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E-commerce marketplace ShopClues has introduced a new wholesale section on its site, enabling users to purchase products in bulk at wholesale prices.

The focus here seems to be bulk buyers or small retailers who typically source products from wholesale retailers and sell them in their respective local markets. Through this platform, wholesale retailers essentially get an opportunity to offer their products for bulk online purchase without worrying about fulfilment and logistics while small retailers possibly get a better range of products.

Note that there are B2B marketplaces like IndiaMART and TradeIndia already, however these primarily works on a listing based model and doesn’t facilitate the entire transaction, which ShopClues seems to be addressing through this initiative.

The company says this platform will allow wholesale merchants to offer products through their own branded online storefront while ShopClues will act as a facilitator by taking care of the technology, marketing, merchandizing, cataloguing, payment, fulfilment and customers support services. All products bought and sold are also covered by ShopClues’ buyer protection policy.

Wholesale Product Formats & Pricing

The site currently offers whole sale products through two formats – minimum order quantity and fixed lot.

With minimum order quality format, buyers will have to purchase a minimum number of products set by the merchant or higher. The minimum order quantity is 10 by default and ShopClues says it doesn’t allow merchants to go below 10, however we did notice products listings where the product limit is set lower. For instance, Nokia Lumia smartphones have a limit of 3 smartphones per order while Nokia Asha 308 has a limit of 5 phones per order.

ShopClues Wholesale

With fixed lot format, merchants offer a fixed quantity of any specific product and buyers will have an option to purchase the entire lot or not.

While the site claims to offer these products at the lowest prices through this section, we checked few products being offered on the site and noticed that they are selling for a lower price elsewhere. More interestingly, ShopClues itself is offering these products for lower prices in its regular marketplace section.

For instance, Nokia Lumia 520 is being offered for Rs 8,754 on the wholesale site, while it is available for Rs 7,768 on Flipkart, Rs 7,787 on Amazon India and Rs 7,555 in ShopClues’s regular marketplace.

Clues Club membership: Buyers who intend to purchase products from this section will also have to sign up for a Clues Club annual membership which is currently priced at Rs 999 per year. As a introductory offer, the company has waived off the membership fee for members who have registered before the end of 2014 (December 31,2014).

No Cash On Delivery: Also worth noting is Cash On Delivery payment option will not be available on these products, although other payment options like credit & debit card and net banking will be available. The shipments will also take longer than regular shipments (around 7-10 days) since these will be delivered through land transport.

Last April, online home decor portal Zansaar had also launched its wholesale channel called Zansaar Bulk Buy, through which it is selling home and world food products at wholesale prices.

US retail giant Walmart is also reportedly looking to set up an e-commerce marketplace in India. The marketplace is expected to initially serve wholesale customers, thereby acting as an extension of its wholesale store business. It is expected to go live in the next three to four months.