In, a candid interview with Images Retail, Amit Maheshwari, VP, Fashion, Snapdeal talks about the evolution of e-commerce in India, role that Snapdeal has played in helping the e-commerce industry to come of age, disruptive force of m-commerce and how ‘fashion and lifestyle’ has emerged out to be an important category for them.
They came, they saw and they conquered the e-commerce world! Yes, we are talking about the e-commerce marketplace, which is a case study in itself. Yes, you guessed it right, we are talking about the disruptive force in e-commerce, Snapdeal. Snapdeal, which was started in Feb 2010 by high school friends – Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal. In a short span of little over 5 years, Snapdeal has emerged as India’s most trusted digital marketplace that creates life-changing experiences for buyers and sellers. The company witnessed phenomenal growth in 2013-14, growing 600 per cent from 2013 to 2014, making it the fastest growing e-commerce company in India, through its leadership in the m-commerce revolution in India, with 75 per cent of its orders coming from mobile phones.
Where does the e-commerce industry in India lie right now in terms of it’s life-cycle and where do we see it going?
E-commerce is still at a very nascent stage of growth in India. With mobile penetration increasing at a rapid pace, mobile is driving and will continue to drive the next wave of e-commerce customers in India. Our recent acquisition of FreeCharge is on the same lines. With this acquisition, we have become the largest m-commerce company in the country.
What do you think is the model to go by – having one’s own stock or a marketplace model like yours?
Globally, most successful e-commerce models are Marketplaces and India is no different. And the reason is the fragmented supply side. Less than 8 per cent of retail in India is organized. The only way you can aggregate supply is by allowing large number of sellers to list on a particular platform like Snapdeal which has a lot of demand. We as a platform act as enablers for lot of businesses in India . They are doing what they are good at in terms of design, manufacturing etc. and we are connecting them with aggregated demand by strong technology, customer support and logistics.
Is Snapdeal planning its offline store in near future? What is your perspective on hybrid retailing omni-channel presence?
Snapdeal is India’s largest online marketplace that connects thousands of sellers with millions of buyers. Our current focus is to build the most impactful digital commerce ecosystem in the country.
What are your various product categories and which ones are the most popular?
We currently house over 11 million products from 100,000 sellers across 500+ categories. Fashion, lifestyle and home are some of the popular categories.
What according to you are the emerging categories in online shopping?
With consumers’ awareness levels and trust increasing, we have seen consumers shopping for all kinds of products on Snapdeal. Some of our fastest growing categories are fashion, lifestyle and home related categories. In future we see a huge scope in FMCG, automotive and real-estate categories as well.
Which regions/markets have proved to be most lucrative for your business?
We have seen tremendous response from tier 2 and beyond towns and cities. We currently get 70 per centof the orders from these regions.
How do you ensure that customer service is top notch, especially when you are not the one sending the product out to the customer?
Customer is at the centre of our ecosystem and we are constantly striving to offer them a great shopping experience on our platform. Our marketplace platform connects our 100,000 sellers listing products from across 500+ categories with millions of our users. Only registered businesses sell through Snapdeal platform and we take due care with regards to quality control in ensuring that only the highest quality of products are delivered to our customers. Further, TrustPay – our buyer protection service, provides our customers the assurance that in case they are not happy with the product(s) they receive, they can easily return it for suitable replacement or full refund.
Despite enormous funding, major e-tailers have failed to reach the break-even point. How does Snapdeal fare in this aspect?
E-commerce in India is still at a very nascent stage. Our current focus is on growing and building a large enterprise that creates life changing experiences for all its stakeholders including buyers and sellers.
What is your plan for the future – acquisitions, more investment?
Our aim is to build the most impactful digital commerce ecosystem in the country and we will continue to look at organic and inorganic routes to fuel this.
How much of your revenue share comes from m-commerce?
We currently get 75 per centof the overall orders via mobile based transactions. 80 per centof the orders for fashion categories come via this medium.