19-year old Samay Jain ventured into online selling a year back. He understands that one needs to cope up with the latest consumer trends to thrive in any business. Hence he decided to join the ecommerce bandwagon. His wholesale family business of surgical instruments was and is still doing well.
When Samay took his Jaipur-based medical and health equipment business online, was it an easy ride to establish his online presence, Surgikarp? Let’s find out in this IOS exclusive.
IOS: What must one be careful about when selling medical equipment online?
Samay: Most of the portals require the following certificates, without which you cannot list your products:
Brand approval forms
Which platform did you use first? How was the response?
Although we tried Flipkart first, we got listed on Snapdeal first. For the first 2-3 months, the response was not good. Eventually we started growing our listings in the online space and the response improved. It was during GOSF that we realized the true potential of online selling.
How did your sales improve during GOSF?
By GOSF we had increased our product base to around 150 products and we were able to offer the most competitive prices on most of them, which helped us to increase our sales. During GOSF, the sales of Mercurial BP monitors especially shot from 2 orders per day to around 40 orders per day.
How many marketplaces were you present on by then? How many are you present on now?
Then we were listed on a couple of major marketplaces. Currently, we are present on 6 different marketplaces. We get around 13-15 orders daily, which shoots up to 25-30 during sale period. We generate a monthly revenue of Rs 4 lakhs (approx.).
What about inventory and order management? Do you have a separate software for it?
We feel the seller panels of e-retail sites are enough.
When you started selling online, what were the early difficulties you had to overcome? How did you tackle those?
Initially we faced a lot of problems in monitoring the payments we received; there was a gap between their payments and the way we managed our accounts. To rectify this, we modified the way we entered orders in our software. We shifted from our regular invoice number to the order id generated. Also we updated our software so that it could automatically read the excel files.
Another challenge was making out staff skilled enough so that they could work with online selling panels. We started training them according to the requirements of the new venture; we made them practice generating orders and manifests step by step.
Do you have your own online store? How is the selling experience on an online marketplace?
No we do not have our own online store. So far, we have had a good experience. But I feel online selling largely depends on the vertical that you are in. And health, as of now, is not the best place to be in.
Why do you say health category is not good?
Health products are not something that people search for online. And by health products I don’t mean supplements. Health products such as BP monitors, glucometers are often fragile and there are many cases where we get broken products as returns.
How do you deal with returns? What is your return percentage?
We have a return rate of about 12-14%. We generally try to claim the seller protection funds available but many a times when only the outer packaging is damaged we don’t get it even though the product is damaged for us. This translates into a straight loss for us.
If asked for the three critical pitfalls to avoid in online selling, what would you advice?
Don’t go for loss just to be most competitive.
Don’t let the payment records pile up. Clear them as they come.
It’s very important to keep your product page as true and informative as possible.