This footwear seller went from being cash-strapped during the lockdown to earning 1.2 cr during Flipkart’s Big Billion Day Sale
For Sunrise Marketing, a Bengaluru-based footwear distributor, the recent Big Billion Day Sale atwas a game-changer. After coming on board Flipkart’s platform in July 2020, it was their first experience of participating in the Big Billion Day sale which was held from October 16 to October 21.
Naveen Prasad, 37, the founder of Sunrise Marketing, says, “Flipkart’s Big Billion Day Sale has become a festival in itself. There is a heavy inclination for customers to shop during the sale period because of the attractive and value-drive offerings and the plethora of options available to them. I was aware of its potential.” Naveen received support from the Flipkart Account Manager who explained the kind of preparation required to tap into the demand during the sale period and the expected sales volume. This, and a fair amount of market research he conducted, helped him plan well and ensured that he was well-stocked. “We built in extra capacity and stocked enough products to ensure that we don't run out of stock,” he says.
True to the research-based prediction, Naveen experienced a peak in orders. “We were able to earn revenue of up to Rs 20 lakh per day during the Big Billion Day sale. This is almost a 5x jump from the Rs 3-5 lakh we earn per day in the non-sale period.” He says that while he didn't anticipate demand in the formal footwear range, with remote working becoming the new norm, his entire stock of formal shoes got sold out. In addition to the deluge of orders, Naveen says the other interesting element is the expanse of their reach. “We had customers from the remotest locations such as Leh, Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh. This is the first time I saw orders coming in from these locations. I felt proud to have established a business, whose products are being bought by customers in the farthest parts of the country. This is the biggest advantage with Flipkart, it gives our business the potential to reach customers across the country.”
The dramatic rise in volumes meant that they had to increase their working hours and employ more people. “On a regular day, we work in a nine-hour shift model. But, to ensure that we process all the orders in record time during the sale period, the staff put in extra hours. They worked almost 12 hours a day, starting at 8 am. Our manpower also nearly doubled, from an 8-member team to a 14-member team.” Today, the 14-member team is working hard to tap into the rise in demand during the Diwali shopping season.
Reflecting on his Big Billion Day Sale experience as a first-time online seller, he says, “One of the things I have come to realise is that even when a seasoned business person thinks there is a certain category of products that are challenging to liquidate, e-commerce can make it happen. Even though our business continues to remain affected by the operational and market challenges brought about by COVID-19, we had a fantastic run. It excites me to think about how much business the Big Billion Day Sale can drive once everything returns to normalcy.”
Naveen is fairly a new entrant to the online selling space. Like many other business owners, it was the pandemic that pushed him to get into online selling. Prior to the pandemic, Sunrise Marketing supplied footwear to the Central Police and Indian Naval canteens. “Like many other small sellers, we were deeply affected during the initial nation-wide lockdown period. Due to expensive rentals and low footfalls, the business suffered. It was one of the most challenging periods for me to date.” Naveen says he had been contemplating selling online for over a year. “Taking the online route was on the cards. I had spent a year analysing online selling and its impact on my business. But the pandemic and the lockdown came as the final straw which saw me taking that final step into online selling.”
Naveen decided to launch his business on Flipkart. He says among all the online portals onboarding with Flipkart was the easiest, “The process is simple and clear. It does not take much effort or time. The Flipkart support team also makes the onboarding process smooth and efficient.” For his part, Naveen worked towards getting the right kind of infrastructure in place. He says, “I have always believed that it is important to have the right infrastructure in place for any kind of business - be it offline or online. Since we were looking to pivot in a big way and make a big shift from offline to online, I built a separate 10,000 sq ft warehouse to solely cater to the online business orders.”
All of this made the transition from offline to online relatively smooth. That’s not all, he was quickly able to tap into the customer demand. Within the first month of their presence on Flipkart, his revenues were Rs 10 lakh. “That continued to see steady growth rapidly. In October, we clocked a revenue of Rs 1.4 crore.”
Reflecting on his journey on Flipkart, Naveen says, “I strongly believe that e-commerce is the next big thing, given the numerous benefits it offers to both sellers and customers. Today, the biggest advantage that e-commerce has brought for me as a first-time online seller is reach. Earlier, I could not expand my business beyond Bengaluru due to operational challenges. Today I have a pan-India reach. In addition, the timely payments ensure that you are able to grow the business much faster as you are not cash-strapped due to delays.”
Naveen is all praise for the supportive Flipkart team which, he says, has been instrumental in his success as an online seller. “The team at Flipkart has guided me at every step and helped me grow substantially in less than six months. They have an in-depth understanding of the categories, the requirements of the sellers, the strengths and pain points of the sellers, and can provide insights that help us grow.”
Having just wrapped up a fabulous sale period, Naveen is now looking forward to the Diwali season and beyond. He is working towards setting up warehouses in New Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. “At the moment we have only one warehouse in Bengaluru. After opening the new warehouses, we will be able to significantly bring down the delivery time from 7-10 days to 2-3 days, which again will help us grow the business and also manage returns with minimum effort.”
Signing off, Naveen says, “I began my career in the financial sector where I worked close to a decade. But the monotony of the 9-5 job caught up with me. My parents were government employees. I didn’t have any backing. But I really wanted to start a business. I challenged myself and started Sunrise Marketing in 2015. I started off dealing with footwear and also explored other market opportunities. I became a distributor for Casio keyboards and pianos for Karnataka. However, the footwear business continued to be my key focus. The last five years have been a roller-coaster ride that I have thoroughly enjoyed. At this juncture, I am excited to continue this journey with Flipkart and see the growth opportunities it presents.”
If you are a manufacturer, vendor or supplier, or someone who wants to simply sell your products online, start your journey on Flipkart. With access to seller workshops, training, seller support, Flipkart Fulfilment services, among others, Flipkart helps you become a top e-commerce player Know more here.