Snapdeal takes the road less travelled…

MUMBAI: Be it acquisitions, deals or launches of products, Snapdeal continues to make headlines.

While Amazon India is partnering with Future Group and Flipkart has acquired Myntra to boost the fashion retail section, Snapdeal is attempting to break the clutter by filling its basket with products from diverse categories.

In the last few weeks, the e-tailer is ventured into selling homes, two-wheelers and four-wheelers, gourmet food. It has also inked some exclusive tie-ups with electronics retailer Croma and television manufacturer VU Technologies among others. Snapdeal is also one of the sponsors for the famous reality television show, Bigg Boss 8.

“We offer a platform where anyone can come and sell or buy anything that can be sold. We are trying to replicate the offline market place in its most democratic manner possible online,” says Snapdeal offlibe marketing senior VP Maneesh Goel.

“The intention is to try and cater to every single consumer,” he adds.

Snapdeal, as a strategy, is trying to capture the entire wallet share of Indian customers and has been quite successful so far.

 “Snapdeal has been one of the sites which is constantly evolving with newer ideas both in terms of products on offer and marketing strategies”, says Team Pumpkin co-founder, Swati Nathani.  

According to Trust Research Advisory CEO, N Chandramouli, “This approach is done to get involved in every aspect of a customer’s purchase. All products are the same in the purchase – one pays and the other sells but with the degree of purchase involvement and the price changes. If Snapdeal is successful in smoothly operating the entire purchase cycle, they will definitely grow in terms of the bond that they share with their customers and thereby increasing trust.”

Snapdeal has managed to raise over $233 million (over Rs 1,400 crores) this year from investors including Premji Invest, Temasek and eBay Inc. Industry veteran, Ratan Tata also invested in the site, giving it his stamp of approval.  According to media reports, Alibaba is also said to have forayed into the Indian e-commerce space with Snapdeal as its partners.

With its ‘bachate raho (keep saving)’ tagline and focus on unbranded products sold by small manufacturers and retailers, Snapdeal has established itself as a mass-retailer, with over half of these 50,000 merchants selling fashion and lifestyle products that account for 60 percent of its orders.

“Most categories which are generally sold on the urban arena involve middlemen and hence their value is rising. With Snapdeal foraying into the sections, the involvement of middlemen is reducing leading to fall in their value,” Goel added.

Snapdeal recently crossed $1 billion (or Rs 6,000 crore) in sales (called gross merchandise value in the online world) taking on rival Flipkart, which had achieved the target a few months ago.

The new categories such as real estate, gourmet foods and automobiles are critical for the portal. For both Tata Value Homes and the new Mahindra Scorpio, the site let users pre-book online for an amount (Rs 30,000 Tata Value Homes and Rs 20,000 for the new Mahindra Scorpio) that is much lower than required through traditional mediums such as at a car dealer's or property sales office.

Tying up with Tata Value Homes, the e-tailer announced 85 homes, worth Rs 40 crore, were sold in six days. It also introduced a new gourmet section on the site in partnership with Sanjeev Kapoor.

According to Nathani, “Gourmet is the section which should bring the next level of revolution in the e-commerce space. After Books, Electronics, Fashion and Home, Gourmet has been one section which everyone wants to explore. The category has also been a little underplayed in the offline space and therefore, we think that this can be the game changer in the e-commerce space.”

With Diwali coming soon, the online portal is planning a huge campaign for its customers. But more than that, they are concentrating on the marketing of it.

“The campaign will last around 40-45 days. The intention is that, depending upon day to day we will be clocking around 1000-2000 ads slots everyday, the campaigns will peak on several days, overall targeting around 50,000-60,000 slots,” Goel reveals.

“Intention is to double the revenue through Diwali sales,” he added.

Jasper Infotech, which runs Snapdeal.com, has recently reported a loss of Rs 264.6 crores for the year ended March, compared with a loss of Rs 120 crores in the previous year.

“In terms of numbers and reach, currently we would say Flipkart is the winner but with its constantly evolving strategies, we will soon see Snapdeal getting into the top spot, “Nathani opines.

The battle is a close one for now. The company is venturing into various brands from auto, electronics, mobile phones, home furnishings, kitchen appliances, beauty, footwear to clothing to get them online.

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