Snapdeal Aims To Alter India's M-Commmerce Landscape

by Kunal Bahl, CEO, Snapdeal    Apr 09, 2015

kunal

To begin with, I extend a very warm welcome to the rockstars in the FreeCharge team as they are now an integral part of the Snapdeal family; it is our pleasure to have such an incredibly innovative and smart entrepreneurial team become an integral part of our journey. FreeCharge is Digital India’s truly “Made in India” innovation.

My tryst with FreeCharge began with the friendship I share with the very dynamic and enterprising founder & CEO of FreeCharge, Kunal Shah. We’ve known each other from the days when he was running a mail-in rebate program business and we were running a physical coupon book business. His business was called PaisaBack and ours was called MoneySaver. Given the kind of people we are, it isn’t much of a surprise that 7 years later, our respective businesses still have a strong inclination towards delivering value to end consumers: FreeCharge and Snapdeal.

The digital commerce industry is undergoing a tectonic transformation; the era of monolithic platforms is over. Not very dissimilar from Facebook’s “clan of apps” approach of having multiple apps to own a significant number of use cases of social interactions in the digital world, in the world of digital commerce, we will need a similar ecosystem approach. In a world where the amount of real estate available on the primary device for conducting digital commerce – the smartphone – is quite limited, consumers are seeking apps with relatively specialized use cases. Saying that you offer everything inside one app just means to the user that you don’t stand for providing a best-in-class or market-winning experience in anything.

Hence, Snapdeal’s vision is to create India’s most impactful digital commerce ecosystem that creates life-changing experiences for buyers and sellers. This would involve offering consumers the widest choices of products and services at great value and convenience, through specialized apps, so that we can bring a large part of the consumption basket of any customer online. No longer is the potential of digital commerce only to move a % of the $500 billion retail industry online. It goes much beyond that. We need to leverage our platforms to bring efficiency in marketing distribution of over $1.4 trillion of consumption that happens in India.

And what lies between retail and consumption are spends like financial services (RupeePower.com, now part of our family), utilities (FreeCharge), digital goods (FreeCharge), education, healthcare, etc.FreeCharge is a leading mobile commerce platform where users can pay their mobile, DTH and utility payments across major operators, and already has millions of digital wallets, and tens of millions of transactions every month.

FreeCharge is loved by its users and enjoys one of the highest customer engagements among all customer-facing brands in the country. I’ve personally been a FreeCharge user and its fan for a few years now; I love the user interface and the simplicity of experience it provides to its customers.

With 75 million mobile recharges done in India every day by a subset of the 800 million mobile phone subscribers in India, and only 3 million of these being done online, the headroom opportunity for FreeCharge is simply incredible. It is a very realistic scenario that within the next few years, every single day, tens of millions of mobile top-ups in India will happen online. The potential is absolutely stunning.

FreeCharge currently does 85% of its transactions on mobile while 75% transactions on Snapdeal are driven through this channel. The combination of high velocity of new and repeat customer transactions on FreeCharge and giving access to the widest selection of products on Snapdeal to these users will enable us to build the most impactful digital commerce ecosystem in India that powers billions of digital commerce transactions in the country in the coming years.

Snapdeal and FreeCharge combined together represent the largest mCommmerce company in India. Numbers and synergies aside, I’m super excited by the very complimentary entrepreneurial passion and energy that the FreeCharge team brings to this partnership and very optimistic of game-changing events for digital commerce in India that we will drive together in the near future.