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Quikr to push new product commerce

Online classifieds major Quikr is gearing up to take on e-commerce biggies as it plans to launch a service which will let consumers sell their old wares and subsequently buy new products on the site. The Craigslist-like portal, which started off as a listings and used products marketplace, is partnering with a payments firm to build a platform similar to PayPal to facilitate transactions between buyers and small merchants, a senior executive from the company said.

New product commerce is becoming a significant part of Quikr’s revenues on the back of smaller merchants listing their goods (in categories like mobiles phones) on the site. Quikr’s annual gross merchandize value (sales executed through the site) is likely to be in the range of $3 billion and about half of it comes from the sale of new products. The service will directly compete with online retailers, including Snapdeal, Flipkart and Amazon.

Earlier, Quikr’s closest rival OLX had tied up with Flipkart in a one-off campaign, wherein consumers could sell on OLX and then buy new products on the e-tailer’s site.

Besides the new commerce push, Quikr is also strengthening its verticals like home, cars, jobs and real estate at a time when vertical classifieds players have raised millions of dollars and are doubling down on the market. It plans to have separate heads of businesses for each of the verticals going forward. “What we have built till now is a platform and brand that cuts across categories. The time has come to take Quikr deeper in all categories where it is already strong like used goods, cars, real estate, services and jobs. The idea is to help buyers and sellers whichever way the category demands whether its delivery services, verified listings, inspection reports,” said Pranay Chulet, founder & CEO of the six-year-old startup.

The Mumbai-based company which recently moved its headquarters to Bengaluru has launched a slew of new products, including Quikr Nxt, a messaging service between buyer and seller and is facilitating deliveries in select cities between buyers and sellers.

“It is all about your positioning and customer base. The online classifieds players have the mindshare of the customer and a significant customer base. The question is can they convince their customers to buy new products from them and that will require some rebranding and development of other areas like logistics. But since they have one half already in place they need to work on the other to be successful,” said Harish HV, partner at Grant Thornton India.

While online retailers have been the biggest advertisers on mass media in the internet sector, classifieds players have not been far behind in terms of dollars spent on brand building leading to huge cash burn. Between Quikr, OLX and other vertical classifieds players, an estimated Rs 1,000 crore was splurged on advertising in the past six months alone.

This article appeared in The Times Of India on 13th January, 2015.