While most of the e-commerce majors ventured into online retail through an inventory led model, Gurgaon- based ShopClues was the first to evangelize the managed marketplace from day one. Started in 2011 with a 10- member team, the company has come a long way and now employs over 550 people; and processes 1.5 million plus transactions on a monthly basis.
With its $100 million Series D funding, ShopClues is in a position to fight with heavily funded peers like Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon. The company is using funds to spruce up its tech backbone and fuel marketing campaigns. “We will invest in everything that will enable more sellers to come on our platform. Our focus is to be the largest platform for unstructured, mass market, high-margin product categories,” says Radhika Aggarwal, Cofounder, ShopClues.
Before Series D, ShopClues had raised an undisclosed amount in previous Angel A, B and C rounds from investors including Netprice’s CEO Teruhide Sato, Helion Venture Partners and Nexus Venture Partners. In terms of business growth, ShopClues has been growing at over 600 per cent on a yearly basis. “This sort of growth clearly places us amongst the fastest growing e-commerce ventures in the country,” Radhika adds.
The Tiger Global funded company recently started mass advertising on TV, however, it’s the only e-commerce company to have scored at Rank 60 on Alexa with no mass-media. “We took to mass-media only after we had built strong fundamentals – robust tech platform, a strong seller base, well-oiled fulfillment systems and solid marketing machinery. With all this in place, our TVC then helped to generate brand awareness and exposed us to new customer pools,” says Radhika.
“ShopClues is a brand built largely on word-of-mouth. Satisfied customers are our biggest evangelists,” outlines Radhika. Importantly, it’s the only ecommerce portal that was launched on Facebook. While in the beta stage, customers have to ‘like’ ShopClues on Facebook to be able to shop on its site. ShopClues also relies heavily on digital marketing channels like search, SEO and email marketing.
Close to 70 per cent of its Gross Merchandising Value (GMV) comes from tier II and III cities. Home and kitchen, unbranded apparel, auto accessories, phone and laptop accessories are top revenue generating categories for ShopClues.
Unlike other marketplaces, which tend to focus on mobile, electronics, computers and branded fashion, ShopClues focuses on unstructured categories which contribute to 2/3rd of its revenues. When it comes to profitability the company plans to break even by mid 2016. “We’re steady on the path to profitability and will break even by first half of the next year,” outlines Radhika.
With its Series D, ShopClues plans to touch the two million order mark on monthly basis by July- August this year. Speaking about the outlook of e-commerce this year, Radhika anticipates, “A year of great expectations, consolidation and competition. We’ll see several product and service categories that have traditionally relied on offline retail - like FMCG, real estate etc - go online.”