Monday, 8 February 2016

How did Shoptimize debunk the profitability myth in Indian e-commerce?

  • "Fashion e-tailer Myntra incurred a loss of Rs 740 crore during the financial year 2014-15. The huge loss came on the back of heavy discounting and promotional costs.”
  • "Flipkart suffers Rs 2,000-crore wound in bruising discount war”
  • "Combined losses for Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal breach Rs 5,000 cr mark”


… Thus screamed some of the newspaper headlines over the last few months. Is profitability in e-commerce a myth? Will this euphoria last only till venture capital funds run dry?


The answer is a firm ‘No’. Shoptimize is a state of the art technology enabler that offers best in class e-commerce solutions and helps brands setup a profitable online sales channel. Spearheaded by a bright and young management team which has worked across the globe, Shoptimize guides brands since inception, defines a holistic e-commerce strategy and executes it impeccably to drive profit oriented results. Here are a few short case studies to drive home the point –

  • Haldirams from Nagpur is one such extremely popular brand for which Shoptimize helped setup a strong online sales channel. The Haldiram’s brand has a very loyal following among the older generation of consumers aged 40 and higher. They realized that a whole new generation was growing up around quick serve restaurants and food delivery and did not want to miss out on reaching out to them. As the younger generation went digital, they decided to establish a presence there as well. Right from design and development of their e-commerce website to integrating it with online payments and logistics to carrying out their digital marketing campaigns, Shoptimize helped Haldirams transform their online business into a serious one. Haldirams achieved profitability within 6 months of launch! With a mobile app also in its kitty now, Haldirams delivers several thousand orders a month now, giving pure play e-tailers a run for their money.
  • Apollo Pharmacy from Hyderabad had an e-commerce website that was merely functional before they decided to transition over to the Shoptimize platform. Shoptimize took full ownership of technology and marketing and prepared a 2 year plan with revenue and profitability targets. Website performance and responsiveness zoomed post launch and sales doubled in a matter of 3 months driven by efficient SEO and minimal digital advertising. And all of this at a fraction of the cost that competitors like HealthKart and NetMeds had to spend! Apollo Pharmacy never had the need to spend on high ticket items like TV or print ads.
  • Ekbote Furniture from Pune is one of the oldest furniture manufacturing brands in Maharashtra since 1960s. The advent, preliminary success and VC funding of online only players like Urban Ladder, Pepperfry and Fab Furnish proved the fact that there is potential for home furnishing as a category to do well. Plus, Ekbote Furniture, being a manufacturer, was higher up the value chain and had the potential to do better monetarily, and this made great economic sense. Ekbote Furniture decided to work with Shoptimize to create a state of the art e-commerce website in terms of design and functionality to take the online only start-ups head on. Shoptimize helped them introduce differentiated features like 360 degree rotation of products to give the end consumer an ‘in-store like’ shopping experience. Other differentiators included the introduction of a B2B sales channel where existing dealers of Ekbote Furniture would be able to act as online resellers through the same website.
  • Aadyaa Originals from Mumbai is a fashion jewellery manufacturer that employs underprivileged women and trains them to make best in class hand-crafted fashion jewellery. Aadyaa used Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp as primary channels to reach out to people and solicit business. However, purchasing was often a very cumbersome process for the customer and required an online bank transfer to be done in advance. Neither was there any efficient process for product cataloguing, inventory management, invoicing and shipments. Aadyaa decided to work with Shoptimize to transform their small scale business into a more professional and formal e-commerce venture. As sales volumes picked up, Aadyaa decided to invest in marketing and branding. Along with Facebook based digital marketing, their association with Marathi films and celebrities whom they have styled have provided a fillip for an exponential growth in sales! Now equipped with a firm grip on the overall business, Aadyaa again partnered with Shoptimize to launch their mobile app on Android and iOS. This tiny venture that bootstrapped with tranche of Rs. 50,000 only, has now grown to become one of the reputed names in this space driven by the right technology!

The primary conclusion that one can draw from this post is that it is absolutely possible and realistic to launch and grow a successful e-commerce business with the right set of technology and marketing strategy! There are enough case studies to showcase in the SMB world that have been able to create a niche for themselves in an industry where the likes of Flipkart and Amazon dominate.