As social commerce continues to garner steam in India, Alibaba-backed Paytm has silently forayed into the segment with a new product called MyStore with the hopes to ride the social commerce wave.
The latest offering from Paytm has been in a testing phase for several quarters now but hasn’t been launched officially yet.
This pits it against several players in the industry that have popped up over the last few years including bigger ones such as Naspers-backed Meesho and Kalaari Capital-backed Shop101 which have a strong network of resellers. The much-talked-about segment is also gaining momentum with players like BulBul, SimSim, and EkAnek focusing on video commerce.
While industry experts have mixed thoughts on social commerce startups, it hasn’t deterred the companies in this segment, including Paytm.
The MyStore feature is available in the Paytm Business app while they have also started promoting it on their consumer-facing app. A couple of videos can also be seen on YouTube, where the firm explains the features and functionality of MyStore.
Like Meesho, Shop101 and GlowRoad, MyStore is an online marketplace that connects sellers with customers on social media platforms. Think WhatsApp and Facebook. While Paytm Business powers MyStore, its logistics and return policies are handled by Paytm Mall.
Sources expect MyStore to become a part of Paytm Mall once it starts churning out a sizable volume of transactions.
“Paytm’s social commerce experiment is yet to drive significant volume, but the company is expected to focus on it as social commerce is considered to be the new way to drive e-commerce transactions,” said one of the sources, requesting anonymity.
MyStore lets users browse products across categories including clothing, jewellery, cookware and other household products. Resellers can negotiate prices with buyers on WhatsApp and Facebook and earn a markup on the offered catalogue by the company.
MyStore also allows resellers to order on behalf of the buyers.
The move seems to be an effort in leveraging Paytm’s reach in smaller cities. MyStore primarily allows resellers in tier III and IV cities to earn without any investment. Besides English and Hindi, the platform is available in Tamil, Gujarati, Punjabi, Bangla, Oriya and a few other languages.
Paytm declined to comment on the story.
Recently, Sheroes had also entered the social commerce space. Its founder Sairee Chahal sits on the board of Paytm Payments Bank and Paytm’s founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma has invested in Sheroes in his personal capacity. Both companies may seek synergies in the social commerce segment in the future.
Interestingly, Paytm’s early backer Alibaba is also making its debut in the social commerce space with Yoli. The company is set to launch a video-based affiliate platform later this year. Entrackr had exclusively reported about this development last month.
Given that Paytm has a larger reach than any other company in ‘Bharat’ or India’s hinterland, it would be interesting to see how the social commerce experiment shapes up for the Sharma-led firm.