There are stories of success and there are stories of failure. The best kind always leave you pleasantly surprised, and the story of Snapdeal’s road to success, with its fair share of ups and downs, definitely fulfils this criterion.
By the mid-2000s, the e-commerce boom had already begun across Asia. In November 2011, inspired by the likes of China’s Alibaba, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal’s Snapdeal had evolved from a daily deal service into India’s first home-grown online marketplace. Flipkart was also taking baby steps at the same time, but it was then an inventory-led platform and not the marketplace it has evolved into today.
Global dealer eBay had already begun operations in the country. Coincidentally, both Alibaba and eBay would go on to become investors in Snapdeal’s growth.
Today, five-year-old Snapdeal offers around 20 million products across more than 500 categories connecting over 100 million users to 2,00,000 sellers. Over the next three years, it hopes to increase that number to one million merchants.
Ten acquisitions and $1.9 billion funding later, the New-Delhi based e-marketplace is among the eight unicorns in India with a valuation above $2 billion. They are now targeting $8-10 billion in gross merchandise value by March 2016.
With the e-commerce tsunami disrupting every conventional mode of business in the country, 2015 was also a roller-coaster year for Snapdeal. Making headlines for the right and wrong reasons, the e-commerce giant stayed in the news and is locked in a three-cornered battle with Flipkart and Amazon.