India Post has been associated with e-commerce in India since the beginning of this concept. In 241 years of its existence the Department of Posts has been able to set up over 1.5 lakh post offices, covering maximum number of pin codes than any logistics company, and thus becoming a best friend for the Indian Internet retailers. However this is slightly changing now, the Government operated system is soon going to launch its own e-commerce marketplace.
In a report by ET John Samuel, a member of Postal Services Board, said that India Post will be launching an Amazon and eBay like online store, which would be a managed marketplace with strong check on of who can sell and who can not. An emphasis would be made on selling of indigenous products like Darjeeling Tea, Kashmiri Saffron etc.
“In one hand we have Rs 4909 crore worth IT related infrastructure modernization plan and on the other hand, we are spending another Rs 2000 crore to have new vehicles to ensure faster delivery.” said Samuel.
This is the second Government run body after IRCTC to step into e-commerce. IRCTC had launched its portal in partnership with Yebhi, but that didn’t work out and Yebhi itself changed its business model in 2014. India Post comes with an experience in handling e-commerce logistics, also it had gotten into an MoU with companies like Snapdeal, Amazon and Shopclues to propel this particular segment. Will this new arm create a conflict of interest with portals dealing in the same space?
This Government body could leverage the brand it has built among the consumers, in-road into rural population, the ready supply chain infrastructure it has and also its experience playing a role as a financial body to manage the payments. Although all this looks hopeful, one can only wait for a few months more to see how does this picture actually turns out to be.