How this e-commerce startup positioned itself against Amazon, Flipkart and others
Books were the first category of products with wich both Amazon and Flipkart started out. This immensely addressed the pain point of book lovers, who often struggled to find books earlier, but could now surf through a voluminous library just by the click of a button. Since then, various players have explored opportunity in this particular category.
A few years ago, when Sushant Rajputra and Shravan Kumar were pursuing engineering and subsequently management studies, they noticed the gap students face when it comes to sourcing course-specific examination and competitive entrances books. They also found that procuring State-specific competitive books became more difficult as each State has its own recruitment process.
With an aim to ensure the reach of study material to the student community and employment seekers efficiently, Sushant and Shravan launched Shopeyard in April 2014. The Hyderabad-based platform says that it has made efforts to reach out to the students and job seekers of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as an integrated online portal for all study material needs of student community and job seekers.
The duo bootstrapped the business with personal savings of Rs 15 lakh to establish operations and for marketing.
“Our initial struggle started with setting up the establishment, after which we had to convince and tackle stakeholders such as publishers, distributors and logistic partners. Besides, a tremendous amount of efforts were also put into get around the potential and targeted customers for website visits, followed by converting those visits into orders,” says 25-year-old Sushant.
Now, after almost two years, the platform claims to show a steady growth. During its first year, it clocked a revenue of Rs 5.5 lakh. This fiscal it expects to generate Rs 35 lakh in revenue. It has over 14,500 registered customers currently.
Shopeyard has tied up with more than 20 publishers/distributors, helping to source books and study materials of over 80 publications catering to over 120 entrance exams.
Market and competition
According to Nielsen India Book Market Report 2015, India’s book market, currently worth Rs 261 billion making it the sixth largest in the world and the second largest of the English-language ones, is expected to touch Rs 739 billion by 2020. The study estimates a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 19.3 per cent for the industry in the next five years.
Horizontally, many e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Paytm are into the space and sell books across the category from fiction to non-fiction to competitive exam books.
When asked about competition posed by the biggies, Sushant says, “When we decided to build the platform, due consideration was given for the segment attractiveness and competition. As a strategy, we focus to position Shopeyard as a single-window portal for any or all study materials. As we positioned it as a single portal, we don’t anticipate much competition in the segment in view of our focus strategy from other online marketers.”
Taking on challenges
Reaching out to the target market is one of the major hurdles in the segment. Shopeyard claims to do it via various marketing and tactical plans.
Besides, it’ working out logistics and quality services by bringing in several logistics partners on the board.
Growth prospect and product roadmap
Apart from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, Shopeyard has expanded its reach into neighbouring State Karnataka, and has presence across India for sourcing of study material for any national-level competitive exam.
As of now, it’s looking at increasing its geographical footprint, and increasing product catalogue by adding more State-level competitive/academic from other States. It is also working on various tools that will help users access all the information related to any exam and also create awareness among users about the number of opportunities that are out there which, at times, go unseen.
“Our endeavour is to build a web platform where users can order books/study materials for academics and every competitive/job entrances, conducted at state and national level,” concludes Sushant.