JustDial, the mobile and online business listings business, plans to offer its merchants the ability to deliver products purchased from its marketplace in the next quarter, its Founder and CEO VSS Mani revealed on the company’s conference call. Responding to a query about whether JustDial intends to provide logistics and warehousing for small businesses, Mani said that “that is Phase-II of JD shop front which will get launched in the next quarter, and you would see that anybody and everybody can set a shop and deliver their products anywhere. We personally feel that there are enough and good logistic companies in place. We can always recommend it to the vendors, but we would not want to get into the logistic side of the business. We will only guide them to the best players in this space who can actually deliver their goods and even do cash on delivery.”
Next Stage: Nationwide Marketplace
At present, JustDial’s “Search Plus” allows visitors to do table reservations at restaurants, order food, book doctor appointments, get flowers delivered, laundry pickup, grocery shopping and pharmacy supplies, among other things. Here the target is largely local vendors, and the site search allows users to sort these results based on location, distance, user ratings and price. Users can then click on the ‘Buy Now’ button on their preferred product listing, provide the delivery address, enter the code sent by JustDial to their mobile phone and make the payment.
Mani believes that merchants have two types of requirements: in large cities, in the branded space, the preference of both the buyer and the vendor is to stick to the city that he operates, which is what Search Plus is addressing right now. The second requirement is more product purchase oriented: “In the non-branded goods space, the merchant doesn’t mind customers from different parts of the country,” he said. The ability of merchants to fulfill a particular order right now might be dependent on their proximity from the buyer, but for wider reach, it will need logistics players.
What does this mean? It’s a model that is similar to the marketplace model being adopted by many e-commerce companies. JustDial built its base using the local search model, and acquired both merchants and visitors. They have merchants and they have visitors who need to connect with those merchants.
So far, the business has been about generating leads for merchants to close, but the next two stages in their evolution from a listings business to a marketplace and a transactions model is firstly enabling payments (which they have done), and next, enabling delivery. With the number of marketplaces being launched in India, SME’s have never had more options for online sales. This is why there’s a market for services that are making it easier for them to create catalogs of their products, and list them on multiple marketplaces.