While small retailers were progressing to revive themselves from the first two waves of the pandemic. The restrictions from the third wave has once again affected them.
  • Although the main expectation from this year’s budget is the push to digitalization. India’s retail industry employs about 40 million (3.3% of the population) making it seem like an even more dire situation for offline businesses.

Flipkart Signs Pact With FITT for Joint Research in Social Commerce

  • Walmart-owned Flipkart said they have signed an agreement with Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) to collaborate in the development of social commerce.
  • The memorandum of understanding stated, Flipkart will offer research grants and market insights to FITT to develop hands-on prototypes and publish research data for social commerce.
  • Foundation for Innovation and Technology Transfer (FITT) is a part of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-D).