Looks like India is on its way to getting one of the biggest online marketplaces of the time. After various attempts to enter the growing Indian retail space with a brick and mortar model, Walmart is preparing its e-tailing push.
According to a report by The Economic Times, a team of 15-17 people under the leadership of Arvind Mediratta, COO, Walmart India and Steve Rodrigues, VP for Operations in the India office, is working to develop an electronic platform.
Reportedly, the project has been in process for the past few months. Walmart is expected to finalise the brand name of the website soon, and will go live in the next two to three months.
The online marketplace is expected to cater to the wholesale consumer in its initial phase, and will work on the lines of the business model similar Amazon India and eBay, as per the aforementioned report.
Since India bars foreign retailers from selling wares directly online to consumers, both Amazon and eBay, the global giants of Internet-based commerce, now operate a socalled marketplace model under which they offer their platforms to other vendors and collect commissions in return, further explained the report.
While Walmart India refused to confirm the development to The Economic Times, a Walmart spokesperson said, “Our experiences worldwide support the fact that e-commerce is an important and growing area that meets our customers’ shopping needs. Toward this, we encourage the government of India to consider opening e-commerce for FDI.”
Amazon’s Vice-President Paul E Misener had met Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma as well to seek changes in the FDI policy in retail.
As of now India allows 100 per cent FDI only in Business to Business (B2B) e-commerce and not in retail trading online.
As per The Economic Times, the last couple of years have been tough for Walmart in India. It was forced to put a moratorium on store expansion in the country amid an ongoing internal probe to check if its local unit had any way violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or FCPA that severely penalises American companies that indulge in corrupt practices overseas. Walmart has decided to put all expansion on ice until early 2015, by which time it hopes to put in place a foolproof FCPA-compliant mechanism in place in India.