Smile Group’s BeStylish.com is no longer an online footwear store. Following in the footsteps of Yebhi.com, Bestylish has also become an aggregator of products. The site now aggregates fashion and lifestyle products (not just footwear) from other e-commerce platforms like Flipkart, Myntra and Jabong, and redirects shoppers to the sites to buy the products.
Its worth noting that last year in July, BeStylish had pivoted from an inventory based model to a martketplace model. The company started sourcing products directly from offline merchants to sell on its site, without any inventory of its own. What’s even more interesting is that BeStylish co-founder Abhishek Lal had told Techcircle that the company would now be increasingly focusing only on lesser known brands, as compared to its brand-focused avatar earlier. That approach appears to have changed rather quickly.
At the time of its pivot, BeStylish was also operating as a facilitator of online sales for offline retailers and lesser-known brands. It was acting as a platform between merchants and e-commerce marketplaces like eBay, Naaptol, and Tradus among others. But as we had pointed out scaling such a business model would’ve been difficult, considering that these offline retailers could easily have later directly signed up with these marketplaces and not require BeStylish’s assistance.
Though it isn’t clear why BeStylish decided to switch to the aggregation model, offline retailers (the site’s primary focus group) moving to other e-commerce platforms seems to be the most likely reason.
Merchants being wooed by e-commerce majors
The three leading e-commerce platforms in India, Flipkart, Amazon India and Snapdeal, have been consciously wooing more sellers to their platforms. Snapdeal launched its fulfillment platform called SafeShip for sellers listing their products on the site last year in June. It provided sellers with warehousing, logistics, liaison with courier companies among others. Flipkart launched its fulfillment service for third party merchants called ‘Flipkart Advantage’ last month. Products tagged with the Flipkart Advantage badge are quality checked, stocked and shipped by Flipkart, and come with the company’s 30 day return policy, as compared to the existing 10 day return policy for third party merchants.
Last month, the year-old Flipkart Marketplace also started offering sellers on its platform access to easy loans through lending partners Capital Float and Lendingkart. Earlier this year, Amazon India had opened its third fulfillment centre in Chennai (other two are in Bangalore and Mumbai) and announced plans of opening four more in Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Tauru (near Gurgaon). However, currently Amazon India is tangled in a dispute with the Karnataka government’s commercial tax department over its fulfillment service.