17 May 2016 19:42 IST

Shopo: Making it big with zero commission

Snapdeal’s C2C online marketplace gives a leg up to small traders

Heena Ansari is filled to the brim with joy as she talks about her new business. Ten months ago, the 29-year-old housewife, who lives in the bustling Jamia Nagar area of Old Delhi, set up a shop for the products she handcrafts.

“Within just five days of starting my shop, I received an order for 50 handcrafted jute bags,” she recalls. Ansari, who also helps her husband run his small-time garment business and is raising two kids, is now handling business like a pro.

Her shop, named TripleSss, sells crochet and wool-made handcrafted products like jewellery, bags and accessories for women.

TripleSss runs on an online platform Shopo, earning Ansari profits of ₹500-1,000 a day.

What it is

Shopo, the app-only mobile C2C marketplace majority owned by Snapdeal, features over 1.5 lakh sellers like TripleSss, from around 800 cities.

Snapdeal has invested $100 million in the zero commission platform, which it acquired in 2013 and re-launched in in July last year.

Unlike other e-commerce marketplaces, sellers on Shopo do not have to pay the platform any commission.

Sandeep Komaravelly, Senior VP

“When we started out, we didn’t want any friction points that are present in existing online marketplaces,” Sandeep Komaravelly, Senior Vice-President of Shopo, says. “Sometimes, the commission acts as a hindrance, which is why we decided to be a zero commission marketplace so there are no complexities. All those who want to set up their shop can do so in no time. We help sellers set up their store and offer them customisation.”

So how does Shopo make money? “Monetisation will happen primarily through ad sales, which we will introduce over time,” says Komaravelly. “We believe if we could generate enough traction on the platform — accumulate enough sellers, who in turn will being in the buyers — it will bring opportunities for us to monetise through ads.”

Value additions

“We will also provide value-added services to our sellers which will be payable and that can also be a large source of monetisation.

They also aid those sellers who do not have the required logistics and payment infrastructure. “For them, we will provide integration of Freecharge wallet, which will help them transact online,” adds Komaravelly.

While Shopo will provide such assistance, the negotiation, discussions and ownership will lie solely with the sellers. “That's the fundamental difference between us and other marketplaces like Snapdeal,” he points out.

What’s different

Unlike Snapdeal, there is no catalogue, no paperwork required to set up shop on Shopo. The small-time sellers who populate the platform can define their own shop, customise and merchandise it. They can chat with potential buyers and sell their ware. Currently, the app has a catalogue of more than four million products.

According to Komaravelly, the product categories are mostly impulse-driven, non-branded and unique — things that you may otherwise find hard to get online.