Amazon, Flipkart,Snapdeal Update


BENGALURU: E-commerce majors Amazon and Flipkart have more than doubled warehouse or fulfillment space as more and more sellers come on board to benefit from the online shopping boom in the country.
The online marketplace companies have together rented about 3.6 million sq ft of warehouse space in the country, half of which was added in 2015 alone. “We have 21FCs across 10 states with a total of over 2 million-square-feet of space. This is the largest storage capacity and warehouse infrastructure created by any ecommerce company for sellers across India,” said Akhil Saxena, director operations, Amazon India.
Amazon India added 13 new FCs in 2015, almost doubling storage capacity to nearly 5 million cubic feet. The US-headquartered company launched its biggest fulfilment centre (warehouse) in Kothur, Mahbubnagar district, in the middle of last year, spread over 2,80,000 sq ft.
“We have seen significant traction from SMEs across the country and are witnessing over 250% growth in sellers y-o-y. This infrastructure buildup has helped thousands of sellers reach millions of new customers across the country and has enabled us to offer faster and quicker delivery of products to more pin codes,” said Gopal Pillai, director – seller services, Amazon India.
Flipkart, on the other hand, took it total warehouse space to 1.6 million sq ft by the end of 2015, and has also set up its largest fulfilment centre in the country at Gundla Pochampally, on the outskirt of Hyderabad. Spread over 220,000 sq ft and with a storage capacity of 589,000 cubic feet, this is Flipkart’s 17th warehouse in the country.
The company plans to invest $300-500 million over the next five years to set up warehouses across India. “The company currently operates 16 warehouses and plans to add 50-100 warehouses over the next four-five years. It currently has eight million shipments and over 50 million registered users on the platform,” said a spokesperson for EKART, the logistics arm of Flipkart. Flipkart is targeting sales worth $10 billion on its platform by the end of 2016.
In Q3 of 2015, active customers on Amazon.in grew over 230% year-over-year. In the same quarter, Amazon saw about 500% y-o-y growth in terms of units and over 300% growth in gross merchandise sales (GMS). “In terms of GMS, Q4 of 2015 was equal to that of entire 2014. The 2015 festive season was the biggest ever for us in terms of revenues, unit sales, new customers as well as mobile adoption,” Pillai said.
India’s warehousing sector is reaching an inflection point and is expected to take a leap once the goods and services tax (GST) is introduced, according to JLL India, a real estate consultancy firm. Apart from GST, ecommerce is expected to significantly drive demand for warehouses in the near future.
“Nearly 25% of the total warehouse absorption is being taken up by ecommerce players, the biggest demand driver for the sector so far. Warehousing is seeing higher supply of organised Grade-A and B warehouses,” said Nirav Kothary, head, industrial services, JLL India
Snapdeal to add new features to improve user experience
PUNE: After redesigning the website 10 days ago, Snapdeal is adding new features aimed at improving the user experience further. These include product selfies, enhanced order-tracking and a new ‘my order’ page.
“The product has been redesigned to improve the overall information architecture,” said Anand Chandrasekaran, chief product officer. The ‘product selfie’ allows users to post a picture of themselves with the product. “We have had a phenomenal response to it so far as customers get to see actual people using the product,” he said adding that it may influence more purchases.
This is among measures taken by SoftBank-backed company to enhance the consumer and seller experience over the last six-seven months. It has used technology extensively to improve efficiency. For instance, the company claims that delivery times have been brought down by 70-75% in the past year on account of investments in logistics company GoJavas. It has also introduced refunds based on the Immediate Payment Service (IMPS).
“Since September 2015, 93% of refunds are being done within 30 minutes. It has been integrated with the wallet on the back-end to make the whole experience seamless for the customer,” Chandrasekharan said. Snapdeal is also in the process of rolling out its multi-lingual interface, having done so for eight out of 12 languages.
“Though it’s not a major part of sales yet, we are seeing people switching from English to regional languages where the option exists,” he said.
In addition to this, there have been smaller launches like SnapLite, which enables users with slow network connections to access a lighter version of the website that launches in a quarter of the time. Snapsearch allows users to upload pictures and find similar products on the website.
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