How this SaaS startup helps SMEs conduct transparent operations by digitising the supply chain
In India, there are millions of manufacturers, wholesalers, and distributors across all major manufacturing hubs. With the growth of ecommerce, and the general trade itself being a highly unorganised sector, a majority of the supply chain network has been struggling to keep pace with the rapidly evolving consumer preferences with regards to stocking inventory.
Against this backdrop, Mumbai-based Bnext is working to simplify the interaction between manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and resellers.
“Wholesalers and distributors find it extremely difficult to track inventory and resell the inventory coming to them from various manufacturers. Further, every SME in the supply chain needs access to logistical support and other supporting services, which are missing today,” says Dipti Singla, Co-founder of Bnext.
Bnext Co-founders Sriram Subramanian and Dipti Singla
Working with SMEs, Bnext aims to achieve a transparent supply chain by digitising catalogues and integrating these with social media platforms to expand the online reach of all parties involved. The B2B enterprise-SaaS platform helps them expand their business, and better engage their customers.
Founded by Dipti and her friend Sriram Subramanian in 2018, Bnext has raised $300,000 from angel investors. Dipti had earlier founded IndiaCardsGallery.com (a startup for personalised gifting and greeting cards), and BluBox (an ecommerce service provider to online marketplaces). Sriram has a management degree from UC-Berkeley, and previously worked with H-P, Paypal, and eBay. He also co-founded ShoppinPal (a mobile commerce platform for brick and mortar retailers).
Bnext currently has around 2,000 clients and works across the fashion and lifestyle sector, including apparel, jewellery, and footwear.
How it works
Bnext helps manufactures create digital product repositories and catalogues on the platform, and then share it with their distributors. The distributors will then resell the same products to the retailers, who then share it further down the line.
The digital catalogue has the image and other product specifications. However, only the manufacturer can list the products; others can only resell.
Dipti says, “Usually, the manufacturer has no connection with the customer, and doesn’t know what the customer really wants. The ideal situation should be where a customer demands something and the retailers send this information to the manufacturer, and the product gets created.”
So Bnext provides visibility and transparency to both the manufacturer and the end customer. By digitising the product details, it helps the customer get information on what the retailer is selling, at what price point, design, and various other details.
According to Dipti, manufacturers can also use the Bnext platform to share the store link with the distributor through an SMS, WhatsApp, or other social media platforms.
Further, the distributor can either send an enquiry related to the product or directly add products to the cart and purchase them for resale to retailers.
"List, share, and resell on a single platform - through this system, the manufacturer will be able to make their product better, with better inventory management, and better distribution,” says Dipti, who is a graduate from the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
The Bnext model claims to reduce the task of digitising the inventory at every node of the supply chain.
Some of the other key players in the space include Delhi-based JumboGrocery, Bengaluru-based Smerkato, and EZKirana.
The team claims that unlike other B2B marketplaces like Amazon and Udaan, which are looking at a two-node transaction, Bnext is looking at multi-node transaction, where it not just brings two intermediaries, but multiple intermediaries on board. This makes it easy for the startup to reach the smallest retailer.
“These experiences have given us a deep understanding of the real challenges with B2B commerce and all the essential components of the solution that can operate at scale with millions of users,” says Sriram, explaining the motive behind starting up Bnext.
Challenges and revenue model
Dipti and Sriram say they wanted to bring in technology that was simple to understand for traders. But they admit having faced challenges while coming up with a solution that was easy to operate and would not disrupt the current trade channel. By hiring a proper team and experimenting their product before launching, they managed to overcome this hurdle.
Bnext is now a team of 12 people spread across sales and technology departments.
The startup, which was launched just a year ago, claims to have a revenue growth of 2x month on month. For this, Bnext works on two revenue models - a basic model for Rs 1,000 per month, where anyone can pay, register, and use all the features on the platform. The other model is for those who want the entire process to be white labeled, with customised images, videos, product descriptions, etc. Here, the amount can go up to Rs 25,000 per month.
Dipti says their immediate goal is to have one million users on Bnext over the next three years to take them to a multi-million-dollar revenue run rate.
The team is also planning to build a technology with a focus on financial institutions to create easy and instant access to credit, especially for small wholesalers and distributors.