A group of engineers from IIT Delhi with very diverse backgrounds and extensive work experiences with leading MNCs - started eSportsBuy, an e-commerce store catering products and services to sports lovers in India. It was only after extensive offline and online research that co-founders Amit Monga and Prateek Agarwal were convinced of the huge opportunity that exists in India in the online sports goods space.Four months since the launch of their sports portal, let us find out about the progress and challenges from co-founder Prateek himself.
Prateek, tell us a bit about the market size that you are trying to capture?
eSportsBuy is not just about selling sports equipment, but several products and services that have a common sports and fitness theme and offer convenience or variety to online customers. These products and services include, but are not limited to: sports gear, apparel, footwear, and accessories. Additionally, eSportsBuy offers health and fitness equipment, sports nutrition/supplements, and sports event tickets. So, it is a billion dollar market that is potentially unexplored.
How has the response been so far for eSportsBuy?
The response has been beyond our expectations. It has only been four months since we launched eSportsBuy, and we have already generated substantial revenues. We have received orders from 30 different States and Union Territories of the country including one order from the Andaman & Nicobar Islands!
Where do you source the products from?
We have a network of brand owners, distributors, and super-dealers at various locations who enable us to source goods. We use Just in Time (JIT) inventory methods that allow us to keep essentially no inventory prior to the order.
What are the typical margins you make on the products sold?
Since we are new, we are offering introductory discounts ranging from 5% to 15% as a promotional strategy to expand our customer base. But, in spite of the discounts, we are able to make sufficient margins to sustain ourselves during the initial phase.
How many users visit eSportsBuy per day?
Recently, we started a marketing effort in which we give Rs 100 free discount coupons per purchase on eSportsBuy. It's still on and we are getting great response from it, our traction has reached 1000 unique visitors per day.
Going forward, how do you plan to market the portal?
Marketing is a big challenge since we have to reach out to a niche market which is sports interested customer base. We are presently trying several techniques to address this challenge. We are running a very pro-active social media marketing campaign on Facebook, Twitter etc. Our Facebook fan number is about to reach 6,000 and they actively participate in various contests, deals, and other activities which we frequently organize. We are also doing some offline promotion and marketing at different sports tournaments and complexes. Further, paid promotion through Google and Facebook advertising is also on track. Pretty soon we are going to start our CRM activity with customer-interest specific email campaigns.
Any additional features that you would soon be adding to the site?
Sports event’s tickets is one of our target categories and we will soon be selling tickets for major sporting events in the country.
Using which technology is the portal built?
The portal was developed completely in-house using PHP and various open source technologies.
Are you looking at hiring?
Yes, we are presently looking to hire a Software Development Engineer.
As an e-commerce site selling sports products, what are your challenges?
One major challenge is marketing and reaching out to our target market of sports interested customers. Another challenge is consolidating operations while having a smooth delivery line and keeping minimal inventory. Additionally, it can be challenging to enable the customer to overcome the “touch and feel” factor that they are normally used to when buying sports goods.
It would be interesting to see how niche e-commerce sites like eSportsBuy pick up in the months to come in India. Meanwhile, visit http://www.esportsbuy.com/ for further details.
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