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ebay targets cross-border trade with local sellers in India

In a conversation with, Pavan Ponnappa, Head, Growth Categories, Shipping and Marketing, ebay talks about the brand’s business plans post the Flipkart exit. He also talks about their new campaign and the communication strategy

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for a self-reliant India, there has been a huge call to use Indian products. On similar lines, e-commerce platform ebay launched its campaign #LocalToGlobal, which tells Indian MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) to go global and sell products internationally.

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Pavan Ponappa

Talking about the campaign, Pavan Ponnappa, Head, Growth Categories, Shipping and Marketing, ebay, said, cross-border trade has been an important business aspect to them. “The objective was to showcase how Indian sellers have been able to gain success on the platform. ebay has always been big on cross-border trade and it has been an important line of business for us, that was the rationale behind it and also given the current situation when businesses are trying to get back on their feet. This is an opportunity for them to grow their business significantly. There is also the Prime Minister’s call to go vocal for local so the campaign resonates on multiple factors,” he said.

Here’s the campaign:

The platform that entered India in 2005 has since given small sellers a platform to sell their products. In 2017, the platform entered into a strategic partnership with Flipkart. However, the partnership ended in 2018. Talking about their growth after the exit, Ponnappa said revenues have been stable in India but they wish scale up significantly.

Ponnappa said the Covid situation did impact the business as they were not able to send shipments. “We had a situation where logistics were restricted for a large period of time. It didn’t matter if you are selling internationally or locally so given that situation, we had to ensure our sellers were aware of the situation and communicate to them that they will not be able to sell from India. However, in the last two to three weeks, all our logistics partners have been back on track and we have been able to start selling. We are now shipping products to almost all the parts of the world. From that point, it has not been much of a challenge,” he added.

“A lot of sellers came on to the platform to sell essentials as there was significant demand for those items. Covid has not impacted growth plans but rather impacted the current quarter in terms of how much we are able to sell. Most of our sellers are selling more now than compared to pre-Covid times.”

Talking about the communication strategy for the platform, he said they are focusing on digital. He also said they are communicating with the sellers to educate them about the situation and guide them. “A lot of focus is on the communication with the sellers, to make them understand how the current situation is standing out and how our policies are in place to ensure their businesses are protected. Similarly, we are also making sure that communication goes out to buyers of the condition on-ground, and what you must expect in terms of benefits, the products and the overall buyer experience.”

“On the marketing side, we are using digital to reach out to new and existing sellers to give them a creative perspective of the platform, the opportunities and how they can grow their business and the kind of products that are selling,” Ponnappa added.

ebay also provides strong logistical support to the sellers, who can choose from a number of logistic partners. He also said they focus on providing support to new sellers on-ground. Ponnappa said they have seen traction from areas that specialise in products and also from the four metro cities in India.

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