Brick-and-mortar trading companies have put together a platform to take on the challenge of e-commerce companies.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), the pan-India association of traditional traders, on Monday launched its own e-commerce platform, called – what else? — e-Lala (www.e-lala.biz).
The platform, which had a pilot project in Nagpur, was formally inaugurated by urban development minister Venkiah Naidu. With a target of boarding 50,000 sellers in 100 cities by March 2016, CAIT has tied up with MasterCard for the payment services on the platform, which accepts card and netbanking payments. The cash-on-delivery option is not available.
In India, the number of online-shoppers is expected to reach 100 million by the end of this year, compared to 35 million last year. The value of online sales is tipped to hit Rs 5,300 crore against Rs 3,600 crore in 2011, according to CAIT data.
Calling the platform revolutionary, useful, constructive and a step towards Digital India, Naidu said, “When we are moving towards digitalisation and computerisation, nobody can lag.”
“We will have strict norms for KYC (know your customer), with Aadhar, VAT registration number and PAN card number, to make sure that only genuine traders participate on the platform,” said Praveen Khandelwal, CAIT secretary-general. When questioned on the organisation’s turnaround from its earlier stand against e-commerce, Khandelwal said CAIT still sticks to its demand for separate guidelines and law to govern e-commerce.
CAIT has also partnered with MasterCard for an ambitious education and training programme to promote digitisation of payments among Indian traders, under which 1,000 traders have been trained in seven cities so far.
It is expected that this move would help MasterCard to expand its base among the country’s 58-million strong trading community, said Ari Sarker, Asia Pacific co-president of MasterCard. “We bring safety and security to the payment system. (Partnering with) CAIT we will be able to scale up our merchant business.”