Aaj Ka Catch was started with the intent to create a simplistic online platform that would help give Indian consumers access to products at lowest prices possible that are not readily available in the country. Here you will find interesting pieces like a flying alarm clock, an air guitar, a phone charger stand, LED coasters and even a chocolate notepad. It is a one-deal-a-day website that was founded by Nikhil Kumar along with his partner Nitish Modi in 2010 inHyderabad.After completing his degree in operations management from the University of Melbourne, Nikhil worked as business consultant in a Melbourne-based consulting firm and then later at GE as a business development manager. “While studying inMelbourne, I also got involved in teaching and started teaching undergraduate students at the university. I was always passionate about creating something from scratch that would let people share a story. A flying alarm clock (one of our popular product) can be a decent piece of conversation between two friends,” says Nikhil.
“Working as a business development manager inAustraliagot me thinking about the possibilities of starting up an e-commerce venture inIndia. To do so, I knew that we had to be in control of our supply chain and this would ensure that we could sell products to customers at the cheapest price possible. Therefore, I started importing the products myself. This gave us control on pricing and selection of products. From day one, we knew that we wanted it to be different and did not want our customers to be lost among hundreds of products. Thus, we decided that the site would have just one deal a day website focused on exclusive products,” explains Nikhil.
Nikhil always yearned to be an entrepreneur and while working on Aaj Ka Catch, he wanted the business to be seamless and less capital intensive. Hence, he was focused on eliminating fixed costs. “I had some savings and this got me started. Initially, when I started operations for Aaj Ka Catch, we managed the entire operations from a small room. We adopted an approach of hiring specialists only when they were required and paid them on a per unit basis. This helped us immensely as we did not invest much in the cost of operations,” he adds.
Nikhil feels that it is imperative that small e-commerce companies stay under cost and still continue to grow. “There were many challenges that I encountered as an entrepreneur in the e-commerce space. First was expertise. It is difficult to gain access to experts who would provide you the right direction. So it very important to learn from your actions and ensure mistakes are not repeated again. Sourcing funds is another challenge. Where to invest and where not to invest will always be a critical decision and being smart while making choices and having a stern cost effective insight is always beneficial in this case. Also, when you are competing with giants in a space which is getting crowded every day, surviving and getting through is a huge challenge,” he points out. And to survive, the product you sell has to unique. Nikhil adds, “Our biggest USP is that our products are different, innovative, exclusive and more importantly affordable. They make our customers look cool and serve as a great conversation piece. We are not competing with anyone in a traditional sense; not in terms of price or service, as our products are so different.”
Nikhil wants to reach out to consumers like college students and the only way he can attract them is by having an effective pricing model. “They should be able to buy products from the site with the limited resources they have at their disposal. Thus, affordability is a crucial element while deciding the positioning of our products. Our average price per product is less than Rs 500,” he says.
As for sourcing these innovative products, Aaj Ka Catch controls the major share of its supply chain thereby eliminating any supplier and need for dependency. For delivering the same to their end users, Aaj Ka Catch has tied-up with multiple logistic partners to ensure order fulfillment. Aramex, first flight, DTDC, Bluedart among others are used to ensure prompt delivery. “We offer unprecedented services like same day dispatch if the product is ordered before 4 pm. We use Direcpay as our payment gateway,” says Nikhil.
It has been more than a year since Aaj Ka Catch was born and it is growing ever since. Nikhil feels that since it is a daily deal website and only sells one product a day, the scope for expansion both lateral and parallel exists in this field. “Aaj ka Catch has been recently acquired by eMudhra Consumer Service Limited and this will give us the access to resources and markets that we haven’t catered to before. We will soon becomeIndia’s first website to be certified with ISO 27001:2005,” shares Nikhil.
And there are many more ventures that entrepreneur Nikhil is planning to start. They will soon launch a jewellery portal on a similar format, which will feature exclusive brands and products from other categories. Also, Aaj Ka Catch will strive to feature more innovative products and sell them to its customers.
Go to www.aajkacatch.com for further details!