YS: Tell us about the new initiatives. The ideation process and implementation.
BB: There are a couple of great initiatives which we have implemented since past 4 months and it has given a 3 fold boost to the top line:
1. Bucketbolt API: Bucketbolt API can be integrated into any platform. Here our product feeds can be plugged into any learning management systems, content websites or any other education portal. It is a complete white label solution and students visiting our partner sites feel it’s a book store by partner site. Students feel that they are buying books from partner site but actually they buy it from Bucketbolt. We handle the complete logistics, delivery and payment part and give affiliate fees to our partners. Thus it is a win -win situation for us as well as our partner site. Partner website can monetize their traffic through book selling and Bucketbolt get a good reach geographically and academically. This API has an edge over existing affiliate program by who's who of industry because we provide a white label solution to our partners and their customers are not dragged out of the site.
2. Book Bank: This is another great initiative where we penetrate directly inside the college. Book bank is a initiative where we create a separate micro-site for the college under Bucketbolt domain. It is marketed and channelized by student committee in the college. Here the entire college buys books through this micro-site and they can sell the book on the site itself.
We have developed a system where a student who has bought books online from Bucketbolt can also sell the book online. While selling his bought books a student gets 2 options whether to get Cash back on returning the books OR to get the amount credited into his Bucketbolt account for future buying of books. Also students who have not bought books from Bucketbolt can sell the book to us and in return they get Bucketbolt credit worth the amount of their book sale.
YS: Great numbers! Can you elaborate the numbers in terms of where the customers are coming from, geographically?
BB: Currently we are doing around Rs.12 lakhs in monthly sales and our average sales for the past 3 months is Rs. 10 lakhs/month. This is just the start of our new initiatives and we hope to cross Rs. 20 lakhs in monthly sales by December.
Our majority of the customers are from Mumbai & Pune as we have a good catalogue of local university based books in Mumbai and Pune. We are building up on our catalogue to include all local university based books for at least 10 universities. This in turn will help our affiliates to monetize their traffic better. The reason behind we concentrate more on local university based books is because in any university almost 95% of the students prefer reading local university specific syllabus based books and not reference books. This gives us better proposition compared to our competitors.
YS: How has the revenue model evolved? How do you generate the majority of revenue currently?
BB: Till last year our major chunk of the revenues came from B2B operations i.e. through supply of academic books to libraries, educational institutes etc. But from past 6 months more than 60% of the revenues come from B2C sales. i.e through individual students buying books online.
YS: What is the team size and how are you hiring?
BB: We have our own logistics team for Mumbai & Pune and we feel that is the most cost effective way to manage reverse logistics. For rest of India we have tie-ups with domestic courier companies.
Coming back to team size, we have 7 member team responsible for business development, marketing and logistics. We have another 6 person logistics team in Mumbai which handles day in and day out procurement and supply chain. In Pune we have 1 guy for operations and 2 people for logistics. So for Mumbai & Pune we have our own logistics + courier companies.
Currently we are hiring majorly for operations and supply chain management as we are looking to start operations in couple of universities in next 2-3 months.
YS: What are your expansion plans and how are you placed in terms of funding?
BB: As far as expansion plans are concerned, we want implement this rental model in another 10 universities in next 2 years. In past 1 year we have served more than 11,000 students across Mumbai & Pune. Seeing our current reach and the potential in the business model, we have a target audience of more than 10 million students across 10 universities and our goal is to serve 200,000 students in next 2 years.
Currently we have raised some money from friends and family but from the month of July we are doing an operational break-even. So the money will be utilized for expansion and consolidating our reverse logistics. But the money is not enough to help us expand to another 10 universities in 2 years, so currently we are looking for strategic investment which will not only help us monetarily but also strategically to expand our operations in multiple cities.
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