WATConsult wins e-commerce planning & management mandate

WATConsult, the digital and social media agency from the house of Dentsu Aegis Network, has added yet another significant brand to its client roster. The agency has bagged the e-commerce planning and management duties for Avvatar Sports Nutrition, a brand owned by Parag Milk Foods. As their e-commerce consultants, WATConsult will focus on scaling the brand and its products across a variety of e-commerce channel partners. This will be done through strategic interventions over organic and inorganic means, using creative and other media platforms 

Rajiv Dingra, Founder and CEO, WATConsult said, “It is our pleasure to have Avvatar Sports Nutrition on board. With so many fitness apps and brands making a foray, the sports nutrition market is witnessing an encouraging surge and is indeed expected to grow in the coming future. With our ecommencify consult suite, we ensure that our clients have the right mix of strategy, technology and organisational construct to persevere, compete and scale in commerce solutions. Thus, we look forward to helping the brand strengthen its digital journey.”  

Akshali Shah, Senior VP – Sales and Marketing, Parag Foods said, “We are delighted to announce that we have selected WATConsult ecommencify as our e-commerce partner after a meticulous selection process. We believe their expertise will take the brand to the next level through a more performance-driven approach. Through this partnership, we are sure we will be able to strengthen our brand’s outreach on e-commerce platforms multifold.” 

The vertical has been handling brands such as Merck Consumer Care, Faces Canada, Piramal Consumer Care, Microcotton and Bioderma. ecommencify is working with partners like Magento, Shopify, Flipkart, 1mg, Netmeds, Myntra, Jabong, Nykaa, Snapdeal and many more. Apart from consulting brands with their expertise, the division also believes in helping the industry at large by releasing in-depth reports. For instance, it had released a one-of-its-kind report on the Ecommerce industry last year, that highlighted the changing consumer behaviour and their perspective on the current e-commerce market in India.


How Paytm killed its e-commerce dream in India (Part I)

Exactly two years back, Paytm Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, keeping Alibaba model in mind, took a plunge into the burgeoning e-commerce space where Amazon and Flipkart (now owned by Walmart) were two dominant forces.

Nurturing a little grudge that he never had a chance to study at the Harvard University, Sharma de-merged the e-commerce business into a separate entity by the name of Paytm Mall to address India’s large online retail opportunity with cashbacks.

Confident that the growing number of smartphone users would help it sail through, the new entity started off with the same shareholding as the parent company of Paytm – One97 Communications Limited — and raised $200 million from SAIF Partners and Jack Ma-run Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

Paytm Mall managed to raise over $650 million from Alibaba, SoftBank and SAIF Partners.

Alibaba — a pioneer in the online-to-offline (O2O) marketplace — soon realised that giving cashback to attract customers was a short-term strategy which won’t help Sharma make Paytm Mall a third big player in the fast — growing Indian ecommerce market — poised to touch $84 billion in 2021 from $24 billion in 2017.

Paytm Mall’s losses mounted and in the financial year 2018, the company posted a loss of nearly Rs 1,800 crore on revenue of Rs 774 crore. According to Forrester Research, the market share of Paytm Mall almost halved in 2018 — to 3 per cent from 5.6 per cent in 2017.

Sharma, however, is still optimistic and wants to run Paytm Mall in the face of massive competition which, the analysts feel, is the end-game as his focus should be on the digital payments market which Alibaba always wanted him to excel in.

Several attempts to reach out to Paytm, including emails, calls and even a personal visit to One97 Communications Limited’s Noida Sector 5 office for their version did not elicit any response till the press time.

According to Thomas George, Senior Vice President and Head CyberMedia Research (CMR), Paytm is currently facing several challenges.

“Paytm is far behind the top two e-commerce players in terms of market share. They have a single-digit share against the top leaders which are commanding over 30 per cent. Plus, the service standard set by these market leaders is quite remarkable,” George told IANS.

On the other hand, Paytm is not making investments in stocking and delivering products.

“Paytm Mall’s primary catchment segment was its payment wallet customers base. This base is not growing as anticipated,” George added.

Paytm’s Payment Bank vision is also under scrutiny.

“The Paytm payment bank could have helped the company to create a buzzing marketplace and attract more consumers onboard. While billionaire investor Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc has invested in Paytm, we had seen Alibaba diluting its stake too,” George noted.

Over the past few years, Paytm has been bleeding massively in online retail business and there is no respite in sight.

In a mega deal in India’s e-commerce space, the world’s retail giant Walmart in May last year announced it was buying 77 per cent equity stake in the country’s largest e-tailor Flipkart for $16 billion.

After the two US retails giants, Reliance Industries last year announced to enter the e-commerce space with an aim to transform the lives of around three crore merchants across the country, enabling them to do all that large enterprises and e-commerce giants are able to do with the help of technology.

For Paytm Mall, the news of Reliance entering the e-commerce ring was like a nightmare.