Golden opportunity for SMBs to cash in on ecommerce boom and sell globally, says eBay India Country Manager Vidmay Naini
eBay India sellers faced an unexpected situation when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. Almost overnight, its shipments were stuck in customs, at a routing country, or a destination — lying undelivered.
These small and medium businesses (SMBs) were dealt a double whammy: a lack of availability of logistics, and sales grinding to a halt.
The eBay India team hurried and contacted global teams to work behind the scenes and mitigate the problem.
“The major challenge for us was ensuring the packages were being shipped out in time, and that a tracking mechanism was in place, especially since India Post was not in operation for two months. We liaised with government and logistic providers to ensure a reliable environment for SMBs to restart and continue their sales,” says Vidmay Naini, India Country Manager, eBay.
The American multinational ecommerce organisation also conducted e-meet sessions with over 1,000 sellers across categories to jointly discuss policy updates and the way forward.
Since 2004, when it entered India, eBay has been working towards building a robust ecosystem for Indian sellers, MSMEs, and local artisans.
Vidmay says, “In the current context, COVID-19 has brought about a marked change in consumer buying behaviour, leading to a drastic ecommerce penetration worldwide. The opening up of global markets is a golden opportunity for SMBs to cash in on this ecommerce boom and seamlessly transform challenges into opportunities.”
In an interview with SMBStory, Vidmay Naini describes eBay’s work in India and explains the global potential for Indian SMBs with ecommerce emerging as the most significant way forward.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
SMBStory [SMBS]: What is eBay's reach in India?
Vidmay Naini [VN]: eBay in India is headquartered in Mumbai with presence in Delhi, Bengaluru, and Jaipur. At present, our seller portfolio comprises hundreds of thousands of registered entrepreneurs, MSMEs, and large enterprises based across India.
Sellers located in Tier-I cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Surat, Ahmedabad, Chennai, etc., to Tier-II cities like Panipat, Jalandhar, etc., and even the hinterlands list their products on eBay under a wide array of categories.
These categories include gems and jewellery, sporting goods, four-wheeler and two-wheeler components, home decor, etc. Our sellers have access to over 182 million global buyers and 190 markets, with the US, Europe, and Australia being the top markets.
Our success lies in the success of our sellers, and so we ensure they get the necessary support and solutions.
SMBS: What is the opportunity for boosting ecommerce exports for Indian SMBs?
VN: The overall global ecommerce market ranges around $4 trillion (global ecommerce sales numbers based on emarketer.com). According to various estimates, the pure B2C cross border ecommerce potential for Indian sellers is about $1 billion now.
This brings an unequivocal opportunity for Indian SMBs both for existing, as well as potential businesses, to take advantage of the rapidly expanding B2C ecommerce marketplace.
Moreover, considering the rapid rise in the number of internet users, evolving shoppers, and an increase in the trust in purchases outside domestic ecommerce, the retail ecommerce export is flourishing.
An immense potential lies ahead for Indian sellers, which can be unlocked through building retail export-oriented, efficient, low-cost trackable shipping, as well as retail export-friendly policies, and ease of customs clearances.
There is also a need for export awareness among SMBs, manufacturers, and brands, and Made in India product awareness promotions in host markets.
eBay India country manager Vidmay Naini
SMBS: What is the work being done with the UP government for One District One Product? Please tell us how this engagement works.
VN: In August 2020, eBay signed an MoU with the Government of Uttar Pradesh for its ‘One District One Product’ programme. Our motive behind the partnership was not just to promote local art and crafts but also aiding in skill development and self-employment.
Through this association, we aim to enable ODOP sellers and traders to undertake ecommerce retail exports through our globally established marketplace platform. This is being undertaken in Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut, Moradabad, and Kannauj with ODOP participants selling indigenous products like Chikankari and Zari Zardozi, perfume (attar), leather products, metal craft, and sporting goods, respectively.
Our teams are conducting specialised training workshops for these artisans and sellers, as well as supporting them with global insights for managing businesses online on the eBay platform.
Moreover, to empower indigenous crafts and goods and support them with a competitive edge, eBay offers special schemes in terms of pricing and other benefits curated specifically for sellers and traders associated with the ODOP cell.
SMBS: What is the Gems and Jewellery Certification programme (GJCP)? How does it help Indian eBay sellers?
VN: The Indian jewellery industry holds special prominence on our platform. It has shown steady growth in recent years, thus providing a shining example of achieving international competitiveness.
With real-time insights into the global market demands, eBay has enabled some of India’s top diamond jewellery manufacturers and exporters, who offer latest designs and free customisation at aggressive price points to the world.
Recently, we introduced the Gems and Jewellery Certification programme (GJCP) for Indian sellers in association with International Gemological Institute (IGI) — a trusted name in certifying the widest variety of gemstones and jewellery in the world.
The primary aim of this association is to support the country’s jewellery industry in global markets and establish eBay as an ultimate destination for fine jewellery products.
The certification of diamond jewellery and loose stones will build that confidence in the buyers and sellers alike on eBay, given the fact that transparency and authenticity are the topmost considerations while purchasing fine jewellery.
With most of the purchases happening on ecommerce platforms lately, this association has opened wider avenues for sellers to win more customers from international markets, and to sell them the best quality of products.
SMBS: How are you working with government bodies, industry, and trade associations to ease the norms for ecommerce retail exports in India?
VN: eBay in India is cognisant of the innumerable opportunities available for the Indian sellers in the international markets, and has been working closely with the industry, trade, and government bodies in its capacity to ease the norms and push for the growth of retail ecommerce exports in India.
Our leadership has been pushing forward exports for the gems and jewellery sector, and its inclusion in the foreign trade policy. We have also engaged with government bodies to ensure that a congenial environment was created for sellers to overcome COVID-led challenges and restart their businesses smoothly. We also facilitated the seamless shipment of goods for sellers.
SMBS: Now that the festive season has started, why is ecommerce the way forward for SMBs? How are they being equipped to sell on eBay?
VN: The festive season has officially begun, and sellers on eBay from India have amped up preparations in full swing. The season presents a significant opportunity for sellers in India to connect and engage with their customers located overseas. Every category on eBay marketplace caters to a unique festival, and likewise, the target audience.
This enables the sellers to create multiple campaigns curated, especially for a particular festival and the respective category. For instance, sellers listed an exclusive set of jewellery suited for the occasion of Diwali and Dhanteras.
Further, sellers with products in categories like electronics, gifting and toys, jewellery and fashion, home and décor, and beauty usually witness a sharp uptake in sales during popular international festivals like Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and Christmas. The category teams in India facilitates the sellers with insights on trends about the demand across target markets.
As a means to deliver fast and trackable shipping, we recommend SMBs use eBay global shipping (EGS) to ensure timely deliveries during the festive season, which witnesses a heavy surge in orders.