As far as online shopping goes, it has become an ever-present part of our daily lives as the pandemic just keeps on coming in waves. With the evolution of a growing digital presence in our lives and the need to have it all online, from schools to jobs, it only makes sense that we added shopping to that list. True, online shopping and the realm of e-commerce is nothing new to us but Paytm Mall is a relatively new player to the game and has a lot to offer as an e-commerce platform.
What is Paytm Mall and How Does It Work?
Paytm Mall is an E-commerce platform and marketplace that helps customers find the latest in products from over 1.4 Million sellers that are connected and verified on its platform. These products are provided online at the lowest or best prices. The platform is a brand-off or wing of the main Paytm brand and is responsible for a large sum of its revenue.
Paytm Mall operates on the premise of providing its customers with the best deals, offers and cash backs. The e-commerce platform has everything on there from bikes and electronics, to food and clothing. It is essentially one giant bazaar.
Yes, the company is dedicated towards online shopping like any other e-commerce app or website and performs much of the same services when it comes to delivering the products to its customers, but it does stand apart from the rest in a few ways. For one, it does not deal with options like bill, recharge, payment, utility bills or any other money-related activities like the main Paytm app, instead, it is a standalone brand in its own right. Secondly, since it does come under the ambit of the Paytm banner, customers can use their integrated Paytm wallets to conduct said purchases in an easy manner. In that sense, Paytm Mall is special as it exists within its own brand silo and all of the service extensions are self-provided with no third-party thrown into the mix.
While customers do get the option of paying through Debit/Credit Card, Netbanking or Cash on Delivery, the Paytm Wallet just showcases that extra level of convenience that the platform provides its customers.
Paytm Mall was launched in 2010 and was inspired by and modelled after China’s largest business to consumer (B2C) retail platform, TMall. The aim was to give Indian customers a combination of the mall and bazaar that helped spread the reach of the customer-base as wide as possible as it would have something for everyone.
Paytm Mall is essentially a large e-commerce platform that was launched with the aim of promoting the digitisation of brick-and-mortar vendors and sellers through a single platform.
Why is Paytm Mall successful: Key Features
Paytm Mall is available in two broad formats, the website catalogue and the mobile application. Though the functionality might vary ever-so-slightly, the core concept of the platform is perfectly mirrored in both the app and website. At its core, the platform aims to bring shopping to your fingertips in a quick and hassle-free manner and have your purchase delivered to your home. With all that in mind, here are some of the features and reasons why Paytm Mall is successful:
A Hybrid Model: Emphasis on Diversity
As mentioned earlier, Paytm Mall follows a hybrid model of a Mall and Bazaar which means the variety of products available are very diverse. The wide range of products are classified under the following categories that Paytm Mall maintains:
- Mobiles and tablets
- Health and grocery essentials
- Protect yourself
- Beauty and grooming
- Men’s fashion
- Women’s fashion
- Home and kitchen
- Books and stationery
- Toys and kids store
- Bags and luggage
- Sports and fitness
- Cars and bikes store
- Automobile accessories
- TV and appliances
- The Vibe
One thing that both sections have in common is that they are sourced from high-end brands and sellers at the best market prices so as to make their wide inventory more accessible to a greater percentage of their customer base.
Standing as one of the largest e-commerce and e-retail platforms in India, interactivity and usability is everything that is retaining customers. That is why Paytm Mall has ensured that the simple interface and fast-loading platform provides an experience that is as smooth as possible.
Also considering how wide the range of products are on the platform, the company has provided customers with a very streamlined series of filters and relevant search options that make finding the ideal item at the ideal price-point that much easier. Making the app and platform so easy to navigate means that customer engagement and retention goes up.
Safety and Security
Paytm Mall maintains the same level of security and privacy of information as its parent brand Paytm. Given that the Paytm group is recognised as a secure method of conducting financial transactions by RBI (The Reserve Bank of India), it only stands to reason that Mall is also a secure platform.
Each and every payment conducted through the mall is secured through Paytm’s Wallet feature which is a great, self-contained transactional ecosystem. Speaking of transactions, customers can choose from a wide variety of options when it comes to payment, which includes Credit/Debit Cards, Net banking or even UPI. Giving customers options to choose from that makes them feel secure with their financial and personal details is a great way to not only build customer retention but to grow brand loyalty and trust. A brand that customers trust, is a brand that succeeds.
Better Oversight and Transparency
Paytm Mall has recognised and addressed a very serious issue when it comes to online purchasing, which is a lack of product oversight for the customers. Many times, customers will run out of options and purchase an item based on one low-quality image that is there and a few lines describing the product. To circumvent this issue, Paytm Mall provides its customers with clear, high-quality images and a thorough description of the product before they purchase it. This drives up customer satisfaction and brings down the rate at which products are returned or refunds are asked.
Additionally, to keep track of all the purchases and order statuses, one simply needs to go to the ‘Order History’ section where you can keep track of your delivery, returns, replacements and so on. If all this fails and you are still facing hurdles the platform has a 24×7 customer care line that can help address any and all queries or issues regarding orders. This customer-forward approach is a great way to build brand loyalty and trust, a core factor in the success of Paytm Mall.
Paytm Mall stands out in the heavily saturated e-commerce industry for its attempts to bring SMEs into the digital realm which makes up such a large portion of the country's economy.
What Sets It Apart from the Crowd?
If you look at some of the biggest players in the market like Amazon or Flipkart, at first glance it might strike as a similar platform to Paytm Mall, but that is the furthest from it. While the big brands focus on bolstering their online presence, Paytm Mall is going against the grain and has built a platform that is centred around technological convenience and empowering real-world sellers through its unique O2O (Online-to-Offline) approach. Yes, the brand is all about online purchasing but it also serves the dual purpose of enabling purchases through the app in real-life brick and mortar shops which drives in more foot traffic for sellers and vendors who are partnered with Paytm Mall.
So, in a way, the platform is very seller oriented as well. Another facet that sets Mall apart from other potential competitors out there is the storage and inventory facilitation. While many of the sellers and brands who partner with the likes of commercial brands like Amazon need to maintain their own storage and warehouses for their inventory, Paytm Mall provides these storage facilities to their partnered sellers via third-party storage centres. This acts as a massive cost-saver for the small-scale sellers who are looking to expand their reach through the platform.
This approach of bringing brick-and-mortar stores and offline shopkeepers together onto a diverse and digitised platform is very crucial in this day and age as it not only brings in more foot-traffic for their businesses, it pushes these brand and businesses towards the digital realm that is becoming more and more active and relevant by the day. A large part of the Indian economy consists of these small and medium enterprise businesses. So much so that MSMEs contribute an approximate 37.5 per cent of the country’s total GDP according to the SME Chamber of India.
How It Stays Afloat: Revenue Strategy
The platform has a few but key points of revenue that stand as the foundations for its operations. Again, this comes back to a sort of self-serving mechanism. The company charges its partnered vendors an estimate of 5 per cent to 20 per cent of the products sold through their platform. This, added to the leveraging of the O2O platform model has saved the company an estimated 35 per cent in revenue and expenditure.
Paytm Mall also earns a lot of revenue through charging for advertising on the platform, shipping charges and even mutual funds.
On top of all these streams of revenue, the company is also backed by some of the largest investors in the start-up game. Some of the backers were SoftBank, Alibaba, SAIF and Ant Financial, and recently eBay. With a gross valuation of $ 2 Billion as of 2019, it is a clear entrant into the unicorn club and a rapidly expanding one at that.
The financial aspects aside, one of the main reasons that Paytm Mall has risen to the top ranks of its respective industry, is due to a strong brand strategy and approach. When considering the Indian e-commerce market, there are a lot of options, but the majority of those options, even if branded, are from unmarked sellers or vendors. For one, there is no physical presence in the online shopping world, now add to that the fact that you do not know who these vendors are and whether they are selling the authentic article or a cheap knock-off, and you have yourself a breeding ground for mistrust.
Paytm Mall addresses this concern by providing a very strict set of guidelines as per which vendors and sellers are verified before they are permitted to sell on the platform. Of course, it does not hurt to have the Paytm brand banner to stand behind as it is one of India’s largest and most used online payment gateways.
In conclusion, Paytm Mall stands above the crowd as a result of its unique industry-disrupting tactics. Where the competition is focusing primarily on digital development, Paytm Mall is focused on the sellers and vendors who do not have an online presence and giving them one. It is the integration that provides innovation in this scenario. Empowering such a large segment of the economy and sustaining a multi-pronged approach of streamlined servicing, diverse product inventory and customer-forward convenience is what makes Paytm Mall such an industry disruptor. What started as a simple online catalogue and a branch-off of the infamous Paytm brand banner, now stands as an independent company that is setting the precedent for the world of online shopping in India.
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