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Paytm Mall tries to take shopkeepers online in bid to boost market share

Paytm Mall tries to take shopkeepers online in bid to boost market share
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

Paytm Mall is trying to attract more sellers to its online marketplace by launching a couple of new initiatives for offline stores as it seeks to narrow the gap with e-commerce rivals Flipkart and Amazon.

The new offerings include a point-of-sale (PoS) solution and a digital experience zone.

Amit Sinha, Paytm Mall's chief operating officer, told TechCircle that traditional shopkeepers are looking to improve customer experience as they lose ground to e-tailers.

"Maintaining a real-time inventory data base as well as tracking sales is a major challenge in more than 80% retail stores," he said.

Paytm Mall's PoS solution will enable offline stores to sell their products both online and offline by managing their inventory on the cloud. 

Sinha said that shopkeepers can also manage pending orders, billing, payments and promotions via the PoS offering.

Sinha said that Paytm Mall would spend $30 million (Rs 200 crore appox) to train all shopkeepers to use the PoS solution. 

The subscription-based PoS solution was developed with the help of an Indian startup, which Sinha did not name but said a formal announcement would be made soon.

Separately, digital zones comprising interactive screens that feature a product catalogue will also be installed. 

"Customers can walk up to the store, select the item and get it delivered," he said.

Sinha said that he expects more than half of Paytm Mall's business to come from shopkeepers once the PoS offering and digital experience zones are up and running, 

"We are expecting higher returns because we believe that shopkeepers will increase their revenue by 25% once they use the new solutions," Sinha said.  

The Paytm Mall executive also said that the launch of the new initiatives were steps towards entering the unsecured lending space, which has been on the agenda since it started diversifying from its core product  - digital wallet Paytm.

Paytm Mall became the newest member of the unicorn club when it raised $445 million last month from Japanese behemoth SoftBank and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. The investment valued the entity at around $1.9 billion. 

Despite its lofty valuation, Paytm Mall is still playing catch up to e-commerce rivals Flipkart and Amazon, who are both on course to further scale up their businesses.

Paytm Mall currently has 75,000 shopkeepers on its platforms and aims to reach 3 lakh shopkeepers soon. Sinha that the company has doubled its market share in some categories in the last six months.

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