Is IndiaMart Legit? Read This Before You Buy Anything!

Is IndiaMart Legit? Read This Before You Buy Anything!

IndiaMart is one of the largest B2B ecommerce platforms where you can find suppliers and import products from India.

But is IndiaMart legit and safe to use? Can you safely import goods from India through IndiaMart?

Especially since there is a trade war between China and the US, you should consider sourcing from India and diversifying your product portfolio.

In this IndiaMart review, I’ll show you how to avoid IndiaMart scams, explain how to buy from the platform and share my thoughts on whether it’s worth investing your time to import from India.

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What Is IndiaMart?

IndiaMart homepage

IndiaMart is a leading Indian B2B marketplace with over 7.8 million suppliers and 170 million buyers and is considered the Alibaba of India.

Originally launched in 1996 as a directory of websites, IndiaMart has grown into a B2B giant that facilitates transactions from within India and all over the world.

Today, IndiaMart owns roughly 60% of the Indian online classified space, making it the largest B2B ecommerce platform in India that connects Indian manufacturers with businesses locally and globally.

Similar to buying from Alibaba, you don’t make direct purchases on the IndiaMart platform.

Instead, when you connect with a supplier through IndiaMart, you deal with a third-party factory that is not affiliated with the company.

IndiaMart is a wholesale directory. It doesn’t sell products directly; it links you to the manufacturers and suppliers who do.

However, here’s why you should consider using IndiaMart:

  • Direct manufacturer access: IndiaMart enables direct contact with manufacturers, improving your control over product design, quality, and delivery.
  • Wholesale prices: Access products at competitive wholesale rates.
  • Brand customization: IndiaMart provides a platform to connect with private label manufacturers.

Is IndiaMart Legit?

IndiaMart tshirt catalog

IndiaMart is a legit company based in Noida, India, that attracts over 45 million monthly visits, according to Similarweb.

Since its launch in 1996, IndiaMart has secured multiple rounds of funding. It went public in 2019 and is now listed on both the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and the National Stock Exchange (NSE).

With a workforce of over 3000 employees, IndiaMart reported revenues exceeding $120 million in 2023.

However, IndiaMart isn’t accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) because it doesn’t operate in the US.

Is IndiaMart Safe?

Scrabble blocks spelling SAFE

IndiaMart is generally a safe ecommerce marketplace, with over 45 million active users and they offer several protections against scams such as fraud user alerts, escrow services and seller verification:

Here’s how these protections work.

  • Fraud user alerts: IndiaMart warns users during conversations if a buyer is marked as fraudulent. Even when the chat window is closed, a fraud icon will appear next to the buyer’s name.
  • Seller verification: IndiaMart encourages buyers to verify sellers by checking tags on their profiles, such as Leading Supplier, Star Supplier, TrustSeal Verified, and Verified Plus supplier.

IndiaMart provides an escrow service named “Tazapay,” which holds the payment until the seller submits proof of shipment. Alternatively, you can use PayPal for your transactions.

However, IndiaMart does not take responsibility for the actions of suppliers or buyers and does not engage in their transactions or negotiations.

Moreover, since 2018, the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has labeled IndiaMart as a “notorious market” for its role in distributing counterfeit goods and illegal pharmaceuticals.

That’s why you must avoid purchasing licensed products or food products from IndiaMart.

Note: IndiaMart used to offer an escrow service called “Pay with IndiaMART (PWIM)” but it was discontinued in March 2024. As a result, Indian buyers now have to rely on Tazapay or direct payments to suppliers using their agreed methods.

IndiaMart Products

IndiaMart categories

The IndiaMart platform offers products and services from more than 7.8 million sellers across 98,000 categories and 56 industries.

Popular product categories include:

  • Industrial Machinery
  • LED Lights
  • Solar Panels
  • T-shirt Printing Machine
  • Readymade Garments
  • CCTV Camera
  • A4 Size Copier Paper
  • Cotton Fabric
  • Mineral Water Plants
  • Greenhouse
  • Special Purpose Machines
  • Green Coffee Beans
  • Pet Bottles
  • Paper Plate Raw Material
  • Car Wash Equipment
  • Cotton T-shirts
  • CFL Lamps
  • Imitation Jewelry
  • Carton Box
  • Plastic Bottles

IndiaMart also lists services where buyers can outsource work like data entry and accounting to businesses.

Can Anyone Buy From IndiaMart?

Man operating a laptop on a wooden table

Anyone can use IndiaMart for free, and you don’t need a company, a seller’s permit, or any business license to start. Having a website is also not necessary.

The main concern for an IndiaMart supplier is that you can purchase consistently in bulk. The platform is open to all who meet the bulk-buying requirements set by individual sellers.

How IndiaMart Works For Buyers

IndiaMart offers domestic and international buyers a platform to connect with suppliers and manufacturers from across India. However, you can’t place an order directly on the platform.

Here is a step by step guide on how to buy from IndiaMart:

Understand Regional Specializations

India doesn’t manufacture everything, but what it does produce, it does very well and often at lower prices.

Just like China, different regions in India specialize in various products. So you must find an Indian supplier based in a region known for your desired goods.

For example:

  • Tiruppur is known for cotton textiles and apparel.
  • Ludhiana specializes in wool products.
  • Mumbai is known for steel kitchen products and textiles.
  • Panipat is a hub for home furnishings.
  • Kolkata excels in producing leather bags.

Check out this map to better understand the manufacturing focuses of different Indian regions:

Map of India with product specializations

Shop On IndiaMart

You don’t need to create an account on IndiaMart, as one will automatically be created for you once you send an inquiry to a seller.

Start by searching for a supplier or product on the IndiaMart homepage. You will see a list of suppliers who offer your desired product.

Click on the product hyperlink to view the product page, where you can see details about the product and the company.

India product page

On the right-hand side of the product, there’s a brief product description followed by the company’s details.

You can visit the company’s website by clicking on the company name.

Here, you’ll find the company address, ratings, GST number (Goods and Services Tax Identification Number), and various badges.

The badges like TrustSEAL Verified, Leading Supplier, Star Supplier, and Verified Exporter are part of a paid service. Suppliers pay a significant premium to IndiaMart to be pre-qualified, which helps weed out less serious companies and scammers.

Then, scroll down to read the long product description, which includes the minimum order requirement and the company’s production capacity.

IndiaMart-MOQ-and-supplier-contact-details

At the bottom right-hand side, you can send an inquiry to the supplier and view their detailed company address, which you can verify on Google Maps.

Alternatively, you can directly email, send SMS, or call the supplier. Most suppliers in India have a basic understanding of English, and if you mention you’re looking to import goods, they will likely connect you to a sales representative.

Note: Be aware that IndiaMart is known for forwarding your contact information to multiple manufacturers, which can lead to numerous calls. So I would suggest you to use an alternate or business number instead of your personal number to avoid spam.

Place An Order

IndiaMart contact supplier

Once you’ve selected a product on IndiaMart, the next step is to contact the supplier to discuss your order.

You can contact the supplier from the product page. Some suppliers have a chat function.

But you must do your own due diligence on a supplier before proceeding with any order. Try to find out more about the product and request a sample to check the quality.

Most suppliers are usually willing to send a sample order. If a supplier refuses to provide a sample, do not proceed with them.

While buying sample products may be costly, investing in a few samples is better than placing a large order and ending up disappointed.

Plus, many vendors allow the cost of the sample to be credited to your first bulk order, reducing the overall expense.

However, the main challenge with IndiaMart is that it functions solely as a directory; there’s no feature to place orders directly on the platform.

This means no checkout options, no cart functionality, and outdated product info. You’ll need to handle all the transaction details yourself and place your trust in the supplier.

That said, there are no sites in India comparable to Alibaba that have an escrow service to hold payment until successful delivery.

IndiaMart uses Tazapay, a Singapore company, where payment is released to the seller upon uploading shipping details rather than upon delivery.

Negotiate Price

A lady counting cash money on her desk.

Once you’ve received and are satisfied with a sample, it’s time to negotiate prices with the seller.

In India, it’s common practice for suppliers to expect negotiations, so be prepared to discuss pricing. Engaging with multiple suppliers on IndiaMart can provide leverage in these negotiations.

However, your ability to negotiate will largely depend on the volume of your order. If you’re placing your first order and the quantity is relatively small, your negotiation power may be limited.

You should also know that your negotiated price might not include shipping costs. You’ll need to inquire about shipping separately to ensure it doesn’t significantly cut into your profits.

Pro tip: Do not negotiate the price of your sample. Attempting to do so can make you appear unprofessional and leave a negative impression on the supplier.

IndiaMart Shipping

Shipping via third party logistics

IndiaMart acts only as a marketplace for connecting buyers with suppliers and does not deal with shipping logistics directly.

However, IndiaMart offers “Ship with IndiaMart,” an online service that assists suppliers with their transport needs by connecting them to relevant logistic service providers.

Check Your Order

Tracking with Binoculars

Before shipping, hire an inspection company like Qima to check your goods.

This is important because the cost of returning items, especially to a country as far away as India, can be expensive in case you have problems with your order.

Depending on the product category, you can find many inspection companies with a simple Google search.

Upon arrival of your order, conduct a thorough check:

  • Count the items to ensure the quantity matches what you ordered.
  • Inspect each product for damages.
  • Check for cleanliness and acceptable packaging.

Remember, most inspection companies will only examine a statistically significant sample of your order, meaning some defects could still go unnoticed.

If you find any problems, particularly with damaged goods, you should immediately contact the supplier regarding a possible refund.

Tips For Buying On Indiamart

IndiaMart company reviews

You may come across scammers who outright dupe you or suppliers who sell low-quality products far different from the sample they have sent you.

To safeguard your purchases and increase your chances of a satisfactory transaction, follow these essential tips:

Use Reputable Suppliers

Since IndiaMart only verifies phone and GST numbers, you must conduct thorough background checks yourself.

Check your supplier’s rating and individual customer feedback on IndiaMart. Then, visit the supplier’s website and locate their office on Google Maps.

Look for office images showing the company’s nameplate with their GST number. According to GST law, every registered company must display their registration certificate in a clearly visible location at their primary place of business.

Finally, be cautious of offers that seem too good to be true, as they are often used to motivate buyers to make rushed decisions.

Ask For Clear Terms And Conditions

Always insist on having clear, explicit written terms and conditions for any transaction.

This includes details about pricing, payment methods, refunds, returns, transportation costs, and delivery schedules.

Check Bank Details

Verify the supplier’s bank city through the IFSC (Indian Financial System Code) provided and ensure it matches the city they claim.

Also, check the bank account details on the supplier’s IndiaMart web catalog, if available.

Hire An Inspector

Investing a few hundred dollars in a third-party inspection service is a worthwhile expense.

Not only does it act as an insurance policy, but the knowledge of an impending inspection can also motivate suppliers to improve product quality.

IndiaMart Pros And Cons

blue up and red down designs in a forest

IndiaMart offers extensive access to a wide range of products and suppliers in India at wholesale prices. However, like any marketplace, it comes with certain risks and challenges.

Before proceeding with transactions on IndiaMart, consider the following pros and cons to better understand what to expect.

Pros

  • Low cost: Sourcing from India through IndiaMart can lead to significant cost savings, with prices often lower than those in the US.
  • Wide variety of products: The platform houses millions of products across virtually every niche, making it likely you’ll find a manufacturer that meets your needs.
  • Customization: IndiaMart provides a platform to connect with manufacturers that specialize in private labeling.
  • Direct interaction with manufacturers: Unlike dealing with middlemen, IndiaMart allows you to work directly with manufacturers, which can be advantageous for ensuring product quality and specifications.
  • Ratings: You can view reviews and ratings for each supplier, which can help you identify and avoid scammers.

Cons

  • Scammers: IndiaMart has a scammer issue as they do limited background checks. Scammers can pay a premium to buy verified badges and lure buyers to place bulk orders with them.
  • Lack of ecommerce functionality: Unlike Alibaba, IndiaMart does not allow you to place orders directly on the platform; it serves only as a directory.
  • Limited escrow services: The Tazapay escrow service on IndiaMart only releases payment to the seller after proof of shipment is uploaded, not upon delivery, which differs from Alibaba’s model and can increase risk.
  • Product differences: Be cautious with product specifications like sizing, particularly with clothing, as Indian sizing differs from American sizing.
  • Variable quality: The quality of products may not always match the photographs or descriptions. That’s why, always order a sample before placing a bulk order.

Should You Use IndiaMart?

IndiaMart is not the ideal platform for importing goods from India, as it lacks the comprehensive end-to-end solutions offered by platforms like China’s Alibaba.

But it can still be a valuable resource to understand market pricing and find suppliers in India, especially for exporting to the US.

While it requires some groundwork from your end, many suppliers listed on IndiaMart cater to international markets.

I’ve shared my experiences and insights on sourcing from India in a YouTube video, where I discuss the advantages, particularly in the textiles sector, that I’ve found beneficial for my ecommerce store, Bumblebee Linens.

FAQs About IndiaMart

What Is IndiaMart’s Return Policy?

IndiaMart does not handle refunds or cancellations directly. Instead, it encourages buyers and sellers to resolve any issues between themselves. If a resolution is not possible, buyers can contact IndiaMart’s customer support team at customercare@indiamart.com or call +91 9696969696 for assistance.

What Payment Methods Does IndiaMart Accept?

IndiaMart facilitates payments through PayPal and Tazapay, an escrow service that helps with cross-border transactions for Indian exporters. On Tazapay, you can complete your purchases using bank transfers, wire transfers, credit cards, and debit cards.

Can Foreign Sellers Sell On Indiamart?

No, IndiaMart only allows local Indian sellers to list and sell products on their platform.

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About Steve Chou

Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com

His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times,  Entrepreneur and MSNBC.  

He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.

In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts

To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.  

Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses. 

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