Shopo charges no fees or commission for use of its platform, and lets small businesses and individuals set up an online shop instantly through its app, available on Android and iOS. The app lets buyers and sellers interact with each other through the platform. Buyers can strike a bargain with the seller on chat, sellers can make time-bound offers and transact offline. The app tries to replicate the offline buying experience.
The company claims it has hosted over 30,000 listings in the last month while they’ve been testing the platform, with a new listing getting added every five seconds.
“To be a seller on Snapdeal there are basic requirements, where organised merchants can sell. We’ve had to turn away 450,000 potential sellers over the last three years. We realised that we cannot miss out on that opportunity.” said Snapdeal CEO Kunal Bahl, at the press conference announcing the launch. “We believe that Shopo is the easiest way to set up a shop online. It takes less than 30 seconds to set up a shop online. We will have a very interesting selection of products on the platform, it’s personalised on a location standpoint.” he added.
Bahl said that the two use cases for Snapdeal and Shopo are very different. “There are two types of users buying online – one type clearly knows what they want to buy, those intent driven purchases are best provided by the catalogue driven platform. Let’s take the example of buying from Lajpat market, often we do not know what we want. It makes us discover products that we otherwise may not have found.” he said.
“Shopo has a simple registration process for sellers, and once you’re in, you will see an incredible collection of hand-curated products. Once you’ve created a listing, you can very easily use social media platforms to get the word out. It’s the chat part of the product that builds the trust. In the process, you can do actions like make an offer, rate the buyer or seller.” said Anand Chandrasekharan, Chief Product Officer at Snapdeal.
Commenting on the app-only move by Flipkart, and whether Snapdeal was likely to do the same, Chandrasekharan said that users should be able to consume an experience however they want to consume it. “It’s important that these decisions are made in the real world, not in some echo chamber. I’ve had conversations with so many of my family members who have done entire months of shopping without downloading the app. Also, in India, you have a huge problem with memory on smartphones. The biggest source of uninstalls is due to limited memory. In that kind of a world, to mandate that your app must always be on the phone is in our opinion inconveniencing the user. From our perspective, we’d rather inconvenience our employers than our users.”
Paytm, backed by China’s Alibaba group had launched a similar marketplace in India in April this year, which was based on a zero-commission model. Instead the app makes a commission when the user transfers money earned outside of the service.
Founded in 2010, Snapdeal is valued over a billion dollars based on their last funding round in May. The company rolled out a redesign last week on its website and mobile apps.