(By Vivek & Vikas SN)

Once a horizontal e-commerce marketplace, Naspers-owned online marketplace seems to have pivoted to become an online grocery-only store. (Hat tip – Shubhendu Sharma).

Note that the company had started selling groceries by tying up with local sellers in April this year. Consumers could order groceries such as dal, rice, sugar, tea to dry fruits from local sellers through this service. It was initially available in Delhi, which seems to have rolled out to Mumbai and Bangalore in the past few months. 

This was after it launched a location-based marketplace in August last year, allowing users to search for products from merchants around their location.

In the current avatar, the site currently offers grocery products across various categories like dairy, poultry, sweets, groceries, dry fruits and beverages among others. The company also seems to have shifted their focus from web to mobile apps, since the web store is now hidden behind a placeholder homepage which directs users to download Tradus’s mobile apps across Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

Tradus homepage

This makes sense considering that Tradus now aims to provide products to users based on their location,which can be more accurately detected on a mobile phone than on web. Also note that most e-commerce companies are witnessing a significant contribution in mobile-based transactions and sales, due to the rising mobile data usage in India. (Also read: The Switch to mobile).

Has horizontal e-commerce segment saturated in India?

Tradus has been operational in India since 2009 when it launched with a primarily business-to-consumers and consumer-to-consumer focussed e-commerce model. The company allowed users to list products for free and charge a commision based on the type of item when sold.

Consequently, the company used to offer a large variety of products including, tablets, computer accessories, laptops and footwear among other things. The company had also acquired e-commerce portal in March last year, following which BuyThePrice’s catalogue was integrated to Tradus.

However, the competition in the horizontal e-commerce segment has significantly intensified over the past year and it is now largely seen to be a three way battle between Naspers-backed Flipkart which raised a massive $1 billion investment last month, Amazon which announced a $2 billion investment into its Indian operations and eBay-backed Snapdeal which has raised over $300 million in investments as yet, including a $100 million round in May this year.

Hence, the company has probably shifted to a niche grocery segment, although we feel groceries category are more trickier to execute, primarily due to the short shelf-life of products.

Flipkart Integration? We are a bit curious to see if there will be any integration with Flipkart in the future, considering that Naspers is a significant investor in Flipkart and the e-commerce major doesn’t have a presence in groceries yet.

Earlier this month, Flipkart had also partnered with another Naspers-backed classifieds site OLX to offer consumers discounts. Flipkart was expected to offer discounts to consumers if they choose to sell their electronic goods on OLX before purchasing its new or upgraded counterpart from them.

Other Players

Currently there are several players in the grocery delivery space and many of them raised funding in the last year. had raised $1.5 million in angel funding from Techno Group in April this year while BigBasket had raised $3 million from a private investor in the same month. In January this year, Mumbai based grocery delivery service LocalBanya had raised an undisclosed amount in Series A funding while Ekstop had raised an investment from Unilazer Ventures in return for 25% stake.

JustDial had also introduced grocery shopping in December last year while HomeShop18 had introduced groceries category last July, although the focus was on packaged non-perishable food products. Other competitors include Sabzikart, Farmfresh2home, ZopNow, Vegwala and Sabjiwalaa among others.