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After books, eBay India launches separate site for packaged food

Online auction and shopping marketplace, eBay India has ventured into a new category of packaged food items. As per the mailer sent to the registered users, eBay has launched this new category as a separate website hosted on the same domain under the name eBay Daily. It is operating into categories such as ready-to-eat food, snacks, confectionary items, drinks etc.

The USP of this new service is being pegged at primarily packaged international brands offered for consumers (we are checking with eBay if this has anything to do with any policy issues as selling food is a sensitive issue in Indian retail).

The user interface of the portal looks interesting where customers can search for up to 10 items simultaneously. A shopper can add items to the cart without going away from the homepage or having to deal with multiple windows.

What struck us was that unlike rest of eBay, the new section has been launched as a separate site. More importantly, just like the books section launched early this year (more on that here) buyers are not shown who are the sellers upfront (after all eBay is a marketplace). This is akin to what some other local marketplaces such as Snapdeal are doing with the consumer interface looking like any other e-com portal.

However, while checking out the sellers name and other details are shown to the consumer.

eBay has entered in a category that is gaining traction slowly. Also, with the growing demand for international brands in metros and urban areas, this might just capture the right pulse of the audience. Some other key players in the segment include EkStop, BigBasket, ZopNow, MyGrahak, which are more focused on known Indian brands.

Though the idea of e-tailing vegetables and perishables has got a mixed response from investors, with e-tailer ShopVeg recently shutting shop due to lack of funds, packaged food items might turn the game around. Since these have a greater shelf life and the kind of brands that eBay is making available online are not that easily available offline, unless you go to a really posh hypermarket in a mall, the uptake of its service might take everyone by surprise.

We have contacted the eBay spokesperson and will update you as we get a response on some of the queries.

(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)

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