In this week’s ” Walk the Talk with an Entrepreneur” session i am presenting to you an interesting interview with Nitin Agarwal promoter of BigShoeBazaar aka BSB, an ecommerce portal selling shoes. BSB as a startup in quick time has established itself in ecommerce space.
Q. Firstly, could you please tell us about yourself?
Graduated from IIT Delhi in 98, worked in Citibank for about 18 months, started own company brainvisa technologies in Pune in 2000 into elearning services. Sold that company in 2007 and then co founded Bigshoebazaar.com in July 2009
Q. Why did you choose shoe business any specific reason?
It’s one of segments in which brands haven’t been able to create a good penetration especially in tier 2, 3 towns. There is a huge supply demand GAP and customer doesn’t always get their choice especially in non-metro. Its one lifestyle segment which is highly under penetrated
Q. What are the initial challenges you faced when starting BSB.
Challenge was to come up with effective service model to achieve greatest customer satisfaction. We initially tried working with supplier inventories but suppliers weren’t efficient enough to cater to demand for B2C consumer in online space. Secondly brands and suppliers weren’t convinced that shoes could be sold online. We really had to sell the concept hard and take us as a serious buyer
Q. How you are managing to convince user to buy shoe online, because shoe as a product user likes to try out before buying.
Yes, that has been the perception especially for people sitting in delhi, Mumbai etc. But for person in Sholapur wanting to buy a latest collection of Branded shoes like Reebok, Puma, Nike etc, he has no option but to buy it online or buy it when he is travelling to major cities. People also have been asking their friends and families to get shoes for them when they travel abroad. Second is choice, if you wanted for buy black formal shoes in size 8, our site would provide about 250 designs in black formal shoes size 8. You would never get this kind of variety and range in shop or even a mall for that matter. Added to this is our service for free returns and no question asked full refund.
Q. What challenges did you have to overcome to make the company truly able to focus on customer service and customer experience?
Challenges are multi-fold
1) Logistics – although we rely on best logistics in the country, we can’t always control the service quality of logistics. Second reverse logistics in country is not very well developed which makes our customers take little effort to return goods to us by going to courier agency. In US for e.g. reverse logistics is highly sophisticated providing very good experience to customers
2) Payment gateway is another challenge – In India, the onus of fraud transaction is on the merchant. So even if payment gateway has authorized the payment of fraud transaction and there is claim, merchant need to fight the claim. And to successfully fight the claim, you need full proof of customer identity etc which can be painful for customer to provide
Q. BSB is quite active in social networks like facebook, How you manage to engage thousands of BSB fans. Does this engagement translates into transaction
Yes, this is way for being transparent organization to customer. Its part of customer service than sales pitch. We are able to talk to customers, listen to them, attend to their problem and this also acts as CRM. Yes, it does result in transaction and also helps us improve by constantly listening to consumers. We just love the interaction although it does take a lot of senior management time but its time well spent.
Q. Are you maintaining your own inventory? Or you procure from distributors once order is placed. Briefly describe your SCM system.
We manage complete end to end supply chain. We procure goods and keep in our warehouse. Customer is able to place order for goods which are in warehouse. This way we are able to maintain 99.9% fulfillment and all order are shipped within 48 hrs
Q. Can you comment on the revenue models you plan to have.
We are not looking any other ancillary revenue models except for selling shoes thru various online medium. We are today the largest shop on ebay as well and would like to partner with other horizontal portals to empower footwear category for them
Q. What sells – Brands or low price.
Both – Brand at low prices sells best
Q. Where do you see BSB in the future.
We want to be known for customer service and also a destination that should come to people’s kind when they think footwear.
Q. If ones has to get into similar verticals what would you suggest as a product to sell online.
Well india is very under-served market and there is potential to sell a lot of things. More than product, one of see what vertical can one service the best and become leader in that segment.
Q. Any advise to a wannabe entrepreneur in ecommerce space.
Do your homework, it’s not about just putting site and getting buyer and supplier on platform and done. It doesn’t work that way