Laptopwale: Employing Economies of Scale to Run a Profit MakingeCommerce Business
Hari Rastogi, a mentor at the Entrepreneurship cells of IIT-Bombay, NIT Trichy and S.P. Jain Management College, is also an entrepreneur and Laptopwale is his second venture. He ran a successful financial services company for four years from 2007 before regulatory changes forced him to close down.The eCommerce scene was picking up and the thought of building a differentiated eCommerce portal was swirling in Hari’s head ever since 2008. “There were and are a huge number of eCommerce companies running with fundamentally loss making models. Very similar to the dotcom bust of the 2000s, many eCommerce companies in India today are spending millions of dollars of investor money to attract new customers. I strongly believe that a customer should come to an online store because s/he is assured of getting a good mix of value and convenience; this has to happen organically – by word of mouth and through referrals. Bombarding online users will advertisements on every page, spamming millions, jacked-up / dressed-up discounts and deals to attract customers will not be beneficial in the long run. I’m running an ethical business; I want to deliver value to my customers but not by splurging away investor money. Laptopwale is modeled as a differentiated & uniquely positioned portal focused on assisted selling of laptop, tablets and associated peripherals at the lowest rates without making losses!” exclaims Hari Rastogi, founder and COO at Laptopwale.
Having been involved closely with colleges, the site design and logo have been crowdsourced from the student community and the site went live on April 18, 2012. “Since our launch, we have been seeing over 400% week-on-week growth in our user base and all this has been achieved organically. We have not spent a single rupee on generating paid traffic. Growing traffic aside, most importantly, we have been able to achieve higher than industry standard conversions,” he adds. At the time of going to press, Laptopwale.com has an India Alexa ranking of 16800, which has been steadily improving at the rate of 500 – 750 every day.
Laptopwale sells laptops, tablets and IT peripherals at highly competitive prices.
What allows them to do this? “We know what the customer wants and we buy in bulk. The fast running devices are sometimes bought in lots of 200 or more.Our strong focus, domain knowledge, attractive pricing strategies coupled with our strong tie-ups with OEMs & our unrelenting focus on customer delight differentiate us in this highly fragmented marketspace. The foundations of how we do this are built on fast moving products, a superior shopping experience and customer service aimed at WOWing every customer. To enable this, we've brought together a team of people who have deep experience in Retail, Warehouse Management, Logistics and E-Commerce.” says Hari.
Vinod, an alumnus of IIM &CMU with 17 years of experience in the IT sector is the CEO at Laptopwale. They also have an enthusiastic young team consisting of fulltime employees and interns from leading IITs. Vinod adds four core values that guide Laptopwale:
- Wow each and every customer
- Grow through word-of-mouth & repeat customers
- Ensure Fast & Accurate Order Fulfillment
- Deliver Friendly & Expert Customer Service
Laptopwale are also involved in bulk deals with colleges and the student community. Offering exclusive deals laptops, tablets and accessories have propelled them on the profit-making growth. Laptopwale manages a part of its logistics in-house but also has tie-ups with leading courier companies to cover pan India locations. They see a bulk of their business coming from Delhi, Orissa, Maharashtra, apart from Bangalore.
Moving forward, Laptopwale aim to be the biggest in the field and do no-nonsense business providing value to both the buyers and the sellers and in the process consolidating their presence.