Companies are using the marketplace for targeted export

A combination of depreciating rupee and attractive overseas demand has seen traditional entrepreneur-driven companies such as Nalli Silk Sarees and Joyalukkas embrace the online medium, with several firms jumping aboard online marketplace eBay. The idea seems to be a focus on targeted export.

And, it isn’t just the Indian ethnic wear providers. Other Indian companies are also starting to list their wares on eBay to take advantage of targeted exporting in an economic environment otherwise marked by slow growth, according to Navin Mistry, Head – Retail Exports, eBay India.

The signing up process is simple—eBay charges minimal listing fees, preferring to instead take a commission on each sale.

“We’re seeing nearly 100 per cent year-on-year growth in terms of the number of sellers that are listing with us. There is great demand for ethnic wear, which is why companies such as Nalli have tied up with us. Auto parts, in the form of vintage bike parts and riding gear, are exported too, especially from Tamil Nadu,” said Mr. Mistry, in an interaction with The Hindu on Friday. Take for instance, Royal Enfield. According to Mr. Mistry, eBay has appointed a ‘trading assistant’ for the company—basically a trusted third-party eBay seller—which allows Royal Enfield to export parts.

“Companies like to outsource things, and this is especially true for firms that don’t want or don’t have the ability to fully export properly. With eBay, they don’t have to be worried about selling or servicing during odd-time zones ,” he said.

eBay’s sellers, however, do face problems as well; mainly due to the current import duty and customs system.

In particular, entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses feel the crunch when it comes to their customers returning the exported products.

“What happens is that when an Indian seller exports his product and the buyer does not find it satisfactory, and thus returns it back to India, there is an import duty which is charged! Customs authorities do not recognize this new kind of export,” Mr. Mistry said.

“For an entrepreneur who counts the money made on each product, it pinches him that his product gets stuck on customs. Many times, they would prefer to send a new product to the customer, rather than paying duty on the returned product,” he added.

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