Chirag Alreja calls himself a crusader for intelligent innovations, which is why he founded hitplay.in. An audio engineer by profession, it took him a few years to take that leap of faith and do what he was always passionate about. Hitplay is a dream come true for Chirag and he is working towards making it bigger and better.Anisha Mehta from YourStory.in finds out more
Tell us something about Hitplay
HitPlay is a platform for innovators and people seeking high quality innovative products.
How did the idea come about?
I was looking for a good, high quality FM transmitter to listen to my World Space satellite radio over an FM shower radio, but could not find it. I have always been into gadgets since childhood and realised that there are not many players in the market that offer such products, and Hitplay was born.
Chirag, can you tell us about your prior work experience?
I am an audio engineer by education. My family is involved in the garment manufacturing and export business. I worked in the sector for a year and later moved to the music business. But I never felt any sense of gratification. Therefore, I chose to do something I am passionate about - gadgets.
How much capital did you invest in Hitplay?
Initially, on identifying some cool products, I borrowed Rs 22,000 from a friend to bring in some samples. My father didn’t give me any money because he wanted me to learn the nuances and difficulties of setting up a venture. However, I sourced and pooled in Rs 5 lakhs to kickstart Hitplay. We have now broken even and are self-sustaining our marketing activities.
How long has it been since the site went live?
It has been six months.
What are your challenges as an entrepreneur in the e-commerce industry?
Promoting your product is a huge challenge. Also, though people value innovation, they do not agree with the price. I call it modern art but sadly, the market is extremely price sensitive and we need to overcome this challenge.
Define your target audience and how do you market to them?
People in the age group of 24 – 40 years are our target consumers. We cater to enthusiasts who love life and are well-travelled. People love change and we understand that really well. We keep our communication very clear, simple and personal, and appreciate constructive feedback. Whether big or small, we’re happy to create our own market organically. Many of our wares are just lovable and playful extensions of traditional products. We work with direct consumers as well as large corporations for their gifting needs.
How do you source or create products listed on Hitplay?
We stumble upon new innovations every day. If your product has the potential, we will bring it in, localise it, and get you to manufacture it as per our specifications and list in on the site. InIndia, we’re working with very selective local partners in an open source manner. We select a partner if they offer a good quality product, if it’s priced right, is useful and innovative. Hitplay is an endeavour to build an impressive gadget eco-system online.
How many users visit the site daily and how much does it translate into sales?
When hitplay.in started, the sales were barely one to three units a week. It has been six months now and we sell more than a hundred units every week. Though, our site traffic isn’t high, yet. Our target is to reach the figure of 1000+ sales a day and we are confident we will get there.
How does your supply chain work?
Simplifying and solidifying our ground work takes a lot of time. If you look us up on eBay or elsewhere, I think we’re probably one of the best e-stores in handling logistics. We stock up on pretty much everything and normally, it takes only a day to get an order ready. Ideally, orders placed before 5 pm are usually delivered by the next day.
If you can tell us about your revenue model with your suppliers.
For locally purchased products, we offer our suppliers the same margin on our products that they offer us on theirs.
Did you build the site from scratch; used your own code?
Yes. We scanned over hundreds of developers and couldn’t find anything suitable. Eventually, I designed it myself from scratch. We then got a partner to put it together for us. It’s made on ASP.net.
Which delivery service and payment gateway do you use?
We use FedEx Priority. Our payment gateway is directly provided by HDFC bank for credit/debit cards or Atom Technologies for net banking.
How big is your team? Are you looking at hiring?
Our website team is comprised of five people. Yes, we are looking at hiring.
Are you planning to add any new features to the site?
We believe in constantly doing something new. We are looking at adding a live chat option on the site and will be trying the option of cash on delivery for our customers. We are adding a new CRM system and deploying a data cloud to manage inventory, media kits, etc.