Working capital assistance from online marketplaces: What are your options?

The Indian online marketplace has become a battleground for some big names. With e-retail and m-retail growing at an astounding rate, the Indian e-commerce industry is all set to hit the $100 billion mark by 2020. A few names stand out with respect to online retail, in terms of their sheer market size and growth rate. These are Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. According to a 2014 report by Morgan-Stanley, these three players have shot ahead of the competition. In 2014, Flipkart led with a whopping 44% market share, Snapdeal followed with 32% while Amazon was at number 3 with a 15% market share.

Naturally, these three players are doing everything within their power to one-up each other in the market. This might be some mildly interesting Twitter banter between Flipkart and Amazon, or the coinciding sales that these companies partake in (case in point, the upcoming Amazon sale from 10th to 12th August and the Snapdeal sale from 10th to 16th.) One more area where these three are heavily competing is capital financing for their sellers. Since this is a really important issue for most sellers who subscribe on these marketplaces, we are dedicating this article towards discussing the nuances of the capital financing plans offered by these three.

Flipkart Vs Amazon Vs Snapdeal: Capital Financing

Let us first understand the importance of capital financing. One of the biggest advantages of online retail is the low working capital required to start up. Although this might be true, a seller might be in need of capital to expand their business as they grow. Capital financing is a good way for online marketplaces to assist sellers in business expansion. Each of our three competitors offers comprehensive capital financing plans. Let us look at them individually.

Flipkart

Flipkart has partnered with five financial institutions including Axis Bank, Capital Float, LendingKart and Bajaj Finserv Ltd. to offer financing services to its sellers. Sellers can get loans of amounts starting from Rs. 1 Lakhs to Rs. 2 Crore. The interest rates for the loans are between 11.99% and 12.99% and do not require sellers to put up collaterals. Although all sellers can apply for a loan through this service, Flipkart will choose which sellers to award the loans to. These are line of credit type loans with a 12-month tenure.

Snapdeal

Snapdeal managed to raise over Rs.50 crore through its Capital Assist program. To do this, they have partnered with over 12 banks and NBFCs including Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Religare and L&T Finance. Snapdeal has clearly defined eligibility criteria and selection procedures for its sellers, although applications are open for all sellers.  Tying up with Tata Capital, Snapdeal offers loans starting from Rs.5 Lakhs to Rs.2 Crore at competitive rates and flexible tenures.

Amazon India

Amazon has also recognized that credit is the key factor when it comes to the Indian market. Recently, it introduced its loan program for sellers in 8 countries including India. These short-term working capital loans are offered to selected sellers on an invite-only basis. Amazon cites the high failure rate of small businesses in India and China as the reason behind this strategy. The loans will range from $1,000 to $600,000 (Rs.64, 000 to Rs. 3.8 Crore approximately) and will be offered for a tenure of six months. Amazon plans to make money through the interest on the loans and sale commissions.

This is what we have on capital funding for sellers. To know more, get in touch with Browntape. We are always happy to help!

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