Flipkart, Snapdeal, other start-up biggies laud demonetisation

A week after the ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, some start-up majors came together to laud the move.

Flipkart founder Sachin Bansal, Snapdeal's Kunal Bahl, Shopclues co-founder Sanjay Sethi and Pranay Jivrajka, operations head at Ola, came on one platform and said this would have a positive impact on their business and the overall economy in the long term.

However, they also said cash-on-delivery (COD) would still be a part of their payments options; they had no plan to make this redundant, even as they push for digital transactions. "We have no plan to ban it. It will go down organically," said Bahl.

Discontinuation of old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes led to a 15-30 per cent fall in COD orders of various e-commerce platforms like Snapdeal, Flipkart and Shopclues over the first three days. "There was a drop in sales and cancellations of CoD orders but it's recovering now," said Bansal.

Speaking at the Digital India Foundation event in the city via a video call, he said their company was seeing more people opting for digital payment routes.

Bahl said COD orders on his platform had come down to 30 per cent of overall sales. "At some point in time, it was at 70 per cent and then it came down to 50 per cent. It is now at 30 percent. While it might go up a bit, we expect the ratio to hover around the current level," he said.

Snapdeal, which also runs mobile wallet company Freecharge, said it had seen strong growth in transactions through digital payments. Volumes have grown significantly for Freecharge, too, Bahl said. Higher adoption of digital payments would, he said, help improve unit economics for e-commerce companies in the long run.

"What is important is that we (in the sector) will have to make digital payments more convenient, secure and rewarding for consumers," he added. Mobile wallet companies have seen a 200 per cent rise in user base.

Following the announcement on the evening of November 8, Amazon and Paytm had temporarily halted the COD facility. Flipkart and Snapdeal set limits on the value of orders that could be delivered through the service. While Amazon has resumed the service, Flipkart did so on Wednesday.

Experts believe things would be smoother in the next two months. "It would take around 60 days for things to be normal. For us, tier-II and tier-III areas performed much better than metropolitans, as most of the orders from (the former areas) were paid in advance. Our COD percentage is more in metropolitans," said Shopclues' Sethi. He added that in the first four days, there was a fall in sale of about 15 per cent.

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