Snapdeal's ‘design mafia’ aims to build the best m-commerce app experience in India, says the Product Chief

From the mid of last year, Snapdeal has introduced roughly a dozen major releases, including the major app overhaul seen in late January.


Snapdeal’s design team also known as ‘design mafia’ internally has been quite busy. From the mid of last year, Snapdeal has introduced roughly a dozen major releases, including the major app overhaul seen in late January.

It is the same time around when Anand Chandrasekaran took the charge as the Chief Product Officer at Snapdeal. Chandrasekaran has been instrumental in creating a strong app foundation with the new changes that will help set the road for 2016.  We had a quick chat with him about the Snapdeal app experience, design philosophy, mobile traffic and more.

At the heart of these changes, is a simpler buying process, an array of quality products, quick checkout, neat payments integration and good customer experience.  Chandrasekaran says a lot of heart has gone into the design, and even got an artist hand draw each icon to create distinct look for each category. The same philosophy was then extended to the rest of the app. Wading through challenges, the team has built everything from making category navigation exciting to a refreshing colour template and faster checkouts by 40 percent.

Snapdeals ‘design mafia’ aims to build the best m-commerce app experience in India, says the Product Chief

Image: Reuters

One will also find a completely refreshed order tracking system (also noticed during the Diwali sale). The new system helps track each shipment through every hop in real time.  Some other minute changes include review rating and a new Product Selfie feature that lets users put out a selfie with their latest buy, adding to the confidence of other buyers.

The aim is to build the best m-commerce experience, Chandrasekaran tells us. However, does that mean a complete focus on app? Well, not yet. Though 75 percent of the traffic is via mobile (app and mobile site), the company doesn’t want inconvenience for the rest 25 percent via desktops. The desktop interface has also seen a facelift lately. The new features are first tried on the mobile interface and then accordingly pushed to the desktop too. In fact, he points out that every feature is tested by Snapdeal employees for a user feedback and loopholes, before it is rolled out to consumers.

Mobile payment integration remains one of the priorities. The FreeCharge mobile wallet has been deeply integrated into the Snapdeal ecosystem. Chandrasekaran points out, “The Freecharge wallet has been doing incredibly well. It has 20 million active users and roughly a million users per week.” 83 percent of Freecharge traffic is via mobile, he adds.  In December, there was also a small reshuffling, he tells us, with Freecharge's Design lead now overlooking across the Snapdeal portfolio for design.

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Considering the increasing traffic from tier 2, tier 3 and so on, the company has also been focussing on extensive language testing. It already supports seven languages, and the count will soon increase to 11, he said.  Snaplite is another factor catering to users with low speed connection. “Snaplite has seen good adoption and about one-third of connections are low speed,” he added.

Shrugging off from the startup bubble buzz, Chandrasekaran says there’s a lot on plate to focus on such as offering best customer experience, helping businesses succeed on Snapdeal and making life simpler.

“Our focus is to build the best m-commerce experience for Snapdeal, to build India's most reliable payments system with Freecharge, a fantastic consumer to consumer marketplace with Shopo and an ecosystem where these deeply integrate with each other,” he said.