Post studies, Ankit Ravishankar Bansal joined his 25 year-old successful family business, Shree Sanwariya Textiles, into manufacturing sarees and dress materials. When he entered the online selling space, did it click instantly? With 20,000+ orders per month now, what has helped him and his team achieve this?
With the goal to be the Numero Uno Seller in sarees and dress materials, read on what 28-year old Ankit from Surat shared with IOS about his e-commerce journey.
(IOS) How did you stumble on the e-commerce idea?
(Ankit) In 2012, a friend working in 99labels motivated me to get into online selling. She explained to me the scope, profits and other details involved, and I decided to try it out. But our first order was for just two pieces, which reduced our motivation to be honest. Then she explained that more listings translate into more orders. We tried that and then our orders increased to 50 per day. We realized we had struck on the right chord.
Before online selling, what was your sales pattern?
Being manufacturers of sarees and dress materials, we used to sell to wholesalers all over India.
Since you had your own stock and so many years of success, was it a cakewalk for you?
Not really. After the initial success, we extended our operations to other marketplaces also, like Snapdeal, Shopclues, eBay, Rediff, Amazon and Flipkart, one after the other. Selling on different platforms sometimes resulted in Stock out position. Tackling that was very crucial in the way forward. To overcome the problem, we implemented updation of inventory on the panels on a daily basis. That brought us on track.
Was there any particular event or pattern that triggered the “This is IT, I have to grow in this e-commerce space” idea in you?
By 2013, I understood the tremendous potential this industry had. Also, it was like a brand building exercise for us, as we could interact with our customers directly and take their feedback, which helped to better our products.
Since you have sold on almost all the marketplaces, which is the best in your opinion?
I feel Snapdeal is the best as they have very good systems in place. Payments are always on time and follow-up for delivery is solid. Also, they come up with some way or the other to sell daily, like End of Season Sale and similar offers which help to push our sales.
So you are happy with marketplaces? No plans to open your own store?
I am happy but I do plan to open own store also, although it’s just a thought right now.
What challenges do you think will be there when that happens?
I think getting customers on to the portal will be the biggest challenge. Additional expenses and targeted marketing will be required to build a loyal customer base. Even while listing more products, maintaining our dispatch rates would be crucial as customers respond to quicker dispatches and good service.
Are you still continuing the wholesale business? What is more profitable-offline or online?
Yes, our wholesale channel is still very much active. That’s more profitable as we do business in bulk all over the country, so percentage and numbers are more in that channel.
But have you ever felt like giving up on online selling?
No, after the initial glitch, I have always found it favourable.
So 20,000+ orders per month now. What’s the secret?
Same day dispatch. We ensure all the orders we receive are dispatched within 24 hours; we have aligned our process and connected with courier partners accordingly. This helps to reduce COD returns from customers.
What advice do you want to the new budding sellers out there?
Patience is the key to this Business. Make sure your service is perfect and response is quick to keep customers happy.
Even after starting his own store, Ankit says he will continue to sell through marketplaces too. By giving faster and quick service to customers, maintaining less stock out positions and listing more products, Ankit is confident about increasing and retaining his customer base.