India-based online shopping platform Paytm Mall is set to invest $5m in order to enable small merchants to open online stores.
The development is part of Paytm’s ‘Retailer Inclusion Programme’, which aims to enable shopkeepers to compete against large online retailers.
A team comprising 500 employees has been formed to offer services to retailers such as sales, merchandising to working capital.
Paytm Mall chief operating officer Amit Sinha was quoted by ETRetail.com as saying: "We have seen some of these retailers have enough products but not finding the right consumers or the positioning and branding.
“We will offer them a full-stack service to encourage selling online and the benefits of the same. We are working with the small to medium-sized retailers on their problems and all these solutions are being given to them at no cost initially."
The initiative follows media reports of Paytm’s ongoing negotiations with Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba to acquire a stake in online grocery retailer Bigbasket for $200m.
Paytm Mall noted that it has partnered with three banks and multiple lending agencies to arrange working capital for retailers.
The company is focused on digitising shopkeepers’ catalogues and getting their outlets to be QR code-enabled.
The retailers are also being trained on various aspects with respect to compliance with the country’s new Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.