eCommerce News- March 2022

Government’s eCommerce Market Taking Shape

  • Delhi Bazaar, Delhi government’s new eCommerce platform is in the making as announced by CM Arvind Kejriwal.
  • The aim of this project is to be a virtual store for traders, shop owners and other service providers of Delhi.
  • With the help of this platform, the vendors and service providers of Delhi will be able to reach out virtually to any geography

Summary: Impact of GST on Indian eCommerce

  • Most eCommerce sellers have a common issue; managing & filing GST.  Goods & Service Tax (GST) made applicable from 2017, is also applicable for the eCommerce sector as per law. 
  • Here is how GST is impacting some key categories in eCommerce.

Global: Amazon to Shut it’s Bookstores to Expand Grocery Chains

  • Amazon.com has announced the closure of all its 68 brick and mortar bookstores, pop-ups stores, toy stores, and home goods stores in the USA and UK on 2nd March 2022.
  • These stores were some of their longest-running retail experiments, that helped drive their competitions out of business.
  • They further announced that they would henceforth focus on only grocery markets and department stores

Meesho Topline Nears Rs 800 Cr in FY21, logistics cost Rs 645 Cr

  • Meesho has been fine-tuning its tracks to challenge horizontal eCommerce competitors like Amazon and Flipkart.
  • While visible results would take time, the Facebook-backed eCommerce platform grew by 2.6x to about Rs 793 crore in FY21 from the Rs 307 crore in FY20.
  • 2022 is the second consecutive year that the platform bumped its growth; scaling up 3.8x.

Global: Retailers Seek Real-World Profits in the Metaverse

  • Brands like Forever 21, Nike, and Chipotle are rushing to create virtual stores in the metaverse.
  • Many are viewing as a gimmick to be the first to gain real-world profits should the metaverse hype picks up.
  • Besides these, tech giants such as Meta and Microsoft have already developed technology that underpins this virtual world.

Netizen is Seeking Roll Back of Quick Commerce Delivery Feature Chairperson

  • 10-minute delivery also known as quick commerce is being adopted by Indian startups at lightning speed. However, it has left critics to debate whether customers really need a service like this. 
  • Netizens have been vocal against this service led by tech companies such as Swiggy, Blinkit, Dunzo, Zepto, and more.
  • This has surprisingly led on to creating and signing online petitions to roll back this feature

Railways to Soon Offer Home Delivery of Goods

  • IRCTC is now working towards providing home delivery of goods for individual and bulk customers.
  • Terming these as “non-conventional freight traffic”, the organization is now conducting tests for door-to-door delivery

Larsen & Toubro Unveils B2B eCommerce Platform

  • The Indian investment arm of  Larsen & Toubro has introduced a new B2B eCommerce platform called L&T-SuFin.
  • This platform will cater to the supply of industrial products and services The platform plans to help Indian microbusinesses and SMBEs source their products.

India Ranks 2nd for Global Investment in Digital Shopping

  • India is now the 2nd largest global venture capital investment hub for eCommerce shopping companies.
  • Investments have grown by 175 percent from $8 billion in 2020 to $22 billion in 2021.
  • The first spot was taken up by the US and followed by India. Further, the bifurcation of the top cities have been mentioned.

India Suggests Holding Discussions at WTO on Role of eCommerce During Pandemic

  • India has suggested that a meeting be held under the aegis of the World Trade Organization (WTO), that focuses on eCommerce.
  • According to a statement by the ambassador of India Brajendra Navnit at the WTO,  several members spoke about the growth of eCommerce during the pandemic.

Twitter Begins Testing ‘Shop’ Feature

  • Twitter Inc will be experimenting with the new “Shop” feature by allowing a few companies to showcase up to 50 products on Twitter
  • Currently launched in the US, this is the attempt by the company to tap into the $45 billion social commerce market. 
  • Facebook and Instagram owned by Meta are the leaders in this sector for merchants.

CCI Dismisses Complaints Against Shopee and Amazon

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has dismissed all complaints filed against eCommerce marketplaces – Shopee and Amazon.
  • Shopee faced allegations that the method of operations was like dominant eCommerce platforms such as Amazon and Flipkart, and that it was indulging in “deep discounting”.
  • Amazon was alleged to be using unfair practices in trade.

RBI Launches New UPI Payment Service for Non-Smartphone Users

  • The RBI and the NPCI (National Payment Corporation of India) together have launched a new UPI payment app called UPI 123Pay.
  • This is a service that allows users who have basic feature phones to use UPI without internet access.
  • UPI123Pay for feature phones will have the same payment features available as is available for smartphones.

Flipkart Strengthens Distribution Infrastructure in East With Growing Grocery Demands

  • In an official statement, Flipkart has declared that the company has been expanding its network of fulfillment centers in India.  
  •  Flipkart’s online grocery business took off in June 2021 at a massive growth rate of 75%. The marketplace is focussing on high-demand geographies. 
  •  Flipkart has set up 3 additional grocery fulfillment centers in major parts of eastern India to tackle growing demand.

Need to Protect Consumers, Small Retailers, Amid Growth in eCommerce: Consumer Affairs Secretary

  • Consumer Affairs Secretary,  Rohit Kuman Singh, recently addressed concerns about the eCommerce sector almost turning into a monopoly run by Amazon and Flipkart.
  • Mr. Singh mentioned the need to protect small sellers and retailers as well as consumers. To do so, a framework needs to be put in place, he said.

Review: Decoding Boat’s IPO 2022

  • Boat the popular new age wearables brand has garnered a lot of buzz among investors with their IPO.  Boat is the fifth-largest wearable brand in the world. The company has reported zero losses since its establishment in 2015. 
  • The company achieved this by tapping into social and eCommerce platforms. Further, they targeted Gen Z and millennials that make up 55% of the country’s population.
  • Here’s an in-depth report decoding Boat’s IPO.

Benetton India Forays Into Digital Space, Launches Online Store Feature

  • Global fashion brand Benetton launched its first online store in India- thus reaching out directly to Indians across the country using their own platform. 
  • This is also an initiative to enhance the online experience of its customers. The online store will complement its other channels of business

Flipkart Appoints Prashant Jhaveri as CEO of Healthcare Business

  • eCommerce giant Flipkart has announced that they have appointed Prashant Jhaveri as the chief executive officer of Flipkart’s healthcare business i.e. Flipkart Health+
  • Previously Jhaveri was with Apollo Health and Lifestyle Limited, as its Chief Business Officer.

Meesho Launches Integrated eCommerce App for Buyers, Sellers

  • Meesho announced their integrated eCommerce Moblie app that will cater to buyers as well as sellers. 
  •  The new integrated app will allow users to switch between seller and buyer interfaces with just a click.
  • The company intends that the app will help with the digitization of small businesses in the country. Especially since Meesho is popular among Android users.

Nykaa Looking to Set up a Physical Retail Store to Meet Offline Demands

  • Nykaa started off as an eCommerce platform. Even with its online success the founder and CEO Falguni Nayar, is a big believer in owning offline stores.
  • Even with the effects of the pandemic on offline stores, Nayar believes that there is a high demand from consumers and that statically eCommerce only has an 8% penetration rate.

Opinion: eCommerce Rules Need to Stay True to Scores of Small Retailers and Shopkeepers

  • The rise of eCommerce has totally changed the way brick-and-mortar stores function. This has seemed to affect the living of millions of small retailers in India.
  • As per reports, major stakeholders for eCommerce marketplaces are bigger well-to-do brands in comparison to smaller retailers.
  • This should be done away with to provide a fair playing field for all sellers and retailers alike.

Shopify Adds New “Linkpop”, Link in Bio tool to its eCommerce Features

  • Shopify has added the “Link in Bio” tool called Linkpop.  This will help creators and merchants to sell right from their linkpop page, without the need to leave the app they are on. 
  • Linkpops are essentially shoppable links which allows merchants to add a selection of products which is which to highlight.

Industry leaders decode emerging trends that will reshape the future of Indian eCommerce

  • The eCommerce industry in India is estimated to reach the $200 billion mark by 2026. One key catalyst in this growth has been emerging technology. 
  • In the webinar on ‘the future of eCommerce in India’; Industry leaders Reeju Datta, co-founder- Cashfree Payments; Rhitiman Majumder, co-founder, and CMO- Pickrr; Sujith Nair, co-founder, and CEO- Beckn Foundation; all gave insights on eCommerce trends.
  • Glance through their in-depth views on eCommerce trends here:

Snapdeal Focuses Sharply on India's Value-Conscious Shoppers

  • As per research conducted by RedSeer, India has several cities and towns, which accommodate almost  80% of the country’s middle & lower-income population groups. 
  • Snapdeal is aiming to reach out and focus on these customers. The company estimates that these value-conscious buyers will help with the growth of the eCommerce sector in the future.

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