B2B e-commerce — serving from small retailers to big industries

The Hindu Business Line

A Technopak Advisors report says that 99 per cent of India’s retail market is offline. But much of retail in India comprises small retailers.

Now, imagine kirana stores across the country being able to maximise their earnings thanks to better technology. B2B e-commerce transactions in developed geographies surpass that of B2C, whereas in India only B2C e-commerce has managed a success story. B2B e-commerce start-ups in India are now serving a diverse set of customers.

Small retail opportunity
If organised retail is expected to see 25 per cent growth by this year-end, the segment encompassing chemist shops, small apparel or footwear shops and general stores will also grow.

JusTransact specialises in selling POS products and solutions online after years of operating the business offline in the avatar of Millenium Soft-Tech (India) Pvt Ltd. Bhaskar Venkatraman, Founder-Director, JusTransact, says there are more than 15 million kirana establishments in the country serving nearly 90 per cent of household needs according an Essmart report.

“Kirana stores offer us huge business potential, as there is negligible or no use of POS solutions.”

JusTransact’s POS solutions can reportedly handle diverse and specific requirements.

The company says it serves the food & beverage, hospitality, healthcare and entertainment sectors too, offering more than 1,000 POS hardware products by brands such as Epson, Honeywell, Toshiba, Casio and HP.

Big industry potential
“By upgrading their POS systems and processes on the shop floor, an average kirana store can multiply its earnings per square feet much faster than an average large format retail store,” says Venkatraman. Companies like Tolexo and names like IndiaMART with heavy investor backing have a large scale interest in B2B e-commerce.

But Industrybuying.com says that unlike other players, it has always had its own proprietary technology platform that showcases fair, accurate prices and allows product specification comparisons. Founded by Swati and Rahul Gupta, a brother-sister team, Industrybuying.com, says it wants to continue investing in technology to get ahead of competition. “The space of B2B e-commerce is ready for disruption…with India having had exposure to the convenience, variety and delivery capabilities of B2C e-commerce, people will want the same on the business front too,” says Swati Gupta.

Industrybuying.com says it offers more than 1.5 lakh products online. After kicking off operations in June-July 2013, the company received its first round of funding of $2 million by 2014-end.

The founders are looking at raising a second round to help build on its existing supply chain and beef up its proprietary platform.

With investor interest in B2B e-commerce growing, players like Industrybuying.com are also looking at serving the enterprise sector.

Read more at http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/specials/emerging-entrepreneurs/b2b-ecommerce-serving-from-small-retailers-to-big-industries/article7575705.ece