Tuesday 16 August 2016

A yo-yoing Shopclues shifts focus back to rural markets

Shopclues has changed tracks yet again. The leading ecommerce company has stated that it will focus on customers in the rural pockets of the country. Radhika Aggarwal, chief business officer and co-founder of the company elaborates, “Rural is our next big focus area, which is more of a B2B initiative that we kicked off recently with our partnership with StoreKing, an assisted e-commerce player with a strong rural focus.
With StoreKing, we will have access to deep rural pockets in south India with low internet penetration, such as Kollam in Kerala, Theni and Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Tumkur in Karnataka, where we will work with kirana stores, mobile recharge points and small shop owners.”
The rural market appears to be lucrative for Shopclues. According to figures available with the company, 80% of its sellers are from the tier 2 and 3 cities and nearly 70% of its orders are from these areas.

Strategic partnerships to help focus on rural India

The company has tied up with Storeking and Payworld to help promote assisted ecommerce. Assisted ecommerce is a concept where companies set up dedicated kiosks with personnel who help shoppers place their orders. This system is particularly handy in the rural areas where the populace is not well versed with technology.
The hottest categories are kitchen appliances, electronics and mobiles, and apparel. Aggarwal says, “Home & kitchen category has been the flagship category of Shopclues. Strong growth in demand from tier 2 and tier 3 cities, value-based selection and lowest prices have been the key reasons for propelling the exponential growth in the category at Shopclues.”

Backtracking on earlier stand?

Very recently, Shopclues hinted that it was not going to focus on the rural sector.Vishal Sharma, VP, operations and strategic initiatives, said, “In rural areas people are not in a hurry to buy products.” The company’s strategy indicated that they would not be interested in pushing the rural market, at least presently. Why did they do a u-turn so quickly, is it to keep pace with the biggies like Amazon, Snapdeal and Paytm who are keen on capturing the rural market?

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