Snapdeal has launched an automobile platform called Snapdeal Motors that will let users book vehicles online. For now, two wheelers from Hero MotoCorp and compact commercial trucks from Piaggio are available on the platform. Snapdeal claims that vehicles from Mahindra, Suzuki Motorcycles and Datsun will be available soon.
Users can browse through vehicles on the platform and check specifications, booking amount, ex showroom price for the city etc. On booking a vehicle, users are prompted to select a dealership based on the delivery date or distance and pay the booking amount online. The user then has to call the dealer to get further details, post which they can visit the store and pick up the vehicle.
Dependence on dealership: While this initiative is interesting and makes it easier to book bikes, a user is still required to pick up the vehicle physically and has to report to the offline dealer for documentation and other formalities. So we don’t imagine this move will cause offline dealers any heartache, instead it should help them gain business through the online medium. The platform also offers users an option to get approval for loans and is currently providing a free insurance with bikes as a diwali offer. As of now, it lists 2 Piaggio commercial trucks and 23 Hero bikes including variants.
Other than this, Snapdeal claims it will eventually provide users with a ‘Test Drive at Home’ as well as a ‘Doorstep delivery’ option. As of now, users can also pick multiple colour variants of the vehicle, make a booking and select financing options online. Note that while some other services, like CarDekho, Vicky.in and Bikewale etc., provide car and bike comparison, ex-showroom prices and even a purchasing platform for spares, none provide services to actually book a new vehicle online. It will be interesting to see if Snapdeal can eventually sell vehicles without involving dealers, and disrupt the heavily offline vehicle dealership vertical.
Alibaba’s stake in Snapdeal :
Last month Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba got an approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to buy 4.14% stake in Snapdeal. The company had raised $500 million in funding led by Foxconn, Alibaba and existing investors, in August. Reportedly, at that time, Foxconn’s FIH Mobile had picked up a 4.27% stake for $200 million.
Other developments :
– In October, Snapdeal introduced Janus, a multi channel platform where users can discover, buy, same day local delivery and get value added services at a store near them.
– The same month, Snapdeal invested $20 million in logistics firm GoJavas to further enhance its supply chain and logistics. It had picked up a minority stake in the company for an undisclosed amount in March this year.
– In July, the company launched Shopo, a zero commission mobile marketplace targeted at small and medium businesses (SMBs), which would combine chat and commerce on smartphones.
– In September, Snapdeal invested in PepperTap, the Gurgaon-based hyperlocal grocery service.