It is odd how things change. Once during the Summer of ’16, while gulping coffee with my friend Rishi, at a vibrant Koramangala cafe we discussed E-commerce in India and what the future holds for it. And slowly a typical industry discussion between folks who are part of India’s e-commerce story leads to rationally evaluating some real big problems and opportunities. By the time we finished we had ideas we felt was worth evaluating. Following weeks, we jumped to our researches and giving shape to our idea. And then put in next few months doing primary research on consumer and retailers. Most interesting part, that validated our Idea as the compelling case for a scalable business.
Here we were discussing the idea of starting an E-commerce venture at a time when the sector looked past its peak. India’s biggest and world’s biggest were fighting for market leadership and no. 3 was falling apart. Pundits were busy writing off the sector, Investment pipeline was shrinking, and in general, the great Indian start-up story looked like a bubble. But we had an idea we believed has space and potential to disrupt and scale. And we decided to give up our well-paying jobs with India’s largest, a $15 bn e-commerce company, to start something new one from scratch.
About a year ago, we started out to build a vertical commerce platform for Home Electronics, aimed at solving for the problems of discovery, quality of selection and after-sales service. These are still some of the key problems associated with the category that all popular e-commerce websites have ignored. We built a very engaging platform, brought onboard some of the best suppliers and launched service in Bangalore about six months ago.
These six months after launch have been very exciting. We had an amazing response from our customers on the quality of selection, the speed of delivery and services support. But we noticed something more interesting happening in between. Because of our right partnerships and Innovative business model, we were not just competitive with our prices, but we were able to offer prices better than Amazon and Flipkart in most cases. And our customers were loving it.
Half a year into operations, we saved thousands of people money, and we did it by reducing the cost of Home Electronics they wanted to buy, beating prices elsewhere online. Things got very exciting. We learnt how to grow this service to a wider audience all the time and take this to every corner of India.
So we designed arzooo(dot)com bottoms up as an interactive commerce platform where buyers can seek out the best possible price on a product that they wish to buy at any time. We create the best offer with our unique real-time reverse auction process. arzooo(dot)com is disruptive in the sense that it makes unique, personalized offer to customers for every order, which differentiates it from most other kinds of shopping platforms.
The benefits for the customers are obvious as they save on an average 8–12% additionally when they buy on arzooo(dot)com. But our retail partners are also very excited about working with us. We are not an open marketplace and we work with select retailers chosen on Invite. These folks are discovering a new form of selling with minimal customer acquisition effort and are able to win online shoppers who they otherwise lose to popular websites.
arzooo(dot)com’s growth in 2017 has been phenomenal, we exceeded our sales targets month after month, accumulating Rs 2 crore in sales in first 6 months. A milestone we never thought we would reach in such a short span. Our double-digit conversions are way higher than a traditional e-commerce website. About 25% of our customers are coming back within 3 months to make their next purchase. This is an amazing repeat buying pattern for a high value-low frequency categories that we have so far. The numbers are the great encouragement for a company which is just half a year into operations.
We are entering 2018 on the back of trust of thousands of customers and a better shopping and delivery experience while beating prices of all big e-commerce platforms over 3000 times so far. We are eying to hit Rs 50 Cr in sales in this year, and we are hopeful we will cross the mark before time once again.
By Khushnud Khan
who is Co-Founder & CEO arzooo(.)com has seen evolution of India’s consumer market and played a pivotal role in shaping some transformative businesses Like DTH, e-commerce and Consumer Electronics in India. His deep consumer insight and complimenting business acumen, makes him a sort after consumer tech leader in India. His passion and energy channelized towards making arzooo the most sought-after consumer platform, keeps him going day.