OfficeYes – The Stationery Shop Near You
Put two Malayalees in a room and they will discuss politics and football very passionately. But put two Marwadis in a room and all they will talk about is business. While natives of Kerala are worldly-wise, business is not always their first love. Today we see a new wind of entrepreneurship blowing over state. As stories from Startup Village, Kochi gain momentum, two of their country cousins based in Delhi, have created one of India’s largest eCommerce business to supply stationery and office supplies.OfficeYes.com aims to be the Indian equivalent of Staples.com and is well on its way to reach that goal. Co-founded by Arvind Sivadas and Siddharth Nambiar, the website today boasts of over 5,000 clients across B2B, SME and B2C customers. Arvind was a consultant with McKinsey after his education from IIT Madras and IIM Calcutta, while Siddharth worked with Evalueserve, MAN Investments UK and in between also found the time to complete his MBA from Oxford University. These two friends-turned-business partners launched OfficeYes in May 2012 and within the short period of 10 months have grown impressively.
Over 5,000 clients, 100 employees and revenue projections of Rs 15 crore for this financial year end -- are some of the achievements that this startup has managed within their short span of existence. Quiz Siddharth how this was done and he credits his team for being the backbone of OfficeYes.com and taking it to the heights it is at now. “As a startup, you have to get the right people, give them the right framework then sit back and watch the magic. That’s what we’ve got. We got the right team in place, the right processes and that is resulting in the growth,” explains Siddharth. The OfficeYes team is a blend of graduates from IIM to people with over 10 years experience in buying or in eCommerce. And a recent proof of the pudding is the 50% growth that the startup achieved last month on the base of a crore.
Right from paper clips to office chairs, OfficeYes sells everything that an office would need. The site also sells laptops and tablets to cater to a growing number of working professionals who use these at work. According to Siddharth last month, the website sold 300 iPads and recently they announced the lowest price guarantee on all Apple products including iPhone 5, iPad, iPad Mini and MacBook Air. The lowest price guarantee is being offered on 43 Apple SKUs. Unlike other eCommerce site, the average order value on OfficeYes is in the region of Rs 35,000 – 45,000 and because of such large deals, the business economics also changes considerably.
To cater to its growing customer base, OfficeYes is also innovating in the way transactions are done. Apart from the usual payment options, OfficeYes also has a ‘cheque-on-delivery’ option where customers can pay by cheque after receiving the delivery. On their part, OfficeYes makes sure the business is authentic and there will be no problem encashing the cheque. Every customer who orders from the website has an account manager assigned to him/her, who calls to check if the order has reached properly and also talks to these companies to upsell any products they may require for the business.
To manage its stocks efficiently, OfficeYes uses a combination of inventory stocking as well as direct sourcing to fulfill the orders. “We have a core set of 100 SKUs that we stock and these SKUs can be delivered within the same day or next day delivery in metros. On the other hand if you need something unique, then it will reach in 2-3 days,” explains Siddharth. The 100-200 items that a normal business would normally require is stocked by the website. Today they have a good blend of orders coming from big cities as well as smaller towns. Metros contribute to 50% of the orders and the remaining 50% comes from places like Jorhat in Assam or Tirunelveli in TamilNadu.
The Next Level
Increasing retail connect - As their present business continues to grow, OfficeYes is looking at new directions to take their business forward. Siddharth wants to ensure that OfficeYes has an omni-channel retail presence, so orders can be placed over the phone, the shop, internet or through the salesman who meets you in person. OfficeYes is tying up with small stationery shops across the country and currently have both franchise and company owned stores. So when a customer walks into a neighbourhood shop, they can either order from the shop or place their order through a tablet located within the shop and OfficeYes will deliver the products to your doorstep.
OfficeYes is also working towards implementing a system, where if you have a business located in some remote corner of India, then you can place an order on OfficeYes.com and the website will partner with a local stationery shop and deliver the order to you within 6-8 hours instead of 3-4 days that an eCommerce company would normally take.
Corporate clients – OfficeYes today works with a number of MNCs including GE, Shell, Dupont, British Airways and TCI to cater to the stationery requirements of the entire organization. Each company has a microsite, where regional offices of the MNC can log into and place orders for stationery. While the order will get delivered to the local office, the invoice will be sent to the person who has the authority to approve such expenses for the company. “Such a microsite will ensure there are no leakages in the order placed and companies can see who is ordering what,” explains Siddharth. Today about 40% of OfficeYes orders are coming through this method and the remaining from SME and retail customers.
Entering Education – Another important area that OfficeYes is vying to enter is the large and lucrative space of school education. Today, they are already the authorized distributors of textbooks for Pearson Education, a US-based learning company. OfficeYes is in talks with other publishing companies to distribute their books to students. “School is a large space and we surely want to improve our presence there. But currently our focus is on the business segment,” says Siddharth. He says they are planning a mass media campaign related to the education space in the next month, when schools will reopen for classes.
Siddharth understands there are global biggies as well as well-entrenched local players as their competition, but he is confident they can make a difference if they have the best quality people with them. “We have to ensure we have the best team in place on marketing, technology, sales -- in all the areas. Part of people is also the culture and the organization we build, that people want to be a part of,” says Siddharth wisely.