Edit: 21st April 2016: Paytm actually sues Snapdeal for stealing data through Unicommerce.
Original Post 26th March, 2016
First let’s start by looking at this hate mail Paytm has been sending all its sellers (click to enlarge and read)
Now let’s start the story of how these two kids ended up fighting like heathens 😀 :p
So, I am assuming everybody knows what Unicommerce is, but still I’d like to tell given that many would not know, its the swiss knife you need to sell online. Now being serious its a multi-channel inventory management and order processing tool. Online sellers need it to manage their inventory efficiently and to scale while selling on multiple marketplaces.
without such a software
it would be a nightmare.
(no it was not intended to be a poem).
So, why is this Paytm kid sending such mails and bad mouthing such a good kid? It makes no sense! It made no sense to me either (because as I said earlier without a tool like this its near impossible to do multi-channel selling), so I got very curious about why is this happening, what could be their problem because its adding immense value by enabling business on their platform by enabling sellers to sell more or simply be present. Then I thought, they have been sending these mails from months but integration of Unicommerce and Paytm is working properly, we are processing Paytm orders using Unicommerce everyday and all is good.
Why not simply stop API access to Unicommerce and put an end to it instead of using such tactics and scaring sellers (scared because they will stop all pending payment is what the mail means).
The answer is simple, because Unicommerce has leverage of approx. 5000 sellers on its platform (information from a credible source). If Paytm shuts down their Merchant API to Unicommerce and we the sellers cannot process orders and manage inventory for Paytm from the same, issues will increase rather than decrease and at least I as a seller will have to SHUT DOWN my Paytm store because as a channel which gives me about 10% of my overall sales, it will stop making sense for me to maintain a presence on it, I am sure many other sellers will agree to this.
So again, why the mail, I was given a very vague answer that the integration breaks and sync does not happen sometimes and sellers process orders in Unicommerce but they don’t get processed in Paytm panel so these orders end up getting cancelled and merchants are charged a penalty which they protest and Paytm had to reimburse many such sellers because of the same.
It again makes no sense, as when Paytm pushes shipping slips to Unicommerce, at both places orders are marked Ready to Ship and only when Paytm will provide Manifest we will get it in Unicommerce and orders will be marked Manifest Requested. If we have got the Paytm manifest using Unicommerce there is no way these orders are left in Ready to Ship status @Paytm.
SO ANYWAY, point being even if there is such an issue, shouldn’t the tech teams resolve it amicably internally instead of escalating it to this level? OR If the Unicommerce set of sellers is too small for Paytm and they can take the hit of losing them, so why don’t they? Do this or that, what is the point of sending such mails?
I think the issue here is deeper, maybe I am being a conspiracy theorist but it makes sense to me like conspiracies make sense to well, conspiracy theorists. I think the issue is DATA. So when a seller connects all these marketplace accounts to Unicommerce, and use it for order management, Unicommerce (Acquired by Snapdeal recently) ends up getting data of your customers, the pin codes orders are coming from, the items that are best selling etc. etc. Its the ULTIMATE business intelligence tool for Snapdeal to get all this data from competing marketplaces. How well they use it is a different story. Am sure legal loopholes can be found in all of the litigation for Snapdeal to be able to use this data as Business Intelligence. So I think Paytm has problems with Snapdeal getting all this data. Though I would not be surprised if they are not thinking on this line, and the actual issue is what I was told. LOL.
Initially I also thought Snapdeal acquired it because they were using it to manage their SD+ warehouses and vendor management etc. So, they would have wanted custom functionalities to be able to do all that more efficiently so they must have thought, why spend building from scratch, we have so much investor money lets buy this platform and make it in-house. Like, ab to ghar ki hi baat hai.
But gradually I understood the DATA part but what makes me doubt that there was any DATA intention is that Snapdeal has almost killed the product, they are not actively marketing it is a fact, I think they have killed its growth and the product itself.
The Rise & Fall of Unicommerce
Unicommerce is a beautiful piece of software, fully functional and I have always been in awe of it because I have a fair idea of technology behind it and I know HOW HARD it would have been to build this platform given the sheer number of integrations that they have and HOW HARD it would be to keep it running with SO MANY dependencies, breakages are fixed at lightning speed. Salute to founders and makers. IT WAS an Amazing product with an Amazing team. They have managed to build it in an environment, where first question when you ask for any API is, “Kyun chahiye, kya karoge?”, with what emotion should they be answered ki, “Aapka business enable karenge”.
My testimonial to Unicommerce is that without you guys I would not have been able to scale my online selling business and all you marketplaces would not have been getting lakhs in fees that you deduct from my payments every single week, sometimes even twice in a week :p
And the best part, there is virtually no competition, there are other players but some have less integrations, others’ pricing is unsubscribable and overall every other product lacks attention to detail and the QUALITY and ease of use that Unicommerce has. I took some demos but in comparison every other thing fails. It could have been the star of Indian e-commerce with a ton of leverage but founders must have had their reasons of selling to Snapdeal.
I don’t know if its a co-incidence that there have been hardly any major updates, I have stopped seeing any activity in terms of marketing, and the Support has gone down to the sewer from stellar level since its acquisition by Snapdeal. It can also be a side-effect of growing too much too fast but I highly doubt that. Its still not too late, it can be saved and used.
So I request Snapdeal to please understand that with great power comes great responsibility, you have kryptonite in your hands, use it. And I request Paytm to please let the sellers sell on their platform and help & support them grow, also, co-operate with Unicommerce/Snapdeal till another player worthy of being Unicommerce comes up.
Thanks & Regards :p