E-Commerce company Snapdeal has launched a new initiative called ‘Brand Stores’, which allows brands to create their own mini stores on Snapdeal.com.

What does it offer? Brands can sign up on SellonSnapdeal.com by providing requisite information like name, contact details, company name, product category, and the company type (manufacturer, importer, trader, distributor, and retailer) and list their products for retail in their own mini stores following registration. Snapdeal claims to offer access to its 18 million customer base across more than 4000 towns and cities in the country.

The company said that brands will also be able to run promotions, customize the page layout and content, participate in in-site promotions and conduct product launches in its mini stores, while Snapdeal employees will be managing the customer support for these brand stores. Brands can choose to opt for a forwarding/courier service of its own or provided by SnapDeal, but it’s not clear if SnapDeal will charge extra for it.

Tie-ups: At launch, Snapdeal says that it has signed up with brands like MicromaxW for Woman and Slazenger who have setup their own mini shops on Snapdeal.com. However, we also noticed that the company has arranged majority of its products on Snapdeal.com based on the respective brand, available through a new ‘brand store’ tab on the website. Users can select any brand of their preference to view all the products from that specific brand. Among the brands listed on the portal include Apple, Canon, Dell, Giorgio Armani, Reebok, and Ray-Ban among others.

While there is a slight difference in layout between brand stores like Micromax and regular brand pages like Apple, since Micromax has the ability to run promotions on the page and customize the page layout, we noticed that all the three brand stores mentioned above, look quite similar. Hence we are not quite sure of the extent to which brands can customize these pages.

Pricing: When we checked the website, Snapdeal was allowing brands to sign up and list their products for free, however the brand will have to pay a commission fee for each product it sells. At the time of writing this article, there seems to be no limit to the number of products a brand can list in its shop, however, there is no information on the commission fee charged by Snapdeal. The company claims on its website that the commission fee will be nominal.

No Custom Domain Support: It is also worth noting that the products will be available on the Snapdeal website itself, rather than a custom domain chosen by the brand. So it’s not essentially an e-commerce platform but a possible way for Snapdeal to reach out to offline brands and retailers who are looking to have a good web presence and become a facilitator for their online sales, thereby creating an additional revenue channel for the company.

Similar developments: Earlier in the year, eBay India was doing something similar, where it was bringing onboard popular offline brands and retailers and had signed up offline merchants like Fabindia, Bata, Catwalk and Hidesign to improve its lifestyle offering. However, it was more of a eBay-driven initiative while Snapdeal one looks to be a brand-driven initiative.

Besides this, several e-commerce portals including Myntra, Flipkart, Jabong and Yebhi already offer brand-specific profiles, which allows users to browse through products from that specific brand. Although these brands are chosen by the respective e-commerce portals and there is currently no direct way to apply to get listed in these e-commerce portals.

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