Indian e-commerce marketplace Snapdeal announced the establishment of its data sciences centre in San Carlos, California, on Monday. The centre, to be headed by Nitin Sharma, Senior Vice President of Data Sciences, is in line with its vision to on-board top global talent and build high-value solutions.
According to the firm, the data sciences centre will focus on big data and advanced analytics to provide perspective and clarity to Snapdeal’s consumer initiatives, while reshaping the business strategy of the company to optimise its operational efficiencies through data and analytics.
On the launch, Rohit Bansal, Co-Founder, Snapdeal, said,
“We have set up a data science engine in California, which is home to domain talent, to further augment our efforts in creating a superior customer experience and strengthen our supply chain.”
He further added that the company is extensively working on data mining through an existing analytics team.
Under Nitin’s leadership the data science team will focus on elevating Snapdeal’s growth-focussed strategy and to provide insightful guidance. The richer understanding of the customers, by capturing and integrating the information on their buying behaviour, will drive habit commerce and is in sync with our vision of 20 million daily transacting users by the year 2020.
On the other hand, Nitin believes that his team can distil key patterns, consumer preferences and hidden correlations by quickly analysing huge quantities of data, eventually bringing fresh insights onto the existing work.
The rough tide
This news comes at a time when companies are firing, pushing joining dates and slashing plans for this fiscal year. Previous media reports also suggest that both Flipkart and Snapdeal are talking to investors but are unable to raise funds at their preferred valuations. The data sciences centre could be looked at as a way of getting experienced management talent, which could in turn lead to funding from US investors.
More so, the competition seems to have really picked up in the last year between Flipkart, Amazon India and Snapdeal. According to reports, in June 2015, Amazon India caught up with Flipkart after overtaking Snapdeal in terms of traffic.
It was also reported this year that Amazon saw its market share, in terms of shipments, gallop to over 21 percent from 14 percent, making it the only major player to increase its share from a year ago. Since January 2015, Amazon has infused Rs 6,700 crore into its India unit.
While Flipkart slipped from 43 percent in March 2015 to 37 percent in March 2016, Snapdeal also slipped from 19 percent to 14-15 percent in market share.
These marketplaces are also facing competition from corporate players, like Tata, Reliance and Aditya Birla Group, which are entering the field through their offerings CliQ, Ajio and abof.com respectively.
However, in an earlier interview with YourStory, Rahul Taneja, Vice-President, Category Management, Snapdeal said that constant investment in data analytics has worked well for Snapdeal in getting an idea on trends. This was seen in their demand for air purifiers in the Delhi NCR region.
Last week, the e-commerce marketplace also saw its Chief Product Officer Anand Chandrasekaran leave the board, with Silicon Valley veteran Gaurav Gupta appointed as the Vice President, Engineering. The firm had also announced its partnership with developer Puravankara Projects to sell and lease homes online.
According to data released in February, Snapdeal has been invested with a total funding of $2 billion, holding a current GMV of $6.5 billion while having 2.75 lakh merchants on board, leading to one million transactions every day.
However, with the new data sciences centre it remains to be seen whether Snapdeal can really regain its position against Amazon and provide superior customer experience.