Online marketplace Flipkart has started a local experiment here, its headquarters, to sell cars and motorcycles.
The e-commerce major has signed with two local dealers, a Khivraj Motors for Bajaj motorcycles and Kalyani Motors for Maruti Suzuki cars, to sell on its platform and within the city. It is also encouraging its employees with offers to buy vehicles from its partners on the marketplace.
This comes after rival Snapdeal's launch last month of Snapdeal Motors, a platform for automobiles, offering an "integrated buying experience", enabling online booking and loan approvals within two minutes of a vehicle purchase on the site. Snapdeal has tied up with Hero Motors and Piaggio to sell motorcycles and mini trucks on its platform. And, is working with Mahindra and Mahindra, Maruti Suzuki and Datsun to sell their vehicles on the site.
"There is a paradigm shift in the way people shop online today, with more and more unconventional categories like automobiles and auto accessories, small home appliances, personal care and jewellery gaining popularity," said Anil Goteti, vice-president, business, at Flipkart, in an e-mail response.
The shift to selling higher value automobiles, both passenger and goods vehicles, by e-commerce entities is an attempt to offer a higher range of products to customers and retain them within the platform.
As most e-commerce companies push sales on their smartphone apps, the data collected, based on search and transaction behaviour, allows them to tap customers with targeted offers - both products and financing support.
For Flipkart, automobile accessories is already among the top 10 sale categories on its platform, largely in Bengaluru and followed by Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai. Selling vehicles becomes a natural extension.
"Evidenced through the latest data as revealed by FlipTrends, a comprehensive and in-depth view into how India shops online, automobiles emerged as one of the fastest growing categories online," said Goteti. "Following this trend, Flipkart is now ready to expand this category and add automobiles under the umbrella. Ease and convenience of online shopping, for millions of Indians, is what is driving phenomenal growth in the sector and we are happy to catalyse (this for) the automobile industry."