“We have been preparing for the festive season for the last few months to ensure that our sellers have their most profitable shopping season. We have introduced several innovations that will enable sellers to sell and grow successfully,” says Gopal Pillai, Director – Seller Services, Amazon India.
With this in mind, Amazon India launched Seller Flex specifically for India. This programme allows sellers to sell their products on Amazon.in using the FBA service without moving items out of their own warehouse. For the seller, this reduces cost of transportation, storage and reverse logistics. This means sellers can serve Amazon.in customers faster, better, and more efficiently this festive season.
Moreover, this Diwali, Amazon is providing extra capacity when the network is constrained by extending fulfillment capability for items that Amazon cannot or chooses not to fulfill out of its conventional Fulfillment Centres.
Gopal says, “We invested significantly in expanding our storage capacity for sellers specifically for the festive season. We created special videos and webinars in English and Hindi teaching sellers how to handle the sudden peak and manage customer orders efficiently. We now have close to 400 videos in 5 languages.”
Today, Amazon has built 21 FCs across 10 states in India, covering a total of over 2 million-sq ft of space with a storage capacity of over 5 million cu ft - a three-fold increase over last year.
Amazon has also set up one Seller University to educate and enable SMEs in India to benefit from the digital opportunity. Under this programme, it enables existing and new sellers to enroll, manage and grow their business profitably.
Gopal says, “We expanded our Service Providers Network to over 150 from just 21 to help sellers overcome capability barriers by creating a virtual platform for verified service providers and sellers to meet. Over 7,000 sellers are currently using this facility. In fact, 433 new sellers started adopting this service during the Festive Sale week.”
With the help of the Amazon Trained e-commerce Specialists (ATES) programme, Amazon has trained over 1,500 ATES for the festive season, and introduced over 9,000 sellers to this service. The ATES programme is available to sellers on both a pay-for-use and on-demand basis. This has helped sellers better list products on Amazon and manage their Amazon accounts.
Amazon Seller App is also considered as one of the key enablers for sellers which help to
manage their inventory of products efficiently. The app is well-equipped with a seller coach who provides the necessary information on the stock of products and guides the sellers on the pricing strategy also.
Amazon has introduced a New Rewards Program for sellers this festive season. The objective of the reward programme is to recognise sellers who have contributed to keeping the bar of customer experience high by listing quality and relevant merchandise, maintaining the in-stock inventory levels, fulfilling orders on times, etc.
Amazon has also launched Sponsor Products to help sellers and brands improve their visibility in the marketplace. In the last four months, over 1,500 sellers from across multiple categories have actively started to advertise using sponsored products.
We opened up more placements to display Sponsored Product ads just before the festive season – for example, ads on the product detail pages across the mobile and desktop platforms. We also rolled out a feature called “Estimated Bid”, which helps sellers increase the visibility of their ads,” says Gopal.
As many Indian sellers are new to digital advertising techniques, Amazon has launched a one- month custom-made free training and optimisation programme.
Flipkart has equipped its sellers with extensive dashboards to manage the heavy festive demand. Flipkart has a registered base of 50 million customers. On the eve of a festival, it tends to share insights and trends with sellers on how to increase their product selection and put forth their best products for customers.
Manish Maheshwari, Head and VP, Flipkart says, “Our sellers are continuously updated / informed about various aspects of return minimisation, seamless order fulfillment, packaging, etc. In addition to this, we also have exciting rewards and awards lined up across top cities for our best performing sellers.”
Flipkart has taken some key initiatives to support their sellers and help them grow their business progressively.
F1 Stop campaign – This is a one-stop centre that offers services such as registration, training, cataloguing, packaging and financial assistance; sellers can pick and choose from the entire bouquet of services as per their requirement.
Flipkart Seller Campus – Under this programme, Flipkart offers sellers special 4-hour training sessions on how to manage their inventory during the peak demand season.
Growth Capital - It helps SMEs leverage their business through the e-marketplace platform. Additionally, an average loan value of Rs.5 lakhs - Rs 1 crore is available for sellers. More than Rs 40 crores of capital has already been disbursed.
Seller Hub’ App: With the help of this app, sellers can reach out to 45 million Flipkart customers on-the-go.
Since its inception, StoreHippo has worked towards helping SMEs and many offline retailers reach the online and mobile platform. Extending benefits to various offline players, the company has launched special festive offers that will encourage these players come online. Some of the offers have been mentioned below:
New retailers who wish to create online stores can avail the following offers-
For existing customers
Existing StoreHippo customers can refer friends and family and earn a month’s subscription free. If they refer a friend who takes a six- month subscription, customers can avail one month’s subscription free or get two months’ free if the referral takes a 12-month package
Rajiv Kumar, Founder and CEO, StoreHippo says, “StoreHippo has tied up with leading logistics providers to offer hassle-free logistics-the backbone of success for any e-commerce retailer. We also offer integrations with payment gateways to make the process of payments easy.”
Amazon: All the initiatives and investments have given their sellers a dream start this festive season. Gopal says, “Sellers on amazon.in are witnessing a 3-5X jump in their daily sales. Sellers received orders from approximately 2,100 towns and cities across the country.”
Flipkart: In the Big Billion Day event, 60 sellers alone clocked sales of over Rs. 1 crore, and more than 4,000 sellers did 10x business as usual (BAU) sales. More than 13,000 sellers did 2X or more during this sale than BAU sales.
Talking about the challenges sellers face during the peak sales, Sayak Sahu, Founder of SmileDrive says,
The pick-up time-slots for various websites nearly always overlap. Hence, it is a challenge to keep orders ready for delivery for all of them simultaneously. Amazon and Flipkart offer opt-in manpower help at a cost; however, we have not used this facility till date and have relied on their own team to process orders efficiently on time.
Gurpreet Singh, co-Founder and CEO, Browntape, the company behind the e-commerce software that helps Flipkart and Amazon manage their orders says, “On average, we have already seen days where the sales have gone up to 5x to 7x compared with normal days. Some of our top clients have seen a 4,000% increase in sales.”
In India, during the festive season, there is always a surge in demand across product categories. However, most sellers are able to clock big numbers and surpass their targets during the festive season.
According to a report by ASSOCHAM, the online shopping marts are expecting an increase of 40-45 per cent in sales during the festive season. And the consumers spend is predicted to be around Rs 52,000 crore owing to heavy discounts and combo offers. The study also revealed that the revenue of the online sellers will witness five-fold increase as compared to last year.
As earlier reported by Yourstory, Snapdeal has seen a surge of 17x in order volume on the very first day of the festive sale. Whereas, Flipkart has sold one million units in the first 10 hours of the sale. Amazon claimed that this year ‘Great Indian Freedom Sale’ was two times bigger than the last year with thousands of customers placing orders every minute for over 10 lakh products.
Amidst the euphoria of festive sales, online sellers across the country seem to have crossed their fingers in terms of revenue numbers. In India, e-commerce players have broken the ice in luring many offline sellers to embark on the online marketplaces. However, there are a significant number of mom and pop stores who still hesitate to step into the e-commerce world. Now the key concern here is despite all these key initiatives by e-commerce players, what is stopping offline sellers to be a part of online marketplaces?
“While we will be unable to share specific numbers, this festive season has been the greatest-ever festive season in terms of traffic, unit sales, revenues and new customers for Amazon.in,” concludes Gopal.