Due to their aggressive marketing policies, everyone has already heard about big and popular online marketplaces like Flipkart, Snapdeal, eBay and Amazon. However, there is a rich plethora of hidden e-commerce gems in India. Several interesting websites offer both niche products and a wide variety of items to choose from. Unlike the big marketplaces that are presently ruling the roost, these smaller yet popular marketplaces have unique customer policies that increase personalisation and quality of the shopper’s experience.
Here’s a list of the popular online marketplaces in India, apart from the obvious biggies.
Shopping for expensive jewellery is every girl’s dream, but in India this is also sanctioned by cultural tradition! Whether it’s buying heirloom pieces for a grand wedding or simply purchasing special jewellery for an important occasion, the practice of shopping for precious jewellery is considered very auspicious. Bluestone.com is thus an online marketplace that offers Indian consumers a wide range of precious jewellery.
The range of products offered at Bluestone.com include gold, silver and precious stone jewellery sets customised to weddings, engagement ceremonies, parties, work wear and budget-friendly gifts. As this marketplace is dealing with a product category that Indian shoppers purchase very precariously, they have special customer policies to assure their customers. They are:
- Professionally certified jewellery
- Complimentary return shipping on all resizings, exchanges, or refunds for all products within the 30-day return policy
- 100% full refund or exchange for unsatisfied customers
- Lifetime exchange policy
- Transit insurance
Though Bluestone.com runs on the online marketplace model, they are also trying to incorporate a hybrid element in their dealing with customers. This is through their ‘Try at Home’ option, where customers can call representatives from Bluestone and state their preferred patterns and pieces. These representative will then carry these products and similar others for the customer to try on at home, choose from and then to place the order. The new product would then be shipped to the customer’s home. This is a unique approach towards taking the online experience ‘offline’, without actually investing in a brick-and-mortar showroom.
To further encourage Indian consumers, Bluestone also offers credit card, online payment and cash on delivery options- in INR as well foreign currencies! It also provide same-day and international shipping options. Regular shipping within India is free of cost. Bluestone indeed has a bright future ahead, as it is addressing all of the Indian customer’s concerns through its unique customer policy.
The royals of ancient India advocated the concept of saula-shringaar, or sixteen aspects of grooming and natural cosmetics that made a woman truly ‘beautiful’.Thus, personal grooming has always been an essential part of both traditional and modern Indian culture. There is a well-designed online marketplace Nykaa.com which offers makeup and cosmetics just a click away!
Shopping for cosmetics is usually a personalised experience, with people wanting to try out several products to decide which one suits them best. Therefore, the element of customer interaction is crucial to sales of cosmetics and personal grooming products. Nykaa has considered all of these important aspects in its online marketplace.
Besides offering a wide range of products like lipsticks, hair shampoos, foundations, perfumes and other premium cosmetics, Nykaa also has its own blog called ‘Beauty Book’, offering its customers helpful beauty tutorials. The blog also offers tips on latest makeup trends and ideas on how to go about it. The unique service on offer though, is the Virtual Makeover! A customer can upload his/ her picture on Nykaa’s website and try on different makeup styles to see if their image looks good. This is an excellent way of personalising the customer’s experience.
The other services provided by Nykaa are:
- Free shipping for orders over Rs 500
- Credit card, online payment and cash on delivery option
- Replacement and refund for unsatisfied customers
Nykaa is an excellent example of an online marketplace running without any major offline presence, something the beauty industry believed was a huge hurdle.
Think online Flash sales, think fashionandyou.com! This refreshing e-commerce website has an interesting USP- they focus on offering customers Flash sales, where several retailers put out their products for a limited period and customers have to select what they want to purchase from these product lots. Once the period of the sale is over, all of these products are dispatched to the customers.
This online marketplace becomes convenient for customers and sellers. For sellers, this becomes extremely convenient as they have enough time to manage and organise proper logistics to enable product deliveries. This policy also ensures that Fashion and You always has a fresh stock of products to offer its customers. Another psychological advantage that Flash sales have is that it creates a sense of urgency in the buyer’s mind. Once a sale is gone, it’s gone for good. Imagine the amount of pressure that puts on a reluctant buyer! This Flash sale concept is great as an economic tool which plays on the customer’s psychology.
Some of the other advantages offered to customers include:
- Online payment and cash on delivery option
- Easy returns for unsatisfied customers
- Free shipping
The range of products offered by fashionandyou.com includes branded apparel, accessories and even items for home décor and utility furnishing. No wonder this website has fast gained popularity amongst enthusiastic shoppers!
Limeroad.com had recently been lauded by the media for encouraging local Indian artisans and craftsmen to sell their goods online. That becomes Limeroad’s self-explanatory USP. All the products listed on this online marketplace have a distinct Indian identity and flavour.
The products offered to customers are part of a huge variety of apparel, home furnishing and even special prints on dress materials. The special thing about most products is that they are either produced or sold by Indian artisans or retailers- thus Limeroad has a very desi identity. This website is also going down the content blogging road for better marketing of its goods, with a special online magazine that provides tips on fashion trends and stylish looks.
The most interesting concept on offer is the ‘shop cities’option, which include places like Pune, Bangalore, Varanasi, Hyderabad and the like. The products on offer are authentic to these particular cities, which give customers the chance to make thrilling purchases from all over India, just by one single click!
The other services that Limeroad provides its customers are:
- Easy returns for unsatisfied customers
- Credit card, debit card and net banking payment options
Limeroad is definitely an online marketplace to watch out for, especially for those who love products with a funky Indian character!
Craftsvilla.com is similar to Limeroad in its ideology, in the sense that it aims to encourage local Indian artisans and craftsmen to reach a global audience. It runs on the marketplace model and is funded by Nexus Venture Partners and Lightspeed Venture Partners, both US- based investors.
True to its name Craftsvilla offers authentic Indian handmade products, along with a wide range of Indian designs in ethnic clothing and home furnishing. Their tagline reads, ‘The Marketplace to Discover India,’ which is reflected in their sourcing policy and choice of products on display. In order to reach a more global audience, the website accepts payments in various foreign currencies as well.
Besides the above mentioned advantages, they also offer customers with
- Debit card, net banking, cash on delivery and cash in advance payment options
- Easy returns for unsatisfied customers
- Guaranteed quality
It is appreciable how Craftsvilla is offering Indian vendors to sell their products on such a well-known platform. It goes without saying that this business concept has a bright future ahead of it! Craftsvilla is a business with a cause, and we wish its team good luck!
This is not an exhaustive list but just the tip of the e-commerce iceberg in India! There are several more that are sprouting up in various domains.
Did we miss out any other popular marketplace? Have you had a better selling experience on one over another? Do share.