Indian e-commerce firm Snapdeal is to invest $100 million in a mobile-only platform aimed at small and medium sized businesses that are typically shut out from larger retail portals.
Launched in July, the mobile-only platform is called Shopo and has already gained significant traction, said Snapdeal co-founder and CEO Kunal Bahl.
“We launched Shopo in mid-July and we already have 20,000 shops on the platform. The response we have got, only from word of mouth, is overwhelming,” he told Press Trust of India (PTI). The aim is to have one million shops on Shopo by next year.
The site enables sellers to register their products without submitting documents and avoiding lengthy authentication processes.
India is seeing a convergence between payments and commerce sites. Rival Paytm launched a zero-commission mobile marketplace app for small businesses earlier this year. In retaliation, Snapdeal bought m-payments firm FreeCharge for $450 million to better compete with Paytm.
The new funds are intended to further extend the Shopo brand, said the CEO. “Over the next two years, we will invest about $100 million in ramping up technology and brand building. We are also working on a community of ‘Shopo angels’ to drive consumer engagement,” he added.
Entrepreneurs can list their products without having to pay a commission to Snapdeal for the sale.
“Sellers can use our logistics and payment gateways, just like they would use any other courier service. It is just about making the seller experience a hassle-free one,” Mr Bahl said.