Snapdeal has launched a new feature called Snapdeal Gold, which promises free next day delivery, free shipping, and extended purchase protection. This follows Amazon Prime and Flipkart First, both of which offer similar features to customers.
The Snapdeal Gold Service is a little different from the aforementioned services though, as you don't need to sign up for a service to use this. It's automatic - if any order is found to match Snapdeal Gold requirements, it will get upgraded. As long as it's being fulfilled by Snapdeal, and you're paying upfront - by card, netbanking, using Freecharge, or gift cards. Cash on Delivery offers will not get the benefit. Snapdeal also allows people to use a combination of Freecharge cash and Cash on Delivery payments, but only 100 percent prepaid orders will be upgraded to Snapdeal Gold.
Where available, you'll get free next day delivery, otherwise you'll always get free standard delivery with Snapdeal Gold. Also, instead of the normal seven day timeframe in which you can return a product, with Snapdeal Gold, you'll have 14 days to return the product you bought.
One of the nice features is that everything takes place automatically - for example, you don't choose Gold as an option, just pick an online payment method. If next day delivery is available, your delivery is automatically scheduled for it. What this means is that there's practically no barrier to entry to getting the benefits from Snapdeal Gold, provided you have an online payment solution. The automatic upgrade is where there's also a slight catch though - not all items that are fulfilled by Snapdeal or meet the above requirements are eligible for Snapdeal Gold. All in all, Snapdeal Gold looks more like a way to move people away from cash on delivery than anything else.
In contrast, both Flipkart First and Amazon Prime require you to sign up beforehand, and charge money, which is not something everyone will be willing to do. However, it offers less by way of benefits too. For example, Flipkart First gets you priority customer support, and Amazon Prime gives you early access to deals on the site, and once Amazon launches its video service in India, you'll have access to that as well, which could be a real game changer.