Fashion designer and founder of the label ‘Fuchsia Women’, Aishwarya Tiwari can now update her product catalogue on-the-go using her seller’s app. In fact, a growing number of online marketplaces are looking to make the supply chain more efficient for them and sellers on the platform as they chase the shrinking delivery time.
Flipkart, for instance, launched its sellers app earlier this month while other marketplaces such as Myntra and Paytm are experimenting with the beta-phase to make the interface simple to use and more productive.
“Nearly 25-30% of our current seller base is already using this app. From registrations, orders, returns, payments and order fulfilment, the on-the-go solution will provide sellers real-time data on all aspects of their business,” said Ankit Nagori, chief business officer at Flipkart, adding that the app will cater to first-time users. The marketplace currently has 30,000 sellers on its platform and is chasing a target of 1 lakh by the year-end.
Alibaba-backed Paytm is also beta testing its seller app with 100 merchants for over a month. The features added to the app include a platform for sellers and buyers to negotiate pricing.
“We have added dashboards and insights about pricing and sales, performance reports about post-order servicing and an additional feature where merchants have an in-built messenger to bargain with customers real time,” said Amit Lakhotia, vice president at Paytm.
“As marketplaces go all out to add even small sellers and handicraft makers on their platform, creating a seller app is an efficient way of reaching these sellers who do not own a PC or laptop but have access to smartphones,” said Vishal Tripathi, research director at Gartner. Myntra, which went all-app on the consumer front, is working on its seller app to develop features which would also provide analytics to the sellers on its platform to manage their inventory.
“Using the app, merchants can leverage technology for image shots to catalogue their products. They will also be able to access data on which products or categories are doing well, through the data collected,” said Vikram Kolar, senior VP of engineering.
There have been multiple iterations to these apps, based on seller feedback to ease the process of managing their businesses. Venkat Ramesh, manufacturer of GG Garments in Tirupur, said that though the app helps cut down time for processing orders, there’s still a manual process to complete an order cycle.
“I sell on multiple marketplaces and Flipkart is the second seller app I am using. It becomes easy to see the status of an order, though the app is not equipped to process the order yet or add the label, for which I have to call someone at my unit. Once that feature is added, it will be much easier,” he said.
Similarly, for Aishwarya Tiwari of Fuchsia Women, one of the challenges she faces is tracking payments from Paytm. “It is easy to act immediately on new orders due to the notifications which pop up,” she adds.
Proficient in English, both Venkat Ramesh and Aishwarya find it easy to navigate the app, adding that their peers might not be comfortable doing so. “It is imperative that the app be available in Indian languages with extensive training for sellers if the marketplaces want to reach out to all categories of sellers,” said Vishal Tripathi of Gartner.