While everyone is busy talking about BookMyShow's growth in revenue from Rs 130 crore to Rs 240 crore and their claims of making 12 to 15 million ticket sales every month with a GMV of Rs 2,500 crore Ashish Hemrajani, co-founder, believes that these aren't the metrics that drive them.
Explaining the metrics they focus on, Ashish says:
When you go to a rock concert, you have over 1,00,000 people, you have to build trenches, work with satellites, put in optic fibres, and the list is endless. The guy who is running the entire warehousing of this inventory and manages it, used to be an office boy at BookMyShow. My customer services head used to be a call centre agent, was a team leader, became a supervisor, and now leads a team of 250 people. It's how you value the people around you that is extremely important.
Apart from how you value the people you have been with, Ashish believes that frugality, whether you have the money or not, helps you grow. He adds that the office has its alternate light bulbs off, the air-conditioning is at 24 degrees, and BookMyShow uses pins and paper even today. Ashish says:
The metric of land grab, market opportunity, market size, universe of the market, how much valuation you have is absolute rubbish. Companies do not grow and are not built on these metrics.
The team looks at building a customer base through common sense. The BookMyShow team goes back to the drawing board, looks at interactions, and focus on the product. They began with focusing on what makes consumer behaviour tick in India. Ashish adds that movies are the cheapest form of indoor entertainment and it is also socially acceptable to go for movies with families.
When the team looked at this, they began launching products that met the expectations. In India, there are 1.2 billion people with 900 handsets, and 200 million smartphones and data connections, growing at 100 percent year-on-year. But there are only 25 million credit cards owned by Indians, and there are only 450 million bank accounts. The 10 percent of top India owns 95 percent of the wealth.
"This means you need a very common-sense approach to how you build your business," says Ashish. There are sensible and intelligent ways to use data. If for example, you have seen a trailer of the movie MS Dhoni on BookMyShow but don't buy the ticket. However, a few more days later you are near a multiplex or a theatre, BookMyShow can send in a notification asking if you want to catch the movie. Ashish says:
For the last 18 years, BookMyShow has been running a coffee shop. When you walk into a coffee shop, your order is taken, none of the other details like your name, email id, gender, anniversary and other details are taken. It just serves you the coffee. You come to us and buy a ticket, we don't ask you any details other than your mobile number and e-mail id to send you your ticket.
This information is enough. BookMyShow has also launched cash top-up wallets, which enable top ups and later, payments through the wallet. Users can reserve at the time and then pay later. This is for the benefit of the consumers who are unsure of using a digital mode of payment but are happy to transact through their phones later.
It is these incremental changes that matter; it isn't the big changes that revolutionise the world. It is these little anecdotes that are important in the human endeavour.