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eBay is encouraging Indian MSMEs to leverage the demand opportunity: Pavan Ponnappa

Pavan Ponnappa, Head – Growth Categories, Shipping & Marketing, eBay
Pavan Ponnappa, Head – Growth Categories, Shipping & Marketing, eBay

In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to Indians to be self-reliant, eBay in India has launched #LocalToGLobal campaign to encourage Indian MSMEs to expand their businesses globally. #LocalToGlobal campaign is part of a larger narrative planned by the brand to showcase the cross-border e-commerce opportunity to homegrown businesses encouraging them to start selling globally. The campaign was kickstarted by highlighting ‘India Se Duniya Tak’ narrative with a series of specially curated creatives across its social media handles. The narrative revolves around eBay’s vision of taking Indian products beyond borders and to every nook and corner of the world by creatively accessorising famous International landmarks with classic Indian elements.

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Adgully, spoke to Pavan Ponnappa, Head – Growth Categories, Shipping & Marketing, eBay, to understand more about the campaign and the long-term strategy for eBay in India.

What is the Local for Global campaign all about? What is the key objective and role of this campaign? How will it help eBay increase the awareness and woo more customers from India?

eBay’s focus in India is to facilitate Cross Border Trade (CBT) for Indian sellers. Our CBT business has been in operation for over a decade, wherein we provide our platform(s) to help Indian sellers list and sell merchandise to over 174 million buyers who shop on various global platforms of eBay, whether in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, etc. As of date, we have over 10,000 India sellers – artisans, entrepreneurs, MSMEs who leverage the eBay platform to sell internationally.

The #LocalToGlobal campaign is our effort to enable Indian sellers to take advantage the eBay platform to make their products available and sell to global customers. The campaign also showcases sellers from India on eBay who have gone global and seen tremendous success.

From a campaign standpoint, it is an interesting period that we are in right now. There is an upsurge in demand for e-commerce goods across the globe and the #LocalToGLobal campaign was launched to encourage Indian MSMEs to take advantage of this demand opportunity. It is part of a larger narrative by the brand which is to not only showcase the cross-border e-commerce opportunity to homegrown businesses, but also encourage them to start selling globally in line with the Prime Minister’s clarion call of encouraging local manufacturing.

The #LocalToGlobal campaign does not wish to woo Indian consumers (buyers) as eBay only operates its Cross-Border Business in India.

Out of sight is out of mind. Brand eBay is not top of mind after it exited Flipkart. Now you are back to encourage customers to explore the overseas market, what has been your re-entry strategy to convince the MSME in India and leverage the platform?

As I said earlier, eBay has been the pioneer of Cross-Border Trade business in India and ‘Sellers’, are our primary focus as far as customer segmentation is concerned. eBay’s cross-border trade was always in operation and the sellers continued to sell on the platform.

As far as communication is concerned, the primary task at hand is to communicate the lucrative opportunities that eBay brings to Indian sellers in retail e-commerce export. We already enjoy an active seller base of over 10,000 and are looking to onboard newer sellers, enabling them to sell products to global audiences across the world. Our #LocalToGlobal communication is focused on highlighting the potential that exists for Indian MSME’s and businesses in the global market especially now when there is a demand surge in global e-commerce and online shopping is growing especially in markets like US ,UK, Australia and Germany.

To whom is this campaign targeted, and can you elaborate on the profile of this audience? Are you looking at only metros or this is going to reach across more cities in India?

The #LocalToGlobal campaign is targeted towards Indian sellers – artisans, entrepreneurs, MSMEs and Indian brands who are looking for an effective platform to fulfil their global aspirations. These sellers are everywhere – metros, non-metros and smaller cities/ towns.

India is an exceptionally diverse country and every region has its own specificity with respect to products and their availability. If you look at Agra, for example, there are specific product lines like footwear and marble tabletops, which are in high demand. Likewise, Jaipur would churn out great business through its expertise in gems & jewelry. We recognise that given the size and diversity of the country, it will be difficult to reach every nook and corner. However, in order to ensure that we have maximum variety and a wide seller base, we have our business development teams with presence across regions.

The lockdown is being relaxed in phases, however, factories, etc. are yet to commence their operations. How are MSMEs gearing up giving the current situation? There have been no great sales in the last 3 months and they will have weak cash flow, so how will they participate in this mission to export overseas?

There is diversity of sellers on eBay, who wish to take advantage of retail e-commerce export. We have large sellers and manufacturers, but we also have artisans, entrepreneurs, etc., who sell on our platform. The beauty of our platform is that sellers’ have very short cash conversion cycles due to our business model. So, it’s a great way for them to get their business on their feet. Operationally, our shipping platform offer a variety of logistics partners that will deliver the products to the end customer and the account management team will support the sellers in restarting. So, demand generation and fulfilment of demand is not a challenge.

The spirit of promoting the culture of entrepreneurship looks encouraging. Apart from the ‘Local for global’ campaign, what are the other motivating ideas you are looking to encourage the entrepreneurs to take advantage of the eBay platform?

eBay’s vision has always been to empower entrepreneurs and turn their dreams into business successes. All Indian sellers – Entrepreneurs, MSMEs, Artisans and brands can grow their business because we offer true partnership and a dynamic marketplace with global reach. Our #LocalToGlobal marketing campaign is a testament to our continued commitment to the global aspiration of Indian sellers. The entire eBay team is driven to help sellers throughout their selling journey. Over the coming months we want to be able to communicate about the USPs of eBay for the various seller communities large or small and the support we offer to enable their success.

Hence, we invite all Indian sellers to join forces with eBay to grow their business and fulfill their aspirations to be global entrepreneurs. Visit our seller center to know more: https://sellglobal.ebay.in

What are the channels that you are using to promote? While digital has been the frontline medium for most of the brands during lockdown, how do you plan to reach the smaller towns where you have a lot of potential entrepreneurs’ who would be interested in doing business?

A large chunk of our marketing effort is directed towards reaching out to our seller base via a mix of traditional social media channels like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. In the current context, most of the people are indoors and are consuming more and more digital content. Communicating through the digital medium to drive our message looks like a good fit in the foreseeable future.

Besides, we have a very dedicated and motivated business development team who is continuously scouting for sellers with unique product items and bring them on to the platform.

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