E-commerce company ShopClues is going the Paytm way, but with a different focus.
The company on Tuesday launched Reach – a services that will enable merchants who are not on Shopclues’ platform to make digital payments. Recently, Paytm also launched a point-of-sale feature on its app, mainly targetting roadside vendors and those who do not have point of sale machines .
ShopClues, however, wants to focus on small shops with no more than five employees, and those who transact offline. “We are not going after the chai wala (tea stalls) and vegetable monger… Our intention is to go after a large number of offline merchants,” said Sanjay Sethi, co-founder and CEO, ShopClues.
This will allow ShopClues, which already has half a million merchants (most of them are small shopkeepers) on its platform, to attract more merchants from smaller towns and cities, especially where card-swiping machines are hard to come by.
While less than a million shops in India have swiping machines, most of them are concentrated in bigger cities.
The new service will allow merchants to send a message to buyers at the store with a link. Once the buyer clicks on the link, it gets connected with a payments gateway, where all digital payments – credit and debit cards, mobile wallets and net banking – are accepted. But an internet connection is mandatory.
ShopClues, however, does not want to launch an offline model like others. Paytm is working on a feature phone-based application, while MobiKwik has already launched one.
“We want to reach out to people who don’t buy or sell on ShopClues, and you don’t need a wallet to pay,” Sethi said.
A big change considering that since ShopClues came into existence in 2010, it has only served merchants who listed products on its platform.
”Once merchants use the platform for receiving money, they will slowly list their products,” Sethi said. “Once the products are listed they will use the site’s ad platform, take loans and use its inventory management services.”
The Reach feature will also help large merchants on ShopClues to find smaller ones and sell to them. For a company like ShopClues, which sells products in the unstructured low-price category, organising the supply chain (creating demand and supply) helps in mobilising large number of transaction, Sethi added.