As competition in the Indian e-commerce space heats up, homegrown online marketplace Snapdeal aims to deliver products in just two hours from the time of placing an order by setting up 40 fulfilment centres across 15 cities to help its over 30,000 sellers.
"Snapdeal Plus service has been launched by the company as an effort to further enable businesses especially small and medium sized businesses to sell products on the marketplace platform to over 25 million Snapdeal members across 5,000-plus towns and cities in the country. Already 1,000 sellers are a part of the Snapdeal Plus service," it said in a statement.
The service will also enhance the shopping experience for customers on the site with shipping time after the order being placed for majority of the products shrinking from 24 hours to just 2 hours, it added.
The move is aimed at staying ahead of competitors like Amazon and Flipkart, both of which promise same day delivery.
The city-based firm plans to extend the 'Snapdeal Plus' service to 30 cities within this year.
The service allows sellers to stock their inventory at the nearest Snapdeal Fulfilment Centre where the orders, once placed by customers, will shipped in less than two hours.
Sellers are also provided with analytics and reports based on their past sales, which will enable them to predict the level of inventory which they need to maintain at the fulfilment centres, the statement said.
The seller continues to own his/her inventory at all times.
"Our vision is to partner with 100,000 sellers in the next 12 months and to create an ecosystem that allows businesses to sell online," Snapdeal.com co-Founder and COO Rohit Bansal said.
Indian retail sector primarily comprises of small and medium sized businesses that often do not have the necessary infrastructure, resources and know-how to process and ship products directly to customers, he added.
Snapdeal Plus will enable sellers to supply locally and sell nationally, hence expanding their reach, he added.
"Given the rapid traction we have already witnessed for this service, within the next 6 months, over 75 per cent of the orders placed on Snapdeal.com will be fulfilled through this service," Bansal said.
India's internet retail market is estimated to expand seven-fold to USD 22 billion by 2018 from current USD 3 billion.