Buying Online Helps
April 2013

Buying Online Helps

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Manoj ChandraMetros continue to be a potential market in eCommerce, but the real growth will come from small cities, says Manoj Chandra, Founder & CEO, AllSchoolStuff.com, in conversation with Pragya Gupta, ENN

Please tell us about the growth pattern of eCommerce in India.
The Business-to-Consumer (B2C) business through eCommerce is growing immensly due to the penetration of the Internet. Earlier, people used to search the Internet for information, and now, they browse for products and services. They transact when they find value in what is being offered in terms of price, choice, convenience and service. I believe eCommerce will soon penetrate into every part of the country. This is because our country has a large geography and people in small towns do not have access to a lot of good products and services. These customers are amongst the first people to browse the web for the products they require. In fact, 80 percent of our customer base is from tier one and two cities. Metros continue to be a potential market, but the real growth will come from small cities.
The market potential is two-billion dollar but there are a very few players in this space.

How did the idea of launching an eCommerce portal exclusively for education come to your mind?
I have worked with the shoe company – Bata that used to be the predominant player in the shoe market. We realised that parents find it a challenge to get the right pair of shoes at the right time for their kids. Therefore, we started selling school shoes online which turned out to be a great success. This triggered the thought in my mind that there exists a possibility of parents wanting to buy things for their kids online. Today, everything you need is sold by different vendors. That was where we thought we should aggregate the things needed by parents at one place to give them convenience. That is how Allshcoolstuff born in September 2011.

What strategies drive the portal?
We began very small with some books and stationery items. Primarily, our outreach has been through social media and emails. Now we have half a million fans on Facebook. From `50,000 in the first month, our sales have grown to rupee one crore in just twelve months.

Please throw light on your approach to your consumers.
We have a two-pronged outreach. One is B2C through our online retail store, where we offer around 25,000 categories of products.
At the B2B level, a lot of small schools buy from us online. We work directly with large organised school chains also.We also work with school chains and help them in outsourcing their requirement in setting up their schools and student-specific needs.
We are the only organised player in the market, both as a retailer and outsource supplier. We are also penetrating into retail from school supply segment and participating in various forums to reach out to schools and educational institutions.

What kind of growth do you foresee for the company?
Considering the rapid pace at which we are growing, we hope to become a Rs 100-crore-business in the next couple of years. We would also like to achieve a scale of operation to make a difference.

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