Retail in Asia

In Shops

Cracking the local marketing code

Travel, books, electronics, fashion, classifieds and now local services – e-commerce has disrupted the status quo in almost every sector. With Amazon venturing into grocery (Kirana Now), Snapdeal entering services and Flipkart ready to follow suit, on-demand services appear to be the next frontier for competition in the crowded e-retail space.

Look at what’s in the pipeline. Amazon recently launched Amazon Home Services in the US market. It is expected to launch a similar service in India soon. Online marketplace major Snapdeal has gone a step further with its service platform to include utility payments and a marketplace for financial services besides home services. Given the huge investor interest in the category, a handful of highly localised home services start-ups (such as UrbanClap, LocalOye, Taskbob and UrbanPro) have also thrown their hats in the ring .

This is a big shift, mind you. From being online marketplaces for products you are now moving into services, you are aggregating photographers and tutors and handymen, and organising a highly fragmented but huge market. Look at some numbers. The homecare and installation services market in India is estimated at INR90,000 crore (INR900 billion, USD14.04b); the laundry market at INR200,000 crore annually, of which 95 percent is unorganised.