The online retail sector in India is becoming a battleground and all the big players are devising new ways to attract the most number of users. Hardly a week after Flipkart launched ‘Flipkart Assured’, followed by Amazon India’s flagship service Amazon Prime, now Snapdeal has launched a new service for their customers: ‘Snapdeal Gold’.
Snapdeal Gold, which is applicable only for prepaid orders, is a move in the direction of reducing CoD payments, which have always been a pain point for ecommerce due to logistics charges.
Commenting on the launch, Rohit Bansal, co-founder, Snapdeal said, “Our team met over 10,000 customers across the country to identify the key services they desire from ecommerce companies. Snapdeal Gold has been designed to fulfil those needs.
According to an official statement, it is a free service which needs no registration. It is available anytime a user pays for the purchase through Net Banking, Credit/Debit card, EMI or wallet at the time of booking the order, while Amazon charges $7.4 (INR 499) annually.
The features of this service include next-day free delivery in select areas, and standard free delivery everywhere else. Also, returns can be made in 14 days instead of the usual seven days. For every order placed, the algorithm will detect the orders for which payment is done online, and those orders are automatically upgraded. Orders placed with cash-on-delivery do not get this offer.
Bansal also added, “The most important thing is that there is no catch and no membership fee–anytime you use your credit/debit card, netbanking, EMI or wallet for payment, we automatically upgrade your order to Snapdeal Gold. We are confident that Snapdeal Gold will raise the bar for digital commerce experience in India. This unique offering is yet another milestone towards our mission of building India’s most reliable and frictionless digital commerce ecosystem.”
Currently, Snapdeal offers next day delivery across 104 Indian cities.
In 2014, Flipkart had launched ‘Flipkart First’—a subscription-based service modelled after Amazon Prime—for select sellers, products and pincodes, with standard policies on returns and replacements.
When Jabong was acquired by the Myntra-Flipkart alliance, Snapdeal seems to be taking its competition very seriously. In the run-up to Diwali, Snapdeal has announced $30 Mn (INR 200 Cr) spend for marketing campaign over the next 60 days.
Snapdeal has been focussing on cutting costs and getting its loss-making model right, lately. In this direction, it decided to shut Exclusively, its online platform for premium and luxury fashion goods that it acquired 18 months ago. Last month, it also cut down the sellers’ commissions. In February this year, it also asked 200 of its employees in its consumer service department to improve their performance or head out.
Meanwhile, Amazon India opened its biggest Fulfillment Centre in Sonipat near New Delhi in July, clearly signalling that the competition will only get tougher this Diwali. A month before that, it invested $200 Mn in its Indian unit.