'We Aim To Create A Million Entrepreneurs And Empower Thousands Of SMBs'
Snapdeal says its vision is to create India’s most impactful digital commerce ecosystem that builds life-changing experiences for its buyers and sellers
A lot goes on behind the curtains for any venture to be successful. In this case there is over a million square feet of warehousing, a quarter million sellers and endless products to be shipped, all working together to create the online marketplace Snapdeal.
BW Businessworld caught up with Vishal Chadha, Senior Vice-President, Market Development at Snapdeal to talk about what the company is doing for its ever-growing pool of sellers and the backend.
The seller ecosystem is the backbone of any marketplace. How has Snapdeal been assisting its merchants to get access to capital?
Snapdeal’s vision is to create India’s most impactful digital commerce ecosystem that builds life-changing experiences for its buyers and sellers. We aim to create a million entrepreneurs and empower thousands of SMBs across India. Sellers form an important part of our ecosystem and we want to bring them up to speed with the e-commerce revolution and tell them how to derive benefits from.We have been taking various steps towards this.
In the last 6 months, we have changed the experience of online entrepreneurship for our sellers with a string of enabling initiatives led by Capital Assist Programme. Since July 2015, this facility has been assisting e-commerce merchants in meeting their working capital requirement. The program has benefitted over 1000 SMB’s with loans amounting to more than Rs. 250 crore.
The impressive success of this program in helping our SME seller partners to access capital on easy terms has convinced many banks including State Bank of India to tie up with us.
Within the site what provisions are there to help sellers operate within the ecosystem?
We have Sherpalo, which is a new platform for the seller to manage his online business on Snapdeal. This provides a single window access to all seller services like onboarding, training, product listing, inventory, order and returns management, advertising, third party services, capital assistance and help centre, enabling sellers to manage their businesses even better, leading to higher business growth, liquidity and profitability.
Other initiatives include the Snapdeal Professional Services Panel which provides our sellers with instant access to third party empaneled service providers in the areas of tax registration, photography, cataloguing, business consulting and outsourcing support.
Then there is the SD Advisor which helps us to increase the level of engagement and hand holding for established or new sellers, Snapdeal Plus, which helps sellers with order management and last-mile delivery warehousing and the Snapdeal Ads platform which provides sellers and brands the ability to launch promotional campaigns via online advertisements. Additionally, Snapdeal’s seller zone application is helping sellers manage their inventory and orders on mobile.
Are there any initiatives that have particularly geared towards improving backend efficiency?
Snapdeal is adopting different routes to create an ecosystem that enables businesses to have a seamless experience of online selling. The company has already committed $200 million towards building a digital ecosystem for SMBs in India. A large part of this investment has been made towards the training of sellers, providing them working capital and strengthening Snapdeal’s supply chain services to remove logistical challenges for them.
Are there any particular programs to familiarise sellers with the e-commerce set up and help them understand and operate in the system?
We have the SD Advisor Program that I’ve mentioned. This was launched last year and has increased the level of engagement and guidance for every seller with us, acting as a personal guide. Each Seller, whether at the beginning of his journey to start selling on Snapdeal or an established Snapdeal seller, is now supported by this
SD Wings is another such initiative. Wings is an assisted services model providing end-to-end operational support to propel a seller’s online business.
The guiding principle behind introducing these initiatives is our promise of ‘Online Business Made Easy’.
We will continue to innovate and to offer more programs designed to simplify how entrepreneurs sell on Snapdeal and to boost their sales.
What are the benefits one would get as a seller on Snapdeal?
On Snapdeal, small and medium scale sellers can experience a seamless and easy process, by registering online and selling in a matter of minutes to a large consumer base. To aid sellers who are engaging with the online retail medium for the first time, we have dedicated on-ground seller business development and channel sales teams that ensure that a trusted advisor meets and takes them through the initial journey from registering to listing.
Snapdeal is taking care of warehousing, order management, product deliveries and provide easy financing to enable them to do business online seamlessly. On the infrastructure front, Snapdeal has made huge investments in the warehousing space and has added 1.3 million square feet across 63 fulfilment centres in 25 cities. These are utilised to manage huge stocks, conduct due diligence and quality checks before the products are being dispatched to the customers. Hence, the sellers at Snapdeal have the ease of doing business online with a direct market access.
What are the biggest challenges on this front at the moment?
The game is evolving from just being about acquiring merchants to staying relevant and continuously adding value for sellers on the marketplace. It is not difficult to get new sellers on board as of now as long as your brand proposition and promise is absolutely clear.
At the moment, Snapdeal has reached its target of 2.5 lakh sellers and is on track to achieve its target of 1 million successful online entrepreneurs.