These days India is being treated to startup rush? Everyday the newspapers are flooded with announcements on start-ups while online portal have launched dedicated pages to report on startups. Digital Market Asia tracking the journey of Indusb2c.com, talks to Tushar Kansal, Co-Founder and Chief Financial Officer who attributes India as the current world leader in the startup space.
Prior the establishment of Indusb2C, Mr Kansal saw the ecommerce space primarily driven by deep discounting, extraordinarily poor seller handling and lack of a will to bring more brands to India from abroad but focus only on short-term customer acquisition. Mr Kansal saw an opportunity for use of psychometrics to precisely analyse customer preferences a marquee equality play, need to bring merchandisers and quality assurance on board, to train Call Centre in the products one sells. He also indentified lack of an ecommerce vehicle in the market which meets these criterion specifically in premium branded segment.
Indus B2C is a holding company with a variety of dot com verticals. The eldest sibling of the family Vithi.com, an integrated company that seeks to taps premium labels in India and later venture on to building its own private labels. It was launched in October 2014 and expected to bring 70 per cent foreign brands to India in later stages of its business.
Besdies Vithi.com, the holding company includes divisions such as IndusTutors.com, BlackQueenGame.com, AstroLifeQs.com, Kansaltancy.com, and Sportszoid.com. Mr Kansal forcasts an overall customer database of 50 million by 2017-18 for Indus b2c.
“Apart from ecommerce venture Vithi.com, the education venture IndusTutors.com is ready and content work is in process. The first game of UIXinteractive.com – BlackQueenGame.com, would be launched by last quarter of this year. AstroLifeQs.com website is fully functional and we are projecting a blockbuster business – few people know the huge demand for Astrology in China, Asean, Americas, apart from India. Sportszoid website will be operational by end 2015,” said Mr Kansal projecting the business of the companies.
Challenges in the ecommerce space
Mr Kansal also shared some concerns in the ecommerce industry that continue to haunt leaders in the space. He mentioned, “Cash on delivery (COD) is the preferred payment mode and Indian customers return much of the merchandise they purchase online through COD and this in addition to deep discounts are burning holes in company balance sheets.”
The Indian market is behind its western counterparts on back of poor seller ecosystem and logistical challenges as postal addresses across the geography of India are not standardised. But Mr Kansal has designed methods at his business to deal with such challenges.
“We are successfully tackling these problems by charging nominal INR 100 on each COD transaction, by utilising India Post for far flung addresses, by offering only end-of-season sale discounts, utilizing psychometrics in delivering a curated experience by analysing each customer,” he said.
Start-up space in India
“I can vouch that India is probably the only market worldwide which offers so much to entrepreneurs right now. I give all credit to Modi Government for this,” Mr Kansal exclaimed. He supported his claim with a number of instances too.
The government has launched a variety of funds and initiative that are focused at driving entrepreneurs in the country and make the market environment conducive for their growth. Mr Kansal explained how the government if offering incentives to VC funded startups which are operating in the IOT space. “The government aims to attract such early stage funding as well as tap the huge potential of this sector to boost the ‘Make in India’ program,” he added. “India is playing host to a large number of startups across different vertical and initiatives, and the government is only going to accentuate the trend,” concluded Mr Kansal.