Tushar Kansal, Founder COO, Indus B2C Global talks about his e-commerce ventures, the challenges faced by the Indian dotcom sector and the growth trajectory of Indian entrepreneurs.
Q. What is the core focus of each of your dotcom ventures?
A. Indus B2C, the holding company, has the following divisions:
1. E-commerce: Mega Mart retailing Global aggregated brand of Wellness products LeModish.com
Vithi.com, the e-commerce venture is positioned as a single-stop for getting curated Branded products for right quality at each price point. The portal retails Export quality products from India – starting with Wellness, Handicrafts and Food.
2. E-learning: http://www.IndusTutors.com offering Hindi Language Proficiency Test http://www.HLPT.com
3. Gaming: http://www.UIXinteractive.com offering multiplayer games http://www.BlackQueenGame.com, http://www.PanchPatti.com
4. Astrology: http://www.AstroLifeQs.com offering holistic solutions through an untapped branch of Vedic astrology.
5. Financial Advisory: http://www.Kansaltancy.com – Promoter’s Financial Advisory division
6. Sports: http://www.Sportszoid.com – Sports info of 20 Sports, based out of Singapore. It is held independently and not through the holding company.
How do you plan to target the youth which are the major users of internet with your product/ service offerings?
Our youth is aware, hence aspirational and since he lacks time, he is impatient. He is Brand conscious and not only Price conscious. He demands great service. Look of product matters to him. Mobile is an integral part of company’s strategy – Our sites are responsive and Mobile/ Tablet optimized. We plan to launch dedicated apps, both for Apple (iPhone/ iPad) and Android devices.
The differentiating factor with other companies is the Company’s Customer Care. Customer satisfaction is focal point of entire business plan. Towards this end, products are well packaged and company ensures excellent delivery. We have a sophisticated IT backup system for creating database of any customer who contacts us. Indeed, all visitors on site are targeted through remarketing and persisted with to complete their orders. In future, we will tie-up with a Call Centre to ensure full customer satisfaction.
What challenges do you face in the Indian dotcom space?
Today India has over 200 million internet users representing about 16% of its population, and it ranks third in the world behind only China and USA. It is also among the three fastest growing markets for internet usage worldwide, according to a study conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) and comScore.
The non-travel e-commerce market size is estimated to touch USD 70 billion by 2020 – with an impressive CAGR of 61%. By all accounts it appears that the growth of e-commerce in India is at an inflection point.
The challenge though is that the number of people actually shopping is a fraction of that, at 120 million. That is because in developed markets, infrastructure was quite developed by the time e-commerce came in. People had credit cards, the market had gone through TV shopping, catalogue shopping etc. In India, all that is new.
Another challenge is that price discounting is seen as enabler for driving topline in India. Way forward is to bring manufacturers directly on board to the marketplaces, removing middlemen, and creating marquee branding. World class brands like Samsung, Apple are successful since they caged the Brand parrot more than the Price pigeon. These two can work to make e-Commerce successful at Alibaba scale in India.
What are the trends in digital content/ services do you forecast in the coming years?
Digital content/ services trends, per me:
Cross platform content and services
Increasing Mobile based with Smartphones/ 4G/ 5G
Bing and Yahoo might go up
Mobile will be king
In-app ads on Google apps
Google algorithm might be based on facts, not on links, as per current Google thinking
Technology and Digital Marketing more standardised and widely accepted
What are your thoughts on the Government fast-tracking entrepreneurship in India? How do you see the entrepreneur space booming in the future?
Seed investment climate in India is very robust. Indeed, start-up climate in India has been ranked at top worldwide in a recent poll. Money has no colour but I can say it does in some aspects when it comes to Seed. For one, companies like us always look for patient Series A, followed by quick B and C; this is since we are confident that this business will scale at lightning speed with A. We’ll look for funding at right stage and are not in a hurry since proof of concept has been established and traffic is towards a steep upward curve. That said, having been a Private Equity (PE) guy myself, I would be conscious to accept PE on the right terms in best interests of the company.
Government can do best by keeping bureaucracy from getting over excited and increasing approval requirements, instead, it should focus on curbing their powers and looking at innovative solutions. A lot of improvement is happening on the ground though - recent initiatives of the Government are very welcome – Ease of business, Make in India, Land acquisition bill, Start-up Seed Fund etc. Indeed, I am happy to say that we faced no problems at all in starting the company – All statutory requirements like VAT/ IEC Code etc. were seamless, though they did take little extra time.
Entrepreneurs today, need to be very innovative to make profits, but scalability is not a challenge in India. Old SME families are, though, motivating their children to be MNC salaried, this is because competition and instability has increased with concurrent reduction in margins. But our country is full of first generation entrepreneurs and will continue to be so given that end demand and consumption is so huge, presenting myriad opportunities.
Western funds look at a 10-15 year exit window since their return expectations are much lower. India has a more impatient PE ecosystem.