One97 Communications, a New Delhi based mobile internet company will soon foray into online retail via a mobile market app, reports ET.
The company plans to go live by the month’s end, offering apparel for men, women and kids; home decor deals and accessories.
The new launch will replace the company’s existing Paytm app with the mobile market app, while retaining the name.
Why opt for Mobile platform?
The company’s decision to move into online retail segment was influenced by increasing popularity of its website which is used mainly by mobile phone users to recharge their pre-paid connections.
“We did three lakh orders (recharges, deals and tickets) on New Year’s eve from the mobile app. We do around four million orders a month from the mobile app. This means that there is a market ready to take the leap into mobile shopping,” said Paytm mobile app, Chairman and MD Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
Market opportunity in the space
According to a study by First Data Corp-ICICI Merchant Services that surveyed 4,000 smartphone users in 10 countries including India, almost four-fifths of users have at least one retailer application on their phone,
With the growing mobile app ecosystem and the continuously reducing prices of smartphones and data packages, the space currently offers a huge opportunity. However, at present the space is dominated by players like Myntra, Jabong and Flipkart.
But according to Vijay Shekhar, their mobile-first and mobile-only approach will make a difference in the market. “This is where much of the buying will happen in the future as the (Indian) market adds more than two million smartphone users every month”, he added.
One97 was launched in 2000, it provides mobile content, advertising and commerce services to millions of mobile consumers. Backed by investors like SAIF Partners, Intel Capital, SAP Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank, One97 currently has a user base of 530 Mn active users every month and executes around 1.5 Bn transactions every day on its platform.
The firm had recently acquired Bangalore based Plustxt Mobile Solutions along with the launch of new app for online bus ticketing on Android and iOS apps, by Paytm. Also, it invests in early stage mobile companies out of its own initiative, One97 Mobility Fund (OMF).
We had a word with Mr. Vijay Shekhar Sharma about One97’s foray into online retail. Here are his responses:
1. What is the main idea behind venturing into online retail?
India is mobile first country. The dominating commerce platform will be mobile commerce. We are taking the position to take on the large m-commerce opportunity. People have become very comfortable ordering and shopping online and it is a large scale market.
2. What all categories you are planning to offer?
One thing at a time, we plan to start with key categories for everyday shopping. We will offer men, women and kids catalogues.
3. Will it be a pure-play or a marketplace ecommerce play?
It is a mobile marketplace platform. We have absolutely no interest in keeping any inventories. I think the large SME population of India can offer great experience and on Paytm platform.
Paytm stands of trust and our very high NPS score of Paytm will be a trust between merchant and consumer.
4. How do you plan to compete with the existing players?
Exiting players have created baby internet sites in name of mobile strategy. They are built for internet and will try accommodating mobile in the plan. We are mobile first and mobile only platform.
Our overall experience for consumers and merchants will be very different. We plan to launch some industry first features too.
5. Why are you opting for a “Mobile only approach”?
Mobile will eat (desktop) online internet. Smartphones will overtake desktop user base in few years time. We will make sure consumer has great trust and experience of Paytm.
It also allows us to make it better than everyone else !
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