Mumbai-based Just Dial Ltd, which runs an India-specific local business listing platform Justdial.com, has expanded the scope of its B2C transaction based services by adding product e-commerce marketplace.
The firm had started what it called 'search plus' or transaction services where it allowed people to order food online from local restaurants, book doctor's appointment and flight tickets and much more. With product e-commerce it is now entering a much wider market which can add to its revenue stream.
The company has added a ‘shop online’ feature on the homepage where it lists products across several categories such as mobile, appliances, electronics besides a host of others including those which are not pushed by big e-commerce marketplaces such as tiles, sanitaryware, bicycle, paints etc.
Since it is a marketplace it essentially connects consumers to third party vendors and only acts as a platform linking the buyer and sellers while facilitating the transaction.
In the process it comes across as another hyper local e-commerce platform which links local shops to consumers online. This makes sense for Just Dial as it extends the offering by allowing those local sellers already listed on its platform to sell products. Few weeks ago restaurant listing site Zomato started online ordering of food from its restaurant partners in a similar move to extend an existing business line.
However, how seriously the consumer would absorb the Just Dial offering given there are specialised e-commerce ventures doing a similar job with better UI/UX, is something we would get to know as Just Dial starts sharing user stats, from next quarter.
One area of differentiator could be its delivery promise. The site claims some products like grocery and medicine ordered through its platform will be delivered in an hour while for some others like electronics, Just Dial says it offers a ‘7-hour express delivery’ for orders placed before 2 PM and the offer comes with Just Dial's written guarantee along with manufacturer's warranty & original invoice. Orders post 2 PM will be delivered in the next 24 hours.
Although most large e-commerce properties also offer same day delivery for some products, since Just Dial primarily leverages local sellers, it can actually cut down on delivery timelines.
It would compete with several players such as Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, ShopClues and Paytm. Indeed Paytm appears to be the closest peer to Just Dial in terms of the e-commerce business model. Others offer warehousing and even logistics services to their vendors.
An email sent to Just Dial to know more about its e-commerce business did not elicit any response till the time of filing this article.
Founded by VSS Mani in 1994, Just Dial is a local search firm that provides both B2C and B2B listings of small and medium businesses across the country, and provides services across multiple platforms, including the internet, phone, wireless and print.
It counts Sequoia Capital, Tiger Global and SAIF Partners as its investors. All these had come in before the company went public in 2013. They have sold some of their shares since last September making stellar gains.
Just Dial becomes first large Indian listed firm with presence in product e-commerce business. Another small public listed firm is Intrasoft Technologies, which runs 123stores.com.