Online shopping portal ShopClues is launching a neighbourhood market feature on its mobile app to connect local merchants to customer.
Online shopping portal ShopClues is launching a 'neighbourhood market' feature on its mobile app to connect local merchants to customers, joining the ecommerce movement to order and fulfil locally.
Sanjay Sethi, cofounder and CEO of ShopClues, said neighbourhood merchants are better suited to provide hyperlocal services "as they understand the business in the local area much better than we ever would."
"Our aim is to provide self-service technologies that allow them to be more successful in local areas," he told ET.
The hyperlocal programme was piloted around two weeks ago with 20-25 merchants in Delhi, and is expected to be rolled out to localities with high concentrations of merchants in Tier 1 and 2 cities by the end of the month.
Merchants have the options to deliver themselves, make use of hyperlocal delivery startups that ShopClues have partnered with, or let customers pick up goods instore. Customers can pay either by cash or by card.
"It's absolutely cheaper for local merchants," Sethi said. "It actually opens up their ability to break the boundary between online and offline."
Nitin Kocchar, AVP category at ShopClues, said the firm's app captures the geographical coordinates of users and display inventory that is available nearby. "We are into unstructured categories that are more utility items and not very brand conscious, so it makes even more sense for us to connect both merchants and the customer," he said.
ShopClues' foray follows similar moves by rival ecommerce giants. Flipkart's 'f Qck' hyperlocal programme is currently under pilot and Amazon has launched 'Kirana Now' partnership whereby offline grocers can sell their offerings online.
ShopClues has yet to finalise a name for its hyperlocal offering. Sethi said it might use different vernacular names in different regions across the country.
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