Right now the 3 biggest online retailers in India are Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon. Until Amazon began to make a significant mark in India, it was mostly Flipkart and Snapdeal that ruled the roost. Among Flipkart and Snapdeal, Snapdeal was my personal favourite because Flipkart wouldn’t ship items to where I lived (it happened to be that I mostly purchased expensive items those days). Consequently, I purchased my mobile phone from Snapdeal and I also purchased the iPad for my daughter from Snapdeal. Even the printer that I have was purchased on Snapdeal. So obviously it’s surprising to know that Snapdeal has registered a loss of Rs. 3316 crore in the year ended 31 March 2016. Compared to 2015, this is an increase of 150% losses.
Revenue on the other hand grew by 56%, to Rs. 1457 crore. Compared to this, in 2015, the revenue growth of the company was 450%.
Consequently, Snapdeal has lost its 2nd spot to Amazon. Although Flipkart gets better coverage in media, I always thought Snapdeal was doing better simply because I was having a better experience with Snapdeal.
So what happened? Did Aamir Khan jinx it?
What the company says seems believable, considering the sort of after sales service that snappy provides:
“In order to deliver the best in class customer experience and to set up the necessary infrastructure for future growth, there was an increase in fulfilment and overhead expenses.”
They have the best return policy and I say this with experience. From mobile phones to electric lamps to tea kettles to printers, I have returned pretty much everything and I have never had problems with them. They immediately arrange for the return of the item and either refund or replace the item according to your preference.
The worst experience that I had while trying to return a faulty mobile phone was with Amazon India although directly they were not to be faulted. While trying to return the phone, although they were extremely courteous, they made me directly interact with the vendor and the vendor made me feel as if I was cheating him by pretending that the phone was not working. So, while the vendor was misbehaving with me, I was bitching about the sort of experience I was having with Amazon on Twitter. With Snapdeal, it’s always a breeze. No questions asked. The simply take the details and then arrange the item to be returned.
Despite the sort of experience that I had with Amazon India, I find myself doing more business with Amazon and less business with Snapdeal (although I still don’t purchase much from Flipkart). This can be because buying smaller stuff on Amazon is easier than on Snapdeal (and they did refund despite the vendor’s misbehaviour). For example, I even purchased my sanitiser and a toothbrush pack from Amazon recently. It is becoming like a grocery shopping place so maybe this is why it is quickly leaving Snapdeal behind. I have a Prime membership with Amazon so the delivery is free for most of the basic orders. After all, it is the delivery fee that stops you from purchasing smaller items because sometimes the delivery fee is more than the cost of the item. If somehow Snapdeal can also provide the same sort of service where the delivery can be free, it may be able to make more sales.