Tradus-logoNaspers owned Tradus has launched a location based marketplace through its touch based website in beta, located at touch.tradus.com. Check here.

We tried out the site on our touch screen handset and it allows users to either set their location through the device’s GPS locator or by entering their PIN code. Once a user sets their location, the touch based website displays only nearby results.

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For the uninitiated, Tradus is an E-Commerce marketplace that allows merchants to sell products in categories such as mobile & tablets, clothing for men, clothing for women, home decor & kitchen, footwear, among others.

Why a location based marketplace?

It’s interesting that Tradus is marketing itself as a location based marketplace. Astute readers would remember that the Foreign Direct Investment in e-commerce has not been allowed in India, but marketplaces, which merely act as a space for sellers to find buyers for the products that they are supplying, and which don’t retail their own goods, can take foreign direct investment. Since then a lot of e-commerce companies pivoted to marketplace model, leaving little space for differentiation between numerous online marketplaces.

Tradus’ new beta website appears to be offering a differentiating model allowing users to search for products from nearest located merchants. We believe it will result in quicker delivery and lower prices as shipping cost would not be much. However, as a buyer the location of the seller only matters if the buyer is going to buy the product offline. Most of the low cost online purchases are impulsive and buyers do not expect the delivery to be immediate anyway. It’s just an added incentive.

Tradus competes with other e-commerce marketplaces like eBay India, Snapdeal and Indiatimes Shopping*. Note that Naspers has also invested 858 million rand (around $102.1 million) in the e-commerce major Flipkart in return for 10% stake in the company in August 2012. Flipkart pivoted to a marketplace model in February 2013, thus directly competing with Tradus.

Disclosures apply: Check here for details.