28-year-old Mayank Goyal had been selling baby care products since 2006 through his offline store in Agra called Kids World & Co. Two years ago, his cousin injected the ecommerce bug in him but it took him 2 months to decide that he would start selling online.
Over the years, he had satisfied and happy customers with his products and the quality, so the product category was not in question. His team and he already knew the packing and safety aspects for their products. All that had to be done was start selling online.
“I started selling on Snapdeal and it helped me to understand the working of a marketplace, content sheets, logistics, commissions and the whole process of doing an online business,” shares Mayank.
Has that changed? Does he still find Snapdeal helps him? Or has another marketplace taken the position? Let’s find out from Mayank in this IOS exclusive interview.
(IOS) Do baby care products need special handling?
(Mayank) We follow the motto, “Make baby happy first and then parents.” The colourful products make the little ones happy and we ensure these are non-toxic for their safety, which makes parents happy. We also take special care for the packing as that’s the first thing customers see. We use bubble wrap to protect against damage.
What were your initial challenges?
It was tough understanding the content sheet at first, as it was the main thing between our products and customers. They would get to know about our products based on what we filled in the sheet, so filling the right details is of course very important. Thankfully, our account has never been suspended. But we don’t have control over customer choices and some returns have affected our business and metrics.
Once you managed those, are you happy selling on marketplaces?
I am very happy with the sales I am getting from marketplaces because I follow the golden rule of “Just expect, don’t over expect” for my online business. I am confident of more revenue as our number of orders per month is increasing.
For now, we are present on Snapdeal, Flipkart, Paytm and Shopclues, and Amazon also hopefully in the next few months.
Secret of that?
Actually, I still get more returns from my offline channel than online. Online business has a lot of indirect expenses, which sellers may not calculate; hence the profit margins vary. But I always consider these indirect expenses and do business accordingly.
I haven’t hired any employees specifically for online.
I always have stock and list only those. Procuring after getting orders is not feasible as the items may not be shipped at the stipulated time, which will affect our delivery promise/SLA, thus affecting our metrics.
Customer delight is priority so we never compromise on quality, design and delivery.
What are the challenges ahead?
Payment reconciliation as marketplaces have begun to hold back payments for various reasons.
We have not planned it but in future, we might want to operate through our own website only.
Marketplace fees are getting higher by the day.
They don’t handle our stock well.
We can’t leave our inventory in their warehouses because they charge irrational penalties and hold back inventory, which forces losses for sellers.
What are the best decisions you have taken for your online business?
- We chose the product category we were familiar with, baby care products. Having dealt with them for years, we knew the quality and choices we could offer.
- We don’t send our products to marketplace warehouses.
- We keep track of all our payments and returns, as we know marketplaces can block our money irrelevant penalties anytime.
“We won’t give up any time soon. But we do practice calculated selling on these marketplaces as we know they can block our money anytime in light of their cash crunches.”
Mayank and his team have a favoured marketplace, but is that because of the absence of difficulties on the platform? Can it be that they have mastered the art of avoiding penalities? Stay tuned for Mayank’s opinions on the changes required in the marketplace – seller equation.