Saholic.com, the e-commerce portal owned and operated by the Spice Group company Spice Online Retail Pvt Ltd, has started providing mobile and DTH recharge services online. Earlier, the company used to offer free recharge vouchers to customers purchasing its products (mostly mobile handsets). But recharging is now offered as a standalone service and visitors to the site will find a new recharge section.
The site was launched in May last year and offers mobiles, tablets, laptops, cameras and accessories, along with a deals section for the same. Although it is a part of the Spice Group, the company also retails other handsets.
Rajneesh Arora, business head of Spice Online Retail, said, "Besides selling the hardware which is our core offering, we are also trying to meet the other biggest requirement of our customers which is recharge." The company is also planning to add new services around the hardware and aims to sell pre-paid and post-paid plans for mobile phones, data cards, etc.
"We want to bring everything that a mobility customer needs online," added Arora.
Started a week ago, the service enables customers to recharge from most of the leading telcos. When a user types in the number, the site automatically identifies the operator (MNP customers have to select operators manually) and facilitates the desired recharge. The recharge process is simple and does not require the user to register or sign up for the service (which is a nice thing). However, one has to enter his/her e-mail ids to get an e-mail confirmation of the recharge.
Most of the e-payment options are available on the site and users can also pay from their Saholic wallet. One can get the wallet filled (Rs 50-Rs 200) by purchasing selected Spice products from the site (read here for more).
"While it will contribute to the revenues, we are not focusing on that as the ticket size in the recharge business is pretty small. As of now, we are largely looking at it from a customer fulfilment perspective," said Arora.
The service also makes sense, considering the fact that the repeat buying rate for a mobile phone customer is a minimum of 9 months. With a recharge service in place, which a customer uses at least once in every two weeks, the site can be at the top of one's mind if/when he/she finally decides to make the next purchase.
With this launch, Saholic.com will now compete with players like Paytm, Freecharge and Rechargeitnow, in addition to a number of telcos who also provide recharge services on their sites. Interestingly, Spice Digital, the digital media arm of the Spice Group, already has an online recharge service for mobile phones and DTH. It is called Spice Deck and was launched earlier this year. So how does launching another recharge portal help?
"The customer base for Spice Deck and Saholic are very different. While Saholic focuses on mobility customers, Spice Deck will cater to a broader audience. As of now, Spice Deck only offers recharge, but it will also include other services like railway ticketing, bus ticketing, post-paid bill payment, utility bill payment, etc., in the future," explained Arora.
Besides Spice Online Retail Pvt Ltd, the group also operates Spice Retail, Spice Mobility, Spice BPO, Spice Digital and Spice Labs.