Shopping online is slowly but steadily become popular in India. With better offers being provided by e-commerce portals and a number of payment options being made available, consumers have taken to shopping online with gusto.
A recent Edelweiss report projected that the opportunity size of the e-tail market in India will be worth USD 12 billion by 2016, and will be driven by apparels & lifestyle products, books and consumer electronics. An eBay Census for the year 2011 revealed that electronics and lifestyle products accounted for majority of the online sales in India. Electronics accounted for 50% of all online sales and lifestyle was next, with 36%.
Yebhi.com, one of the leading players in the lifestyle e-commerce space in India, must be excited about this projection. “Offline or physical retail was undergoing a struggle a couple of years back because of supply chain issues. They were unable to reach out to a large section of the market, because there was lack of streamlining in the delivery process. This prompted us to look at e-commerce,” said Manmohan Agarwal, CEO of Bigshoebazaar India Pvt Ltd, which owns NCR headquartered,Yebhi.com.
Before entering the e-commerce space, Manmohan noticed that most of the players present in the market were focused on hardline products like consumer electronics, mobiles, etc. Hence, he decided to focus on softline products like apparel, footwear, etc. This is how Yebhi.com was born in 2009.
Manmohan started his entrepreneurial journey in the 90s. After having worked in the mining industry for a while, Manmohan took on the role of CEO at Vishal Retail, which helped him understand the retail market better. With an innate knack of understanding maths and how it impacts businesses, Manmohan is clearly committed to leading the revolution which the Indian e commerce in undergoing.
In the past 2.5 years, Yebhi.com has performed well in the e-commerce space. The quality of customer service is a primary reason for that. “We have a streamlined workflow in place, which ensures that the time between a customer placing an order and the product being shipped from our end is not more than 1-2 hours. We call this the ‘click to ship’ time, and we take pride in the speed and efficiency we bring here” informed Manmohan.
“We are an inventory model based company and have a half million square foot warehouse in Gurgaon. Our customer care unit is functional 24x7. We deliver to about 11,000 pin codes in India, including Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities,” added Manmohan.
Their aim is to ensure ‘last mile delivery’ across India. Yebhi.com already has 14 delivery hubs in India and will soon expand to 24 delivery hubs. In the Delhi NCR area, Yebhi has its in-house delivery mechanism in place. They have tie-ups with third-party services for delivery in other parts of the country.
“On Yebhi.com, about 50% of the transactions are paid online and for the other 50%, COD is the preferred mode,”informed Manmohan. (IAMAI statistics show that debit card and online banking is the preferred payment mode, with 61% payments made this way. Credit cards were next, with usage in 50% payments. Cash on delivery came in third, with usage in 24% payments. The reason for this is that cash on delivery is a major challenge from the business point of view and hence is not offered by a number of e-commerce companies.)
“Most people in India still prefer to pay by cash and they also want to have the product in hand before making payment. From the business point of view, COD is a major challenge. The turnaround time is longer and often, the products are returned by the customer. The overhead costs of proving COD services mean that the margins also get reduced to a great extent,” said Manmohan.
“As Yebhi.com works on the inventory model, providing COD services is not an issue for us. Those who work on the catalogue model can get into trouble while providing a COD option,” Manmohan added.
An interesting statistic that we got to know about Yebhi.com is that 40% of the consumers visiting the site are women, which is an anomaly. In most of the other similar sites, 70% of the traffic comprises men.
“From the outset, Yebhi.com has been a capital/cash efficient company. We have attracted two rounds of funding so far. In 2010, we raised a Series A round of funding from Nexus Venture Partners and we followed it up with a Series B in 2011 from Catamaran Ventures and Nexus Venture Partners. In comparison to our competitors, we burn 3-6 times less capital. We will be raising more capital soon. We are currently in talks regarding the same,” concluded Manmohan.
How Yebhi.com will fare in the already heated e commerce space is yet to be seen, but with Manmohan at the helm of the venture we can clearly except the Indian consumers to say, “Humaare pass Yebhi Hai”!
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