eBay, the brand which has gone through various transformations in India, is currently in its third avatar and its primary focus is on exports.
During the first phase, the brand concentrated on domestic business as well as the cross-board trade retail export business. The brand was market leader in the category till early 2012 and post that with the advent of VC money coming in and various other structural changes, eBay set boundary conditions in which it operated. The second avatar was where it started focusing on refurbish products.
“Our objective is to be the best export marketplace in India for SME players. We have given market access to 190 countries for SMEs in India. We have sellers who are selling on our site and utilising this market access opportunity,” states Vidmay Naini, Country Manager, eBay.
“At a broad level, we focus on Indian origin products and if you look at this, any product that is available from India or which is inherently Indian is what we sell. Secondly, we target the SMEs and artisans in the sector in a pure B2C fashion rather than B2B. We have B2B exports, but we focus on B2C, where we are market players that enable the ecosystem and let our sellers grow. eBay doesn’t get involved in any part of the transaction, nor do we compete with our sellers. That’s the beauty of our business model,” he adds.
In this endeavour, three aspects have come into the core - first, how do you increase the supply, which is selection. Any partnership that helps us improve unique supplies in India we would be open to tie-up with. The second is the entire trust and value. When you say trust, it is not just eBay as a market player but also trust in India-made products. The third bucket is the ease of doing business. If it enables our sellers to simplify, reduce the cost of business, and improve business ease, we are open to those tie-ups. So, it needs to be a win-win situation for eBay, our partners, and sellers. As long as those three boxes get tick, we are happy to explore and commit to that relationship,” he further elaborates.
The categories on which the brand currently operates are jewellery, home, linen, Ayurveda, and various others. These categories are popular for eBay at this point of time.
As new sellers have no experience of selling online, eBay is helping them deal directly from an export point of view and then there are sellers who have experience in selling in the domestic market but now want to expand their market and ship internationally. The third category has some export experience, not necessarily online; these are the brands, distributors, traders. So, these are the broad three sections that are currently coming onboard on eBay.
“But now we are expanding this segment to partner with various organisations. We have signed an MOU with Haryana Garment to target a specific cluster within Haryana. We are also targeting artisans and specific Indian origin products like Chikankari work from Lucknow, sports goods from Panipat and Scientific equipment from Haryana to name a few,” he states.
Understanding Supply Chain and Logistics
eBay is a pure marketplace and does not get involved in the seller operation bucket. It provides the platform for every seller, technical learning insights and understanding through their account management and support ecosystem.
“We have a shipping solution that we provide using our third-party logistics service provider that enables sellers to ship across the goods. We don’t own or transfer the ownership of goods to us. We have our own robust customer support /post-transaction experience addressing mechanisms like buyer-protection, seller-protection, and various rules and policies that enable us to more entrusted transactions from our side,” Naini shares.
Building the Two-Way Relationship
eBay has a strategic partnership with Paytm Mall and it acts as their import partner that enables eBay global supply on Paytm, especially eBay US market.
“We enable supply that is available with the US market. As we see traction and understand customer needs, we’ll be open to expanding to the other markets,” he shares.
The top 5 export markets for eBay are the US, UK, Australia, Germany, and mainland Europe.
Recommendations for India’s Foreign Trade Policy
The potential of e-commerce exports is immense. We are not even scratching the surface at this point. The overall size of e-commerce businesses across the world is multifold of the potential of Indian e-commerce.
“To be successful and ahead of sellers across the world, it is important to have a unique and variety of inventory. Secondly, a product needs to be competitive as far as pricing is concerned. Thirdly, the product should reach in a fast, secure, and low-cost fashion. And last but not least, it should be easy to do business. This is where the policy process comes into play at a broad level, we are making 4 recommendations and 13 specific recommendations as far as the policy is concerned,” he states.
“One is in terms of process, automation, and integration. A lot of data is available across different wings of the organisation, from courier partners to the customs department and banking channel. If you can integrate all of this, the smoothness and ease of the business that comes are much better than the seller going to multiple agencies or places, and you can have single-window clearance. It reduces costs, increases speed, and improves operational efficiency. The second aspect is infrastructural awareness. Along with our partner Gems & Jewellery Council of India, we have identified more than 400 manufacturing gems clusters in India and not more than 5-6 sell on e-commerce. So, the potential is immense, and the focus is to create awareness for that. The third aspect is the logistics and procedures. Right now, how do you make sure, be it India Post and others to provide a cost-effective and consistent shipping experience. Various countries have done that at a national level, and India needs to compete with other countries. Fourth is incentives and benefits. The incentives and benefits you get for an offline exporter are very difficult to interpret. The offline is more B2B, so you have the container moving, but you have individual parcels moving, one product selling in individual SKUs. I also made recommendations for industry vise and specific recommendations that apply to the entire industry,” he concludes.