Delhi-based Bigly helps SME entrepreneurs boost their businesses in just two steps
Bigly Founders, Azmat Sahaaf and Shibli Ezaan
In recent years, the government has taken various initiatives to boost the MSME sector. There is a lot more awareness about Indian brands and people taking pride in ‘Make in India’, which is an encouraging trend for local companies.
But small entrepreneurs still find it hard to find their feet in the highly competitive market. Though they have potential, due to fewer resources, they fail to thrive thereby suffering losses.
To create a marketplace for sellers, resellers, and manufacturers and provide a fillip to micro, small, and medium industries, Azmat Sahaaf and Shibli Ezaan founded Bigly in 2017 in New Delhi to create an ecosystem for both sellers and purchasers.
In a conversation with SMBStory, Bigly Co-founder Shibli explains what they do.
Bigly is creating an alternative distribution channel by leveraging the combined power of social media, influencers, resellers, retailers, and manufacturers. Its ecosystem is simple with no inventory and no investment.”
Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:
SMBStory: How is Bigly helping the MSME sector?
Shibli Ezaan: Bigly’s business model manages supplier listing in wholesale prices with a mechanism of minimum and maximum pricing, which ensures that the individual products are sold at market prices and they are able to compete with the other players and earn a handsome monthly income.
The platform offers a plethora of products with 100+ categories worth Rs 25 crore plus inventory. The users can add products in a single click and add their profit margin up to 90 percent and sell it to their social media channels and manage their buyers too.
At present, there are 5,000 suppliers and approximately one million users on Bigly’s portal, which records a turnover of Rs 50 lakh in the span of the last seven months.
SMBS: What is Bigly’s channel strategy?
SE: Bigly is an ecosystem to start a business with various channels of operations. Our portal is user-friendly and we target all those who wish to be an entrepreneur or want to earn some extra money. For example, if an influencer is looking for a solution to earn a regular income, they can sign up with Bigly and get a quick store with a subdomain. They just need to paste the link of their videos and the traffic will be diverted to their store. They can curate products according to the viewers, with zero investment and without managing any inventory.
Similarly, for housewives who look for a solution to become financially independent, they can download the Bigly app and start selling product to friends and family via our social media groups. There is also a channel for drop shippers who wish to build their own brand in the ecommerce store.
No matter what channel people choose to start a business, they just need to add their basic details and profit margin in the platform, and start their business.
SMBS: What is one of the biggest challenge for your SME customers?
SE: Bigly began as a venture to bring online uneducated and sweatshop factory owners and enable them to understand their manufacturing potential and quality.
Since childhood, we have been seeing the problem of small-scale business entrepreneurs. The unorganised payment methods and lack of coordination between retailers and wholesalers do not give an entrepreneur a boost or satisfaction to run their business. Azmat and I have seen our fathers struggling in their business and we thought to bring in a change.
We couldn’t change the traditional business models as it is not easy to convince people to drive their business solely on a digital medium. Hence, we started by a company called ‘Go online’ where we used to offer services to entrepreneurs to help them adopt technology and be a part of the digital revolution. We used to help them to register their TIN No. and trademark to get a real feel of a brand.
However, while working with marketplaces, we found a lot of flaws that were a hassle for manufacturers.
Later, we both geared up and decided to build our own product, which will help SMEs to directly connect with the users. Thus, Bigly was born. We started Bigly with a capital of Rs 72 lakh.
SMBS: What have been your challenges working with this sector?
SE: Educating people to go digitally was a challenge initially. However, as we switched the platform, that is no more a challenge.
The fundraising for the platform was cumbersome. However, gradually we overcome this, and raised Rs 30 lakh from an independent investor, which we utilised to get traction.
Earlier when we were new to the market, we used various marketing techniques to create awareness about our brand. But neither social media influencers and YouTubers, nor other advertising methods worked for us. We then focused on SEO, and today most of our users are organic.
SMBS: There are many other businesses like yours in the market. How are you different?
SE: We feel that we are ahead of our competitors in terms of technology and customer enablement as we are adding untapped user segments and ensuring guaranteed regular income.
Other ecommerce portals provide minimal to the negligible buyer and supplier interaction, and our portal bridges this gap and that’s what differentiates us. So, I guess, we are not in the competition.
SMBS: What are the key milestones in your journey?
SE: Since its inception, the company has grown organically with users hailing from Tier II and Tier III cities. It has been gaining 80 percent positive reviews, and the customer base has been impressed with our services, enabling a 300 percent month-on-month and 70 percent week-on-week growth rate.
At present, Bigly has approximately nine lakh mobile app downloads.
SMBS: What are your future prospects?
SE: We are all ready to hit the global market now. And we want to continue our work to create a democratic ecommerce platform.