As the world of new-age e-commerce brands finds its footing in the day-to-day lives of Indian consumers, brands like AskMe are looking at newer and more innovative ways to capture their attention. In an exclusive interaction with exchange4media, Manav Sethi, Group Head – Marketing and Digital Products, AskMe, shares his views on the industry’s growth prospects.
How does the year look for the industry as a whole?
According to an industry report, the e-commerce industry in India is an $11-billion market and is estimated to reach $20 billion in 2015. E-commerce is one industry that is rapidly growing in India. Its reach and accessibility has lured a large number of buyers and sellers towards it. With a sharp increase in the participation of consumers from tier II and III cities, there is a tremendous opportunity for growth. I believe that the current year would be more exciting as it would add an extra mileage to the industry. In fact, increase in internet penetration, adoption of smartphones and lower data rates, the online shopping space will grow faster.
What are the challenges that will be faced by businesses like yours in 2015?
The e-commerce industry is not only associated with technology, but also strategy and management. The promotion of right information is required more than the hardware and physical infrastructure for the sector. Hence, the creation of a policy and regulatory environment is essential for the smooth running and development of the industry. Also, the e-commerce business rests on customer trust as customers visit a specific portal to order a product based on the website’s credibility. There are times when a customer receives empty packages or fake products, which damage the reputation of e-commerce players. With a proper regulatory framework and more secure processes such instances can be avoided, be it on the company’s end or on part of its distribution partners, i.e. the warehouse and logistics companies.
Where do you see the business going in the next 3-5 years?
With more than 800 million mobile customers in India and a handful of them accessing internet on their handsets, there is a huge untapped market that can be explored. We at AskMe understand the existing potential and are synergising both voice and internet medium to help SMEs reach out to the right target audience. As a result, we already have over 8 million merchants on AskMe and are expecting 12,000 new paid advertisers by the next month. The numbers show how we have been growing exponentially year-on-year. Continuing with our efforts, we are looking at a tremendous growth that runs parallel to the success story of SMEs and India internet story.
Please share AskMe’s journey so far.
AskMe, the flagship product from GetitInfomedia, is an online search platform to provide information across merchants, deals, classified and commerce. It is globally the first mobile-focused all-in-one integrated solution to find information related to anything and everything – be it restaurants, spa, taxi services, travel, matrimony, jobs, education, mobile, gadgets, etc.
AskMe is evolving as a “new age consumer internet brand” that provides convenience and new level of consumer delight to today’s youth instantly. It has a wide portfolio of cutting-edge consumer features (from local search, classifieds, Deals, Buy Now, Cal l Now) catering to lead generation of all kinds of SMEs. These features available on apps, WAP, Voice, social messaging, Telecos, web, video platforms, etc. work on the business model of generating leads for SMEs and be an e-marketplace for them across India and South East Asia.
What are the key innovations that stand out for AskMe since its launch?
Launched in July 2014, AskMe is available 24x7 to consumers across all major cities in India and is the only one-stop destination that makes it convenient for customers to find anything and everything on one single platform. AskMe is globally the first, cutting-edge, mobile-driven, all-in-one consumer destination, which provides a simple, engaging, seamless platform for the target group’s hyper-local needs of search, classifieds, deals, shop, just call etc. We believe that India is focusing immensely on SMEs and we offer online presence to small and medium business in India, which can benefit them by opening new market opportunities.