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Flipkart to grow marketplace to compete with Amazon

Thursday, 17 April 2014 - 8:20am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Flipkart, a leading home-grown e-retailer, is looking to grow its marketplace operations multi-fold to compete with the likes of Amazon India.

It plans to add over 9,000 sellers on its marketplace taking the number to 12,000 by March 2015.

An e-marketplace facilities meeting of buyers and sellers – a la virtual mall which gives shoppers access to multiple brands and sellers under one roof.

Ankit Nagori, vice president – retail, Flipkart, told dna at the company's first sellers meet in Mumbai, "We have 3,000 sellers on-board and are adding a lot more sellers on a daily basis now. We are seeing enough traction and a lot of incoming requests than us actually going out and seeking sellers for the marketplace."

The company hopes to hugely increase the number of products sold its marketplace from the current 10 million.

Amazon India, which launched the operations 10 months ago, leads the space with 15 million products.

The Flipkart marketplace which was launched its with just 50 sellers on-board in April 2013, sees a huge traffic of over 10 lakh visitors every day.

Rajiv Merchant, managing director, Indian Home Variations and Distributions LLP and a seller on Flipkart Marketplace, said a lot of buyers for his home furnishing products were shopping online as compared to buying from stores in malls or other standalone retail stores.

"Our study showed significant number customers moving to e-commerce websites hence the decision to use the marketplace platform. Online allows me to sell across the country without worrying about the overheads about delivering the products to the customers."

Merchant expects close to 25% of his business coming from e-commerce platforms with Flipkart contributing a major chunk.

Flipkart, founded by Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal (both former Amazon.com employees) in 2007, has sellers from 15 Indian cities and this number is expected to increase to 25.
The new locations will be added depending on demand.

"Additionally, there will be certain supply clusters like for clothing (Surat, Coimbatore-Tirupur belt), accessories (Delhi), sports and fitness (Meerut), etc," said Nagori.

On vendor selection, Nagori said, "We do a thorough due diligence on the seller's product quality, authorisation, dealer certification and processes adopted to ensure seamless delivery of small orders. This is followed by their overall understanding of e-commerce technology," he said.

Flipkart, which employs over 10,000 people, has 18 million registered users with about 3.5 million daily visits, sees contribution to sales from mobile devices increasing significantly in the coming years. The company has a mobile optimised website and a mobile application on all the platforms (windows, android and iOS) and currently gets over 20% of its sales from the medium.

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