Barely a few months old, Paytm Mall, an ecommerce platform, is shifting from being an online marketplace-only model to an online-to-offline (O2O) commerce one. The platform will enable physical stores to display QR codes, allowing customers to scan the code, browse and shop from the store’s catalogue on Paytm Mall.
Paytm’s three-year-old ecommerce business, which was de-merged into a separate entity by the name of Paytm E-Commerce last year, got a new avatar as Paytm Mall, a mobile app and online shopping portal, in February this year.
The new O2O commerce feature aims to get neighbourhood stores and merchants onboard and online. The new feature will enable better discovery of products and allow users the benefit of buying online from local stores.
Besides, Paytm Mall is also planning to launch doorstep delivery from local stores in a few months.
“The vast majority of commerce in our country is still conducted offline and within an ecosystem of trusted local merchants, influencers and consumers,” Amit Sinha, chief operating officer at Paytm Mall, said in a statement.
He is looking forward to helping shopkeepers expand their reach and empower millions of trusted small store-owners across the country. His vision is to empower and enable trusted local sellers and become a part of mainstream ecommerce.
Customers using the feature will also get access to exclusive offers on Paytm Mall, said the company.
The ecommerce platform claims to have 140,000 sellers onboard who are selling 68 million products across categories such as fashion, electronics and consumer durables; and a network of 17 fulfilment centres and about 40 courier partners.
Paytm Mall was also in talks to raise funds from Alibaba at a valuation of $1 billion, that will see the share of Alibaba and its affiliates rise to more than 50 per cent, as reported by Mint in February.
In spite of claims around growth in ecommerce business in the past ten years, the ecommerce business entity holds only about 1 per cent of the market. Online players are eyeing the remaining 99 per cent, which is expected to grow to $ 1.3 trillion by 2020, registering a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16.7 per cent over 2015-20.
Thus, the O2O model offers a huge opportunity to integrate the $1 trillion market in the online sector.
Paytm Mall is trying to do what others have been exploring for quite some time in the Indian online ecosystem. Many deal-related platforms follow the O2O model. Besides, many small online retailers are already trying the O2O model and onboarding offline retailers online. However, the entry of a giant, Paytm Mall, will surely steer the sector in a different way.