- Stay Way From A Kid BoyfriendPosted 592 days ago
- Pleasing Your Girlfriend Isn’t SimplePosted 596 days ago
- The Masala Bhangra WorkoutPosted 597 days ago
- As Kim Takes Off Her Ring: Kim Kardashian DivorcePosted 597 days ago
- Love Chemistry And Those Little Reactions Book GiveawayPosted 600 days ago
- The Delhi Bloggers Meet Organised By Cupid SpeaksPosted 605 days ago
- The Entrepreneurship KeedaPosted 609 days ago
- The Suicide Banker Free Copies ContestPosted 611 days ago
- The King Of Controversies Is BACK: Bigg Boss 5Posted 616 days ago
- Wish Amitabh Bachchan Happy BirthdayPosted 618 days ago
Mr. Vaitheeswaran, Founder, CEO, Indiaplaza.com
1. Tell us about your venture
There is something very interesting about our company. We are the only e-commerce company in India who have been in business since the last century! Most start-ups get to start a company. We pioneered an industry in India. Indiaplaza.com (earlier fabmall.com) pioneered online shopping in India way back in 1999. Indiaplaza today is a leading online shopping company in India. We offer over 8 million items for sale on our website. We have shipped out over 5 million shipments within India so far and served over 1.5 million customers.
2. Where are you based?
We are based in Bangalore and we employ over 125 people across functions and levels.
3. When was the venture started?
We started this venture in 1999, the company was started with a very clear vision and which still continue to dominate the heart of the business – “an online shopping destination where Indians can find anything they want at low prices”.
4. What triggered you to start this venture?
Before starting this venture, I worked for Wipro for 10 years (from 1989 to 1999). In 1996, I was working on a project and needed to regularly contact some people outside India. I had not heard of the internet then. Someone in Wipro then told me about internet and email. I managed to get an internet connection and also an hotmail id. While sending an email, I noticed a banner ad about a shop selling books on the internet. I clicked, landed on amazon.com and was fascinated by the concept that you can set up a shop in one city and sell to customers anywhere in the world. I felt it would be a great opportunity to start something like this in India. In 1999, I got the opportunity and along with a group of friends I co-founded Fabmart.com – India’s first online shopping company. In 2002, I co-founded Fabmall – India’s first integrated offline-online retail company. In 2007, I founded Indiaplaza, India’s leading online retailer.
5. Tell us about your products and services.
We retail over 8 million items on our site across books, music, video, mobiles, cameras, electronics, appliances, watches, jewellery, cosmetics, perfumes. Apparel, accessories, flowers, chocolates, cakes, gift vouchers etc.
6. Tell us something more about you?
I am an electronics engineer. I completed my engineering from The Government College of Engineering, Tirunelveli in 1985. From 1985 to 1989 I worked for The Murugappa Group selling electronic testing equipments. In 1989 I joined Wipro and spent 10 years there is various roles. My last assignment in Wipro was Marketing manager for computers
7. What is the market size you are trying to capture?
We have always been a multi-category online store and not focusing on any specific vertical. So, in a sense, we are participating in the entire retail landscape which offers great opportunity. We are not gunning after any specific numbers but we would like to target a very specific metric that is the real challenge in e-commerce – how to maintain profitability in an industry where players are just trying to outspend each other and acquiring top line sales at high costs in an unsustainable manner.
8. Any more expansion plans that you have?
We will continue to expand horizontally into other categories and also add depth in existing categories. There is a huge market and all our energies are focused on expanding our customer base in India. We will also expand and focus on NRIs to gift to India.
9. What are the sector specific challenges that you face?
There are many operational challenges – logistics, payment collection, price competitiveness etc. But to me there is just one key challenge in e-commerce in India – how does one make money where competitors are focusing on just sales.
10. Competitors? How are you different?
Oh, we were the first e-commerce company in India. It is for the competitors who have come up much later to differentiate themselves from us. My vision of Indiaplaza from 1999 has been clear – an online shopping destination where customers can find anything they want at low prices. That has not changed at all.
11. What would you like to say to budding entrepreneurs?
Your experience as a failed entrepreneur is far more useful and valuable than a successful corporate executive. So, don’t let the fear of failing stop you from going ahead with your dream venture. The worst thing that can happen to you is that you have to look for a job again!
12: What does your venture do as their CSR?
We do not have any specific CSR program as such. Having said this, we ship out millions of items every year to customers in India at low prices thus saving them time and money. In a way, this is like a CSR program.
13. How do you connect with the people?
It is all about word of mouth to start with. Let me explain you with a short story. When we launched our online shopping site on September 29, 1999 with a small collection of music cassettes (yes, cassettes were available in those days and accounted for 80% of the music sales in India). For the next 7 days, all of us who were the co-founders would place orders and find out if they reached us. After one week, each of us called our friends on phone and requested them to place orders and give us feedback. As we started delivering the music on time, our friends started telling their friends and slowly we got some word of mouth. I recall we cut a cake on the day we crossed 10 orders on a single day from unknown people for the first time. It is amazing to think that today we ship out several thousand items in a day. Today, we use multiple mediums to connect with customers – online, phone, facebook, twitter, emails.