Online marketplace Shopclues hopes to make operating profits in the coming fiscal as it expands merchant as well as consumer base. It is also scouting for acquisitions in areas like analytics, mobility and applications to strengthen its payment operations. "We have an asset-light model and don't have operations like logistics to burn money. We hope to become EBIDTA positive in 2017-18," Shopclues co-founder and CEO Sanjay Sethi told PTI. According to reports, the company reported over 3-fold increase in net losses at Rs 383 crore last fiscal. Its total revenue however more than doubled to Rs 178 crore, as per filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC). Flush with investor money, e-commerce companies expanded their operations aggressively across the country in the last 2-3 years. They spent a huge portion of these funds on marketing and customer acquisition activities.
While funding is drying up, there is also an increased pressure now from investors to rake in profits. However, for e-commerce firms, profits might still be some time away as intense competition has forced them to pump in more money across operations like marketing and customer experience to woo consumers. Shopclues, which competes with the likes of Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon India, has over 5 lakh merchants on its platform. With focus on tier II and III cities in the country, it counts GIC Pte Ltd, Tiger Global Management LLC and Nexus Venture Partners among its investors. Last year, Shopclues had said its valuation was over USD 1.1 billion, after it raised an undisclosed amount of funding led by Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC. The company has today launched 'Shopclues Surety Program' to ensure that products on its platform undergo an extensive five-point quality check. Sethi said it is a scalable and cost-effective audit system that works best for the platform's marketplace model. "The programme ensures that each Shopclues Surety product is rated on a set of quality parameters, evaluated and identified through an extensive research by the category experts. In order to make it user-friendly, the platform marks out the rating of the products classified into 'Best Buy', 'Great Buy', 'Value Buy' or 'Brand Authorised'," he said. This allows the customer to make an optimal purchase decision while shopping on the platform, Sethi added. "This move is to give this large unstructured portfolio a structured approach. By accrediting products, we can provide our customers an unparallelled shopping experience," he said.
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