Lalit Agarwal, Retail News, ET Retail

V-Mart is betting on a good festival season this year: Lalit Agarwal We have been able to pull up sales whenever we have brought in some good schemes which have attracted consumers, says Lalit Agarwal, CMD, V-Mart Retail. Excerpts from an interview with ETNOW.

When and how far are we from consumer demand coming back?
There is a concern which we are witnessing for the last four-five months post Diwali and we are seeing some liquidity crunch in the markets for small business houses or businessmen or people who are running shops also. So, there is some concern but we have been able to pull up some sales whenever we have brought in some good schemes which have attracted consumers.

What we have done literally is sometimes we have been able to even pull in the sales of the competitors but the overall market scenario looks a little grim and there is a concern there. If the monsoon pans out to be good, the festival season should be very good and we should be able to see consumer demand coming back in festival season. In these two months, we should not be expecting a huge growth from the market. Normally these are dull times for us but we should expect a better festival season. We are targeting and planning and forecasting a good festival this year.

You have told us the overall strategy. Let us understand now the new found focus on the latest trends. How are you going to achieve the desired reduction in the mind to market days from 150 to 90 or 120?
We are more in fashion business and the customers now are being very much aware about what is the fashion trend in the markets of Milan, Paris, Rome and what the stars are wearing. As the millennials are becoming much more impatient, we need to offer them products at a much faster pace than what we had been doing. That is what we have been planning to do and what we have been focussing on.

We do not create fashion. We copy and replicate fashion. So, we need to be much more agile in that process.

We are focussing on trying to bring in the understanding of the knowledge which will help our buyers and merchandisers to create those kind of products and also align with the vendor base so that we can speed up those manufacturing processes and supply chain processes from our warehouses to stores at a little faster pace.

You are planning to triple your sales in the next three to four years. What is your growth strategy? Where you do see this kind of high growth opportunity?
We have been largely in tier 2, tier 3 towns. We experimented with tier 4 last year and we have not seen any great results there. But we would want to explore more of those but right now, we still focus more on tier 2 and tier 3 in the existing states where we are operating and some newer states that we had just penetrated last year like the north eastern part of India and some parts of eastern India.

We will penetrate more on those states and also in the existing states. We will move a little more south in the next two to three years. That is how our plans are. We will be opening 50 or more stores this year and grow those numbers in the consecutive years.

We would also be targeting a good amount of same stores sales growth where we see a large number of opportunities. which is left in the market where we are operating where we can also pull in more like to like sales in the coming years so that is what our plans are to try and triple our sales in the next three to four years.

You have a benchmark with regards to your same-store sales growth. How much are you planning to achieve?
We have been always feeling that 7% to 8% sales should come in from like to like category but in the last five-seven years, we have achieved those at an average basis, but last one year we have not done that. This year also we may have a little struggle looking at the market conditions.

We see a large amount of opportunity as a large amount of per capita income growth is expected, Our government is talking about $5-trillion economy target and that is going to fuel consumption. We should be able to capture it in our same store sales growth.

I applaud the fact that you have set a very big target and a vision to triple your sales, but the challenges also have increased.
As the opportunities are increasing, there are more players entering the fray to avail of those opportunities. We should also be doing it because we are the pioneers of these markets and we have been doing it for years. I understand that the Reliances of the world and Futures of the world or even the Pantaloons of the world are trying to cater to a similar market and bringing in new formats whether online or offline. There are people who are trying to come in and that is why we are also very bullish on that. If people, who have never been to these markets and if people who have been mostly urban centric, are now trying to be in little mid-market or semi-urban centric markets and if they are able to succeed, why not V-Mart? That is how we have challenged ourselves and taken a little aggressive target.

We did not go for these bullish approach in the last three to four years because we wanted to stabilise our organisation structure, we want to stabilise our processes, technology and now we feel that we have done enough of that, we should now push our paddle a little more stronger and try to take that path. We understand there will be challenges on real estate, there will be challenges on finances, there may be some challenges on people or even marketing conditions, but that is the way it is going to be and we are very confident that as we know the markets and the consumers better, our ability to deliver those products to those consumers at those values is going to be the best. So let us go for it.

Source link

Cloudtail, Appario push brands for higher margins, Retail News, ET Retail

Cloudtail, Appario push brands for higher marginsCloudtail and Appario, the two largest sellers on Amazon.in, are renegotiating deals and asking for higher margins from brands and distributors as they chase profitability post equity dilution by Amazon, multiple people familiar with the development said.

“They are asking for 18-20% hike of margins on the existing margin base,” said a top executive of a large FMCG seller on Cloudtail, owned by Infosys cofounder NR Narayana Murthy. “For example, earlier they were charging 10% margin for a particular product, now (they are) asking for 12% margin.”

The move comes barely months after Amazon, which was a joint venture partner in both Cloudtail and Patni Group-owned Appario, significantly reduced its stake in both the firms to small minority shares following a change in foreign direct investment (FDI) rules for ecommerce marketplaces in December.

Two senior executive of consumer electronics brands that sell through Cloudtail and Appario said the demand for higher margin had started 2-3 months ago, after the Indian partners increased their shareholdings in their separate JVs with Amazon. Other FMCG and fashion brands said the renegotiations have gathered pace in recent weeks.

Cloudtail and Appario did not respond to emails seeking comments as of press time Monday.
Cloudtail, Appario push brands for higher margins
In December, the government had amended FDI policy for ecommerce marketplaces in a bid to plug loopholes that both Amazon and rival Walmart-owned Flipkart were widely alleged to have misused. Both were accused by many of virtually running “inventory-led” marketplaces — that India forbids — by selling products through Cloudtail and Appario in Amazon’s case and RetailNet and other preferred sellers on Flipkart. The December policy change also barred marketplace operators from selling products from any of its “group companies”.

In February, when the new legislations kicked in, Murthy’s Catamaran Ventures hiked its stake in Cloudtail’s parent company Prione Business Services to 76% from 51%, reducing Amazon Asia’s stake to 24% from 49%. Similar changes were made in Appario as well.

With the changes, Cloudtail and Appario ceased to be an Amazon group companies, thus becoming eligible to sell on the marketplace. “The entire focus of Cloudtail and Appario is now on profitability and viability as compared to revenue and building market share (that was the focus prior to the change in FDI rules),” said one of the executives cited earlier.

The FMCG seller quoted earlier said, “Earlier there was no issue with working capital as there was free flow of money from Amazon. Now, Narayana Murthy is not running a charity here.”

The latest renegotiation of margins by Cloudtail and Appario is also factoring in logistic cost and marketplace commissions to Amazon.in, considering the USbased etailer has decided to not offer any priority treatment to any seller such as concession in logistic charges and commission, the executives said.

The two firms are now demanding 20-21% margin on audio products, up from 17% earlier, while in television, they are asking for 10-11% margin against 9% earlier, they said. However, for some brands in smartphones the sellers are ready to sell even at no margin.

Source link

Reliance Retail starts assisted e-commerce for Ajio through Jio stores, Retail News, ET Retail

Reliance Retail starts assisted e-commerce for Ajio through Jio stores KOLKATA: Reliance Retail has started a pilot of assisted e-commerce in its smaller Jio Stores whereby its staff can place consumer orders from Ajio.com through a kiosk inside the store and consumers will be able to collect or return orders from there itself, as per the company’s latest investor presentation.

This is part of Reliance’s strategy to connect first time online consumers with its e-commerce platform. ET had earlier reported that Reliance Retail has plans to connect Ajio.com from Jio Stores after its successful trial of catalogue orders for televisions and appliances like refrigerators and washing machines from such stores. Eventually, Reliance will connect all its e-commerce platforms to first time online shoppers through the Jio Stores.

Reliance Retail at present has about 8157 Reliance Digital and Jio Stores taken together. Out of this, the bulk – over 7800 – will be the smaller size Jio Stores spread across the smallest of markets which sells the Jio connections, smartphones and fast becoming the last mile connect entity for Reliance’s e-commerce business.

The investor presentation also said Ajio has a high frequency of customer visits which is about six visit per month per app user. There are over 1.5 lakh products which are listed in the site and over 800 national and international brands alongside its own brand Ajio. The company has also started mono-brand e-commerce website for Mothercare.in during the April-June quarter, it said.

The presentation also said Reliance Retail now has over 100 million registered customers during the first quarter as compared to 65 million in the same period last year. The company operates 10,644 stores at over 6,700 cities and towns and had added 265 stores during the last quarter.

Source link

Flipkart revamps seller onboarding process to help MSMEs, Retail News, ET Retail

Flipkart revamps seller onboarding process to help MSMEs Bengaluru, Flipkart on Monday announced it has revamped its seller onboarding process to ease the first-time e-commerce experience for medium and small businesses (MSMEs).

The e-tailer has also stationed 13 regional teams across the country to help onboard sellers in person, by meeting with them at their premises.

These changes to the onboarding process will make it easier for small sellers, who may not have prior digital expertise, to list their products on the platform and access Flipkart’s pan-India base of over 150 million customers.

“By revamping our onboarding process and simplifying the number of steps, we are making it easier for any seller, no matter the size, to list on our platform and get started from day one,” said Nishant Gupta, Head of Flipkart’s Marketplace business.

Currently, e-commerce accounts for less than three per cent of India’s overall retail industry. Government estimates suggest there are roughly 60 million MSMEs in India, many of whom are restricted to their local markets due to difficulties in accessing resources.

Flipkart has also added regional teams in various Tier II and beyond cities to help sellers sign onto the platform.

These regional teams, based in cities such as Lucknow, Coimbatore and Jaipur, cater to sellers in over 4,300 pin codes.

“As a home-grown company, we know that the future of e-commerce lies in bringing more MSMEs and smaller businesses online which, in turn, will generate employment and investment, and will meaningfully contribute toward the country’s socio-economic development,” added Gupta.

Source link

Paytm partners Clix Finance to offer instant digital loans, Retail News, ET Retail

Paytm partners Clix Finance to offer instant digital loans Digital payments player Paytm on Tuesday partnered non-banking financial company Clix Finance to offer instant digital loans to customers and merchants on its platform.

The company would offer loans to Paytm customers and merchants through “Deferred Payment or Postpaid” and “Merchant Lines” facilities.

Using proprietary Machine Learning (ML) models developed by Paytm and Clix, millions of Paytm customers and merchants will get instant completely digital loans on the Paytm platform, the company which is owned by One97 Communications Limited, said in a statement.

“We have seen an overwhelming response to Paytm postpaid and merchant lending products. With this partnership, we aim to bring our credit tested algorithmic lending products to a larger customer and merchant base, said Nitin Misra, Senior Vice President, Paytm.

Over the next few months, Clix and Paytm will introduce several new products to further enhance customer experience and meet customer demand.”Together, we will co-create many unique and customised products that will work seamlessly to address unmet financial needs of millions of customers,” said Pramod Bhasin, Founder and Chairman, Clix.

There are nearly 60 million MSMEs in India that need to go digital.

Alibaba-backed Paytm has over 200 million users in the country.

Source link

Anand Piramal invests in a resurgent Snapdeal, Retail News, ET Retail

Anand Piramal invests in a resurgent SnapdealAnand Piramal, Executive Director of the Piramal Group has invested an undisclosed amount in Snapdeal. The investment has been made by Piramal in his personal capacity. The investment announcement comes a day after the Snapdeal founders, Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal, were adjudged as ‘Comeback Kid’ in the Economic Times Startup Awards, 2019.

According to a statement, Snapdeal’s 2.0 strategy has allowed it to rapidly build a differentiated business, with a sharp focus on value-priced merchandise – the largest segment in retail.

Commenting on his personal investment decision in Snapdeal, Piramal said, “Snapdeal’s sharp execution in bringing great selection to the mass market segment in tier 2-3 cities has been quite successful, leveraging the growing Internet penetration in these geographies. The company’s mission of enabling the success of hundreds of thousands of small businesses in India through its marketplace is commendable. Since 2017, Snapdeal’s revenues have grown rapidly with profitable unit economics. With hundreds of millions of first time eCommerce buyers yet to transact, Snapdeal is well poised to grow in the future.”

Snapdeal’s recently announced audited financial results for FY 2018-19 showing a strong all-round topline and bottomline performance at the company. In FY 2018-19, Snapdeal’s revenue soared 73% and its loss dropped sharply by 71%. In the same period, traffic on Snapdeal’s marketplace surged 2.3X to 70 million unique monthly users and the number of transacting users grew 2.2X in the last 12 months.

Kunal Bahl, CEO & Co-founder of Snapdeal added, “Anand’s investment comes as a significant endorsement for Snapdeal and the transformation the company has undergone over the last couple of years. His appreciation for what it takes to build a company with growing revenues with good economics in a competitive market comes from his own experiences of building and operating large companies in competitive sectors like real estate and financial services. We are thrilled to have Anand on board this exciting journey.”

As per regulatory documents filed by Snapdeal, its consolidated revenues grew to Rs 925.3 crore in 2018-19 as compared to Rs 535.9 crore in 2017-18, marking a sharp increase of nearly 73% in a 12-month period. At the same time, Snapdeal also managed to significantly reduce its loss to Rs 186 crore in FY19 from Rs 611 crore reported in FY18 – a drop of nearly 71%. In the same period, Snapdeal’s revenue from operations grew 87% YoY.

Millions of new buyers from Tier 2&3 cities are starting their e-commerce journeys every month. Similarly, lakhs of small and medium sellers from all parts of the country are looking to establish and grow online businesses to tap this opportunity. Snapdeal’s success in building an efficient, value-focused marketplace has greatly expanded the options for this fast growing, mega segment of e-commerce in India.

In the last two years, Snapdeal has sharpened its focus on the needs of the value-conscious buyers in India. More than 80% of its users come from the small towns and cities of India. This market of nearly 400 million potential buyers is the fastest growing segment in Indian e-commerce. In the last two years, Snapdeal has added 60,000 plus new seller partners, who have added over 50 million new listings. Snapdeal now has more than 500,000 registered sellers, who have more than 200 million listings on the marketplace.

Source link

Google joins e-commerce race, debuts shopping platform, Retail News, ET Retail

Chasing Amazon: Google joins e-commerce race, debuts shopping platformSAN FRANCISCO: In a bid to take on Amazon in the burgeoning e-commerce space, Google has debuted its new shopping platform for the users in the US.

If users accessing the platform log into their Gmail account, the feature will greet them by their names and show tailored suggestions, TechRadar reported on Monday.

To begin with, the company does not intend to start building warehouses to stock products but plans to point shoppers in the direction of a handful of selected retailers, including Costco and Target.

“Search for an item and the new site will point you towards products for sale in Google’s own store for devices like Google Home speakers or from its chosen third-party sellers,” the report said.

Some products would also be sold with a “Buy with Google Guarantee”, that would promise a refund for shoppers if the recommended retailer fails to deliver on time.

Before launching it in the US, Google tested the shopping platform in some parts of the world- including France.

Details on the wider roll out of Google’s shopping feature remain undisclosed as of now.

Source link

Poaches from Johnson & Johnson and Flipkart, Retail News, ET Retail

Snapdeal ramps up its legal department: Poaches from Johnson & Johnson and Flipkart MUMBAI: Online marketplace Snapdeal has roped in three senior legal executives in an effort to strengthen its in house legal team.

The SoftBank backed Snapdeal has hired Prankur Chaturvedi, legal counsel at Johnson & Johnson to head its contract and compliance department while Mansi Airi, a former senior associate of law firm PSA Legal Counsellors to build in-house expertise in cross border and domestic M&As and technology transfers.

The SoftBank and Nexus Venture Partners-backed Snapdeal has also recently hired Vijay Srivastava, to head litigations and disputes. Before joining Snapdeal, Srivastava was heading International and domestic disputes at the Flipkart.

“In the face of evolving regulatory and legal environment and expanse of the e-commerce sector, we are focused on building an in-house lean team of experts powered by technology to help stay agile,” said Smriti Subramanian, general counsel of Snapdeal.

Including fresh hires, the firm’s total bench strength has increased to 10.

Before joining Johnson & Johnson, Chaturvedi had worked at another SoftBank-backed startup Oravel Stays, that owns Oyo Hotels as senior legal counsel and group company secretary.

The development comes at the time when the New Delhi-headquartered startup has managed to reinvent itself and bringing more efficiencies in all aspects of its operations.

The Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal promoted Snapdeal has sharpened its focus on the needs of the value-conscious buyers in India. More than 80% of its users come from the small towns and cities of India.

According to Vani Jain, managing consultant at legal and governance executive search firm Vahura, E-commerce players are scouting for legal talent aggressively.

“With Legal departments now playing the role of business – enablers, legal hiring has become matured and strategic. Companies like Snapdeal, Zomato, Swiggy, Flipkart etc have been making niche hires to suit their business plans,” added Jain.

Recently, Anand Piramal, Executive Director of the Piramal Group has invested an undisclosed amount in Snapdeal. The investment has been made by Piramal in his personal capacity.

As per regulatory documents filed by Snapdeal, its consolidated revenues grew to Rs 925.3 crore in 2018-19 as compared to Rs 535.9 crore in 2017-18, marking a sharp increase of nearly 73% in a 12-month period. At the same time, Snapdeal also managed to significantly reduce its loss to Rs 186 crore in FY19 from Rs 611 crore reported in FY18 – a drop of nearly 71%. In the same period, Snapdeal’s revenue from operations grew annually 87%.

Source link