According to a FICCI- KPMG report, the e-commerce market in India may touch $100 billion by 2020. Ever since e-commerce boomed in India, major players like Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal have been the main driving factors. There was also the rise of small homepreneurs and solopreneurs.
Big Foot Retail Solutions, a retail solutions and services company, offers end-to-end solution to these sellers. The company owns KartRocket- Saas platform, ShipRocket- Logistic aggregator and Kraftly- C2C e-commerce platform. It has closed its Series B round of funding at $9 million till date and has an employee strength of around 200.
Saahil Goel, CEO and Founder, Big Foot Retail Solutions, spoke to BE’s Varsha Singh about his company and how it is helping SMEs and small entrepreneurs.
Q. Please explain the functions of the three products that you offer- KartRocket, ShipRocket, and Kraftly.
A. As an SMB enabler, Big Foot Retail focuses on sellers who have less than 10 employees. In fact, 90% of our seller base comprises of such sellers. Sellers in this segment are mostly homepreneurs, local retailers and small distributors. This section has very different needs from their larger counterparts.
For any digital solution to be successful for this segment, two things are important, namely, adaptation and demand/revenue generation. With these in mind, we have designed a range of products and services, which allow small sellers to participate competitively in digital commerce in India.
Kraftly helps sellers using our mobile app and they get their listings live in a matter of seconds. It also helps with demand generation tools and in providing direct access to buyers on the platform. For sellers who have experienced e-commerce with Kraftly first, we give an opt-in to run their own website with KartRocket. This platform is targeted towards sellers who already have a fair idea of how to run an e-commerce business and now want to expand their online presence and penetration.
Every seller on the Big Foot platform uses ShipRocket to manage their shipments. ShipRocket is a logistics aggregator for small sellers where we enable them to quickly move their shipments. ShipRocket is open as a platform and allows sellers to link their order channels to Shopify, Magento, Woocommerce, Amazon, eBay, and other social media platforms. Further, as an aggregator, it offers a technology- enabled recommendation system that helps merchants reduce overall shipping time, get lower and transparent rates, and the highest pin code coverage.
Q. How do you help the homepreneurs and solopreneurs through your enterprise? Can you give us some data pointers?
A. Most homepreneurs use our Kraftly mobile app to sign up their micro shop on the platform. We allow them to import their logo, shop name, banner, and other details directly from Facebook so as to offer a quick onboarding process. Further, sellers can simply snap away using their smart phone or even import their product pictures from Facebook or Instagram. It takes under a minute to make a listing live on the platform. Further, sellers also have the ability to use integrations to sell directly on Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram along with the ability to attract buyers from the Kraftly marketplace.
Around 90% of the sellers on the Kraftly platform qualify as homepreneurs with fewer than 10 employees. Of these, 60% sellers have fewer than two employees and are truly operating from home. There are 65,000 sellers on the platform who are using at least one of our services. We are targeting a base of 200,000 sellers in the next 12 months.
Q. How did you get the idea of starting KartRocket and ShipRocket?
A. I was working in the US and had witnessed the explosion of SMB commerce. Shopify and Etsy were the two players who were doing well then. When I tried to draw a parallel in India, I couldn’t find any worthy player in the market. Further, Indian SMBs were extremely large in number (5 crore), were entrepreneurial in nature, and at the cusp of being smartphone-enabled. Also, consumer e-commerce in India was only starting to happen. Armed with this information and with some pilot tests, we decided to form the company in 2011 and became operational in 2012.
Q. What are the major challenges in the online retail sector?
A. I guess logistics is still a big challenge for online retail. As infrastructure and technology strengthen and tax reforms are undertaken, things are expected to look up. There is still a long way to go though. Cash on Delivery leads to RTO (return to origin) and buyer cancellations causes a burden on sellers and the marketplace as these orders result in the inventory being tied up in the supply chain and also involves additional costs of doing business.
Further, consumers have been spoilt to some extent to expect free shipping, free COD and discounts on products. This has led to undue margin pressures on the market and sellers. This consumer mindset needs to change. However, the trends centering on buyer expectations are already changing and will surely correct over the next few years.
Q. Who are your major investors and main clients?
A. Our major investors are Bertelsmann India Investments, Nirvana Venture Advisors, and Beenos. On our KartRocket platform, we have notable clients such as Gaurav Gupta, DaMilano, Byju’s, Relaxo, and Kazo.
Q. Do you think a few years from now SMEs and SMBs will be entirely dependent on online retail sites?
A. I don’t think they will be “dependent” on online channels but at the same time, I think pretty much everybody will need it. As more and more consumers move online and with government initiatives around Digital India, focus on
enabling MSMEs with technology and the move towards minimising cash transactions, the
dependency on online retail is bound to increase.