In a significant move, online marketplace Snapdeal will open warehouses, or fulfilment centres, in 15 more cities — metros and major manufacturing hubs — over the next one year to get onboard 100,000 sellers. The e-tailer, which currently works with over 50,000 sellers and has 40 fulfilment centres in 15 cities, is likely to hit the 1-lakh mark well before the end of FY15, Snapdeal’s co-founder Rohit Bansal told FE on Wednesday.
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For Snapdeal, which has raised around $400 million, multiple acquisitions in mobile technology and analytics are high on the agenda. Discussions are under way with a number of companies and the results are likely to show soon. The company, which according to sources has already crossed the $1-billion gross merchandise value (GMV) mark, will focus on expanding its seller base and launch multiple initiatives to empower sellers. Unlike its nearest domestic rival, Flipkart, which sells its private label electronics under the Digiflip brand, Snapdeal will remain firmly rooted in providing a sale platform to merchants.
“We are actively looking at multiple acquisitions as investment in domains like mobile technology, analytics etc. We are in discussions with a lot of companies. You should expect it to come out very soon,” Rohit Bansal said. The acquisitions are in tune with Snapdeal’s intent to ramp up its mobile presence, which accounts for 60% of its orders, and to shore up its supply chain capabilities. Bansal said he sees Snapdeal getting around three-fourth of its orders from mobile phones in a year’s time.
“We are a 100% pure and unbiased marketplace. No single seller on Snapdeal accounts for more than 2% of our sales, something which no other marketplace in the country can claim,” he said.
Snapdeal has launched a slew of services for the benefit of sellers. It has enabled merchants to start selling within four hours of registration, provided them with a single window to choose courier services, introduced a seller app to help them manage their business on Snapdeal through mobile phones and, most recently, roped in banks and NBFCs to secure finances for sellers.
“Before we came in, small businesses used to see internet as a threat. We completely turned it around for them and they see us as an enabler of their businesses,” Bansal said, adding that Snapdeal will also focus on exclusive brand tie-ups and expansion of categories. “We have started to take more interest in such tie-ups. There are quite a few on the cards. We have over 500 categories and will continue to launch more.”