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Snapdeal launches multi channel platform Janus; offline collaboration

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Ecommerce player Snapdeal has introduced Janus, a multi channel platform where users can discover, buy, same day local delivery and get value added services such as demos, installation, activation and returns at a store near them. At launch, these services will be available for mobile phones, tyres, home appliances and fashion apparel categories in partnership with The Mobile Store, Michelin, Luminous and Shoppers Stop.

Kunal Bahl, Co-founder and CEO of Snapdeal said that Janus would “blur the lines between online and offline retail and act as gateways to each other”. The company’s press statement said that studies indicated the switching between online and offline by consumers, before making purchase decisions.

Snapdeal’s partnerships with the above mentioned companies will allow users to buy phones on Snapdeal, with the option to pick them up or get them delivered from the nearest The Mobile Store (TMS) shop within 2 hours of ordering. TMS agents will deliver services like SIM resizing, data transfer and screen guard installation at the user’s house, across 70 cities in India. Snapdeal plans to add more services to its repertoire.

According to Snapdeal’s cited statistics, 77% of consumers browsed in stores before making a purchase online, and 55% consumers conducted on-the-go mobile research before making a purchase in store. Snapdeal aims at fulfilling a user’s needs of post purchase services like data transfer, screen guards etc when it comes to mobile phones. Snapdeal currently claims to have over 15 million products across 500 categories and 200,000 sellers, who deliver to over 5,000 cities and towns in India.

Flipkart’s offline centres for pick up and VAS
Note that in July, its rival Flipkart had launched 20 centres across 10 cities in India, in conjunction with its logistics partner Ekart, where users could pick up their products from. Flipkart said that it ventured into this supply chain because of user unavailability and accessibility issues in IT parks, gated communities etc. Flipkart planned to offer value added services like instant returns, spot trials, open box deliveries and product demos to the centres in the near future, with plans to plans to establish 100 such centres by March 2016. The company also planned to expand its rural reach (Tier 4 towns) by reportedly making the town servicable from a pick up centre.

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Shopo investment
Note that earlier this month, Snapdeal said it would be investing $100 million in Shopo, its mobile marketplace for small businesses, stating that the platform already had 20,000 businesses. Launched in July, Shopo is a zero commission mobile marketplace targeting small and medium businesses which combines chat and commerce on smartphones. Snapdeal claims that it does not take any fees and allows SMBs to list their products in a single step.

Snapdeal invests in grocery delivery startup PepperTap
Late last month, Snapdeal invested in PepperTap, the Gurgaon-based hyperlocal grocery service, with PepperTap’s existing investors Sequoia India and SAIF Partners, with participation from new investors Ru-net, JAFCO, and BeeNext. The funding would help PepperTap make use of Snapdeal’s experience to develop its stores’ capabilities and grow sales.

In August, the ecommerce marketplace raised $500 million in funding led by Foxconn, Alibaba and existing investor Softbank, with participation from other existing investors Temasek, BlackRock, Myriad and PremjiInvest. Snapdeal planned to expand its geographical reach and enhance its services with the funding.

HDFC Bank tie up for co-branded credit card
In the same month, HDFC Bank tied up with Snapdeal to launch a co-branded credit card aimed at encouraging Snapdeal’s customers from Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets to adapt to digital payments. Snapdeal said that over 70% of its customers were from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities but a majority of them opted for cash-on-delivery, while only a minuscule adopted digital payment methods.

Our Snapdeal coverage here.

Image Credit: Flickr user Clive Darra

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