We had got in touch with MirchiMart for the launch on 15th July 2012. Through its Chilbuli Experience Zones, this semi-ecommerce company has gone a long way in its journey. The co-founders, Sudhir Saluja and Punit Sindhwani, have driven MirchiMart to a sparsely explored segment on ecommerce; that of “self-branded” products. From being deals-driven website to a brand in actuality, the journey has had its share of ups and downs. Here, we get in touch with them again, and are apprised by the MirchiMart team about their journey, the effect of FDI in retail on the ecommerce segment, and obviously, the new developments in the segment!
YS: From the launch to till date, how has the journey been?
MM: This journey has been the most interesting and rewarding part of our lives. Last 5 months include lots of sleepless nights, break-less days, long hours of blank staring at walls and countless moments of fun. We have chosen an industry where competition with already established players is a tough one. So more than physical work, we are always in our dream worlds where we keep on innovating processes for customer comforts. Most of our brain storming goes into making unique use of technology and bringing up amazing gadgets for our customers. Our team is full of ideas and energy, only thing that we have in our minds right now is, a lot to do, a lot to do…
YS: Where is the Indian retail sector (and ecommerce) heading towards?
MM: Currently Indian retail industry is estimated to be at $450 Bn with less than 5% contribution from the organized players. We expect the retail sector to grow at a rate double of GDP’s growth, at ~12% with significant contribution from e-commerce and other modern organized retail. With changing consumer’s preferences, retail growth has been more skewed towards digital products (& accessories) and apparels (& fashion accessories) and we expect the trend to continue especially from e-commerce’s perspective. Our focused products offerings will remain in digital products in near future.
In current economy’s scenario with increased global protectionism, finance ministry has understood the importance of domestic consumption as the main driver of GDP growth and recent reforms like increasing FDI cap has been received positively by the sector. Also initiatives like service tax exemption on internet advertisement shall help retail companies in bringing their marketing expenses down by exploring newer avenues of reaching out to the customer.
YS: How far do you think has the FDI in retail affected (or will affect) you? What would it lead to, a boom or a bust?
MM: Unexplored retail market in India is too big for the recent FDI to affect e-commerce in any way. E-commerce is currently less than 3% of the total retail out of which 80% is into travel. That leaves 0.6% of total retail (except travel) happening through e-commerce, which is minuscule as compared to other developed markets. We still are far away from a situation when other forms of retail can have considerable negative effect on e-commerce or vice versa. With current favoring conditions, ecommerce is bound to see boom.
YS: MirchiMart has shown continual growth. What next?
MM: Next is what Indian ecommerce has not seen yet. Future of shopping is going to be a different experience now with startups like MirchiMart; the ones that harness the full power on technology. Lots of surprises are planned for our customers. One to mention is gesture based shopping. MirchiMart’s branding though our own products – pen drives, computer accessories (mouse, keyboards, backpacks, etc), MirchiMart tablet. MirchiMart pen-drives are already hot sellers in market.
MirchiMart plans to be a hub of “amazing gadgets”. We want people to visit MirchiMart not only when they plan to buy anything, but when they want to have a look at latest technology and gadgets. Some of our gadgets are: Credit card shaped pen-drives: Easy to carry in wallets, just like a credit card, projector keyboard that can be connected to your smartphones via Bluetooth, and iPhone stand for a radiation free life. The reach of harmful mobile radiations can be reduced by 96 % by using these phone stands.
Compared to other ecommerce companies, we have a have lead with our physical presence in major locations of Delhi NCR. We plan to start a “Pick from store” option for our customers, wherein our customers can pick their order from their nearby MirchiMart’s store and in return get even better pricing or offers. This might take some time, but is definitely one of our major plans.