On a personal note, Sumit adds, “My wife and I became proud pet parents 3 years back in Mumbai. We were constantly on a lookout for quality products for our pets but the search was quite a challenge. In the year 2010 when I visited US for work, I noticed that PetSmart and PetCo had large formats in the US for the pets and was quite interesting. That's how I got the idea of doing something like that for pets in India.”
For the last 14+ years Sumit has worked with various brands from their inception including Reliance Entertainment, ebookers, Indiatimes and Customer Centria on one end and in Consulting space with Deloitte on the other. In each role he focused on building customer experiences through Digital Strategies and Customer Engagement tools. “Ravish Sharma the CTO and I have been in discussion on the project since June last year but did kick-start it till January 2011. Ravish is B-Tech and PMI certified with over 13 years managing Program Management and Technology Delivery for E-Commerce businesses (primarily travel and insurance). He seemed right to drive technology for our business. We both finally launched our website AskForPets in May 2012,” adds Sumit. Mid July, Mohit Bansal, came on board to drive Strategy & Operations. He currently holds the position of a Director at Vidyamandir Classes, a Rs 60 crore IITJEE Test prep company and is an entrepreneur since 2005. His first venture, Learninghour, was acquired by Educomp Solutions in 2007. Their current team strength is 4, which includes 1 runner who helps them with deliveries in Delhi NCR.
AskForPets has over 2200 products across all categories of pets including dogs, cats, birds, small animals and fish. Over 20 products are added every week. Their sourcing is mostly demand based however they do maintain inventory of a few hundred SKUs ranging across categories where they enjoy brand exclusivity. They ensure that at least 95% of the orders do not alter after being placed as we plan the right monthly inventory requirements.
“For a niche category startup, we seem to be growing well with a 80% growth month on month. As a strategy we are aiming at the bottom line with strong average order values than to focus on volume at the moment. We want our customers to be advocates and we constantly receive feedback from our customer that they find our website to be the best in the country with the widest range of quality products. We want to drive viral and organic growth than spending on acquiring just a registered base. We have a very healthy loyal customer base who buys with us at-least once every 2 months,” says Sumit, talking about the traction the startup has observed.
In recent news, Askforpets, joined hands with Pepperfry, founded by Ambresh Murthy, ex-CEO of eBay India and is an Indian marketplace for artisans, craftsmen, SMEs and businesses.
Such an alliance bears testimony to the growing synergy between niche businesses and marketplaces in the e-commerce domain in an attempt to increase their share of consumer’s wallet. While the tie-up will help AskForPets to reach out to Pepperfry’s customers, a much wider captive base; it definitely enhances the portfolio of products and services for Pepperfry.
“We look forward to this partnership with Pepperfry and aim to make a significant contribution to the double-digit YoY growth that Pet Care market sees in India today. As per Euro monitor reports, Pet Care in India is currently pegged at a little over 800 Crores but is yet to blossom and is also considered to be one of the fastest growing markets across the globe with a potential to reach the top league with US, Japan and Brazil,” adds Sumit on a concluding note.