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Snapdeal doubling down on these sellers to become dominant e-commerce portal for India’s hinterland

Sandeep Soni

E-commerce marketplace for value products — Snapdeal is ensuring its strategy to bypass wholesalers and retailers (in the existing channel of selling products online to customers) and allow manufacturers to tap customers directly pays off. The company, having announced last month its plans to add 5,000 more such manufacturer-sellers, has now opened 15 new logistics centres at the industrial clusters located in 10 cities in India. Snapdeal said the new centres will help such sellers manage the delivery of growing online orders, particularly placed by customers based in cities and towns beyond metros given the rise of e-commerce in tier-II and smaller cities where Snapdeal focuses on.

These new centres are located in Ahmedabad, Surat, Jaipur, Indore, Hyderabad, Panipat, Gurugram, Mumbai, Bengaluru and New Delhi. The majority of upcoming manufacturer-sellers on Snapdeal produce daily use products such as steel and copper utensils, kitchen gadgets like juicers and atta dough makers and fashion accessories including watches and wallets in the manufacturing or industrial clusters. In Delhi, Snapdeal, for instance, has opened centres in such clusters located in Kirti Nagar, Patparganj and Okhla, while in Mumbai it is located at Reay Road and Chandra Layout in Bengaluru. 

Snapdeal said the new centres will facilitate faster movement of goods as manufacturers will be able to ship products directly from the centres. There would also be dedicated facilities to make products in these centres along with packaging them and online tracking of orders in transit by the manufacturers. "Through our deep presence inside these manufacturing clusters we now offer doorstep pick-ups from the factories," a Snapdeal spokesperson said in a statement.

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The untapped market beyond urban India holds potentially 400 million new e-commerce users who believe in buying value-for-money products if available online apart from their traditional local markets. Snapdeal has nearly 5 lakh sellers listing more than 200 million product listings and it delivers to over 26,000 pin codes.

The value-conscious e-commerce market in India had ShopClues as its earlier leading player before Snapdeal forayed into it as its 2.0 strategy following its failed merger with Flipkart in 2017. ShopClues, which was once valued over $1 billion was sold to Singapore-based e-commerce firm Qoo10 last year for reportedly less than $100 million indicating it to be a distressed asset sale amid the dominance of market leaders including Amazon and Flipkart that are also focused on getting onboard the next set of online customers.