eBay to foster entrepreneurship in India

CIOL Bureau
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NEW DELHI, INDIA: Online marketplace leader eBay is aiming at fostering entrepreneurship in India. The Internet giant is banking on ethnic industries in Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns for this purpose.


Talking to CyberMedia News here, Deepa Thomas, manager (corporate communications) at eBay India said that the company was bullish about the growth in a diverse country like India.

“Some key reasons eBay India sellers choose to sell online are because that 54 per cent believe eBay helps to reach more potential customers, and 40 per cent of the respondents find that eBay is easy to use. Another 39 per cent felt the flexibility to work according to their free time is a key reason to sell online, and 37 per cent felt that the possibility to run businesses from home,” Thomas said.

She said Indian entrepreneurs use eBay India to overcome geographic and other challenges to access a global marketplace. “It provides an opportunity for unemployed graduates, rural communities, artisans, women/NGOs, and also empowering the retired/elderly and physically challenged who stay at home. They find that eBay India is a great place to start a new business due to the low cost of entry, level playing field, national access and global marketplace,” she said.


Indian sellers on eBay export an item every 72 seconds, which is predominantly jewellery, apparel & accessories, home furnishing, metal and woodwork, informed Thomas.

``Majority of sellers are from non-Metro towns, relatively remote parts of India are participating in the Global Trade through eBay. However, there is a huge significant untapped potential for ethnic products such as carpets, saris, leather products and handicrafts,” added Thomas.

“We find that trade is larger with English-speaking countries as they are natural markets for Indian sellers due to the ease of communication. However enterprising Indian sellers have also made inroads into European markets such as Germany, France and Italy. Buyers from 150 countries have bought items from Indian sellers on eBay and over 7,200 sellers have transacted internationally.”


Smaller towns on target

She said that there was also an increasing demand for New-in-season products in B and C cities, which had made the Internet company, go to smaller towns and encourage more people to sell online.

“There is an increasing demand for New-in-Season products from the B & C cities. The product penetration varies from market to market, distribution inefficiencies lead to adoption lags in distinct markets, thus products in NIS in a metro could be in the launch stage in non-metros. We also found that sellers list ethnic specialty products from Class B & C towns to target the Metro and Global buyers. Hence, we realized that India isn’t one but a set of diverse markets,” she said.


eBay has decided to reach out to smaller towns having ethnic product specialties and enable them to get online and sell them. On target are towns such as Jaipur, known for gemstones and Benares, for its ethnic silk saris. ``The initiative will not only bring these small-time traders access a global market but also do away with mediators who tend to increase the price and decrease the profitability for the manufacturers,” Thomas elaborated.

Easy checkout

Thomas said that the Indian consumer was seeking product variety, great deals and convenience from their online purchase, and hence eBay had simplified the checkout process. “We found out that consumers also seek to quickly find what they are looking for, buy and pay. The new fast and easy checkout on eBay India caters to this consumer need and allows a shopper to complete his purchase within seconds. We have introduced a new easy buying flow for convenience oriented buyers, which will do away with the current seven-step buying flow to just easy three steps apart from a multi-item, multi-seller Shopping Cart,” she added.


Emerging demand

According to Thomas, the technology has been one for the largest categories on eBay India, led by high demand for mobile and MP3 players. “Strong emerging lifestyle category is being led by jewellery and apparel, and increasing collectibles trend is especially very popular with global buyers,” she said.

“Time starved youth today prefer online shopping for its convenience, 24x7 availability and home delivery,” she added.


Online branded shops

Thomas said that large brands were setting up online shops. “The media penetration of brand campaigns is national, but product penetration not as comprehensive. For brands, setting up an online store on a vibrant marketplace such as eBay India enables fulfilling the demand from buyers in B&C cities. Large brands are now looking at online marketplace such as eBay India to increase penetration and attract buyers from small towns thus selling across the nation. For buyers this means access to great brands, variety of products in one platform apart from discounts on latest products directly from Brands,” she said.

An independent survey conducted by AC Nielsen in June 2006 with eBay sellers across USA, Canada & Asia-Pacific, found that eCommerce is becoming a source of livelihood for many people, especially Indians who want to tap the global market.


The survey revealed that 1.3 million sellers across the world make their livelihood on eBay, and 31 per cent of eBay sellers in India make their primary or secondary source of income from eBay India. This represents approximately 12,800 eBay sellers. Another finding is that 38 per cent of the current eBay India sellers quitting their jobs to sell on eBay.

``More interestingly, almost 75 per cent of eBay India sellers sell as individuals, out of which 65% use eBay as their only online sales channel,” said Thomas.

“In India, after was taken over by eBay India in August 2004, it has been the most popular online shopping destination, according to IDC. On any given day, the site has over 100,000 live listings across 2,000 categories of products and services. We will be more focused on technology, lifestyle and collectibles,” Thomas said.