IndiaMART

Ctrl, Alt, Enter the big league

Fortune

THE FIRST TIME I walked into Matrix, a sprawling R&D centre on the outskirts of Pune, I confess I was expecting to enter an ultra-futuristic and uber-modern space like in the movie of the same name. But instead, I felt I had been transported to the dystopian world of The Hunger Games, where dust and noise and unpleasant smells prevail. But if ever anything taught me to look beyond appearances, this was it. Because this place, which smelled like a garbage heap outside a mandi, showcased some of the country’s most useful and cutting edge technology. Matrix is a lab belonging to Praj Industries (ranked 261), one of the few biofuels companies in the country. The company has always used technology, whether it was to set up distilleries for clients back in the ’80s or to set up biofuels plants across the world now.

There’s very little Praj has in common with Nandan Denim’s sprawling facility in Ahmedabad. Nandan, 198 on the Next 500 list, is aiming to become the largest denim manufacturer in the country, overtaking current No. 1, Arvind. Govind Sharda, CEO of the Chiripal Group, which owns Nandan, says the company will get there with a little help from technology. With its reliance on all kinds of tech, from data mining and analysis, to robotics and artificial intelligence, Nandan often seems more like a technology company.

Two vastly different companies but with the same conviction: that using technology can help them break into the big league. That in itself is hardly breaking news; any company that wants to grow, compete, or even just stay relevant, must invest in the technology of the day, whether it was steam power centuries ago, or robotics today.

“If companies invest in the right automation and service providers, and the correct systems and processes, smaller players can give the larger players a run for their money,” says Samay Kohli, co-founder and CEO of Singapore-based global robotics company GreyOrange.

So far, so predictable. What makes this an exciting story is that we are now poised at an interesting intersection of technology, industrial growth, and easier funding. The way forward depends on how companies take advantage of this point in time. Piyush Sinha, who heads the newly set up Big Data analysis unit of NEC Technologies India, a part of the Tokyo-based NEC Technologies, says businesses no longer need to rely on insufficient market intelligence to make decisions. They have mountains of data at their disposal, including from informal sources such as social media, and analytics will help them “make faster and better decisions and more accurate forecasts”.

Yes, data analysis is relatively old hat in today’s artificial intelligence-fuelled world. What makes it relevant still is the fact that there are so many companies, in vastly diverse sectors, using data analytics to bridge gaps in their services and catch up with far larger, more established competitors.

USING TECHNOLOGY TO vault into the big league is something many companies on the Next 500 list are doing to good effect. Take Jyothy Laboratories (rank 12), a long-time favourite with brokers and investors. The company makes a range of detergents and household insecticides and fragrances and owns some of the most opular brands in the country including Ujala, Fa, Mr. White, Henko, and Pril.

“We gather data from our salespersons and retail distributors [not wholesale] in every district. With this data, it is far easier to make transparent decisions based on hard facts,” says Ullas Kamath, managing director, Jyothy Laboratories. Kamath adds that his company was one of the early adopters of Big Data; it used SAP HANA, a database and application development platform that allows companies to store, manage and analyse data from machines and human beings.

The result? Jyothy Laboratories has moved up from 46 on The Next 500 last year to 12 this year, and its profit has zoomed 30.5%. Meanwhile employee cost has gone up a mere 1.5% against the 21.3% average increase in employee cost this year. While it will be specious to attribute the entire revenue increase to better use of technology, the company’s focus on automation is definitely a large contributor in bringing down employee costs.

Praj too uses Big Data for marketing as well as for R&D. “Having data for so many years allows us to design our marketing strategy better,” says Pramod Chaudhari, founder chairman of Praj. “Data analytics allows us to analyse data from nearly 9,000 samples of feedstock. Now, we can design various processes based on the data.”

Here’s the thing. Companies have always had a wealth of data available to them. From manufacturing to sales to service, there has always been information collected, whether from machine or human. The problem has always been in identifying what’s useful in this morass. Deepak Ghodke, country manager, Tableau India, a U.S.-based data analytics company, echoes this, saying that companies now have access to data interpretation tools. “What you make of these assets depends on the intelligence of your algorithms and the insights and conclusions that you can draw. You can use these tools to become much more efficient, productive and beneficial for your customers and even compete with your biggest competitors.”

Artificial intelligence-based forecasting can determine the right price of a product at any given day or even every hour by looking at various factors like prices of similar products by competing firms, day of the week, season etc to attract new customers, reduce churn and help determine which customers are most profitable.

Kamath of Jyothy Laboratories explains how his company uses disparate sets of data to decide on what and how much to manufacture. “We take rainfall prediction data from IMD [India Meteorological Department], and using our own algorithm, we decide the amount of mosquito repellent to be produced and marketed. We can actually decide how much to produce for each district.”

Tableau’s Ghodke says his company’s customers use data “to innovatively produce new products and services”. Tableau’s client list includes the likes of HDFC Bank, Eveready Industries, Ashok Leyland, EClerx, CRIF High Mark, and Star Health. “Price elasticity of items has become especially important in these times because the hyper-connected consumer constantly redefines values by comparing values even when browsing in a brick-and-mortar store,” says Gopinath Narayan, professor at the Faridabad-based National Institute of Financial Management.

Equally important is the fact that companies can monetise the data they have, or create new revenue streams based on available data. A company like Star Health and Allied Insurance, for instance, which sits on massive amounts of data on health, income, and occupation of all its policyholders, can segment the data and use that to target customers for specific policies.

“As an insurance company, our entire business hinges on the availability of reliable data. Our pricing and modelling depends on analysis of data, not only from our products but also from external sources in the industry,” says Sethuraman Kannan, CIO and vice president of information technology, Star Health.

Using tools such as Google Analytics 360, Max Life Insurance was able to understand a customer’s insurance-buying journey. The company claims that it closed FY17 as No. 1 in the online term market, and that it recorded a 115% year-on-year growth thanks to its digital sales channel.

IT’S NOT JUST about Big Data. Companies, particularly in manufacturing, are using robotics and automation to improve productivity. Nandan Denim, for instance, needed 2,500 people to man 100,000 spindles; today, with automation and other technological advances, that has come down to 1,100 people. It’s not necessarily reduced employee costs, but has allowed the company to invest more on highly skilled workers as well as on skill development.

“It is imperative for companies to automate and innovate if they want to survive in this hypercompetitive world. It is more about survival than anything else,” says Narayan. If smaller companies want to make the leap into the big league, automation should be one of their key mantras.

Over at GreyOrange, 27-year-old Kohli is an ardent evangelist of robotics— and not just because he makes a living selling robotic systems. Nor is it only about beating larger competitors, he says. Automation and technology systems can “make India into a competitive manufacturing powerhouse of the world. China has already done it and it is time for India to take the plunge”.

One of the most popular products from GreyOrange is its linear sorter, an artificial intelligence-powered robotic conveyor belt that picks, sorts, packs, and dispatches packages according to volume, weight, and destination. It’s a huge success with e-commerce and logistics companies like Flipkart, Jabong, Pepperfry, Aramax, and Ekart Logistics. There’s also Butler, a robot that carries goods and stacks them in warehouse racks. This product has become a hit with pharmaceuticals players because they can be sure that the right drugs are stored in the right place.

Warehouse automation products, like what GreyOrange provides, will allow companies to grow without necessarily investing in bigger warehouses. Robotic sorters improve efficiencies because they are faster and more accurate and, unlike human workers, need no time off. “With better product profiling, more reliable measurement systems, and logistics and distribution, companies can cut revenue leakages, enhance productivity and efficiency and thereby help them become more competitive vis-à-vis the bigger players,” says Kohli.

There are other kinds of tech innovations that companies have adopted. Praj, for one, uses the “walk through” technology provided in some modelling software to visualise how a factory or system will look; the technology also allows its designers an inside view of where the pipes and walls are, so they can understand the flow and ensure there’s no confusion.

THE ONSLAUGHT OF new technologies and the speed that characterises the connected world is forcing even the giants to revisit their business models and future investments. With automation, data analysis, and tech tools easily available, smaller companies are no longer intimidated by their bigger, richer competitors. For once, the playing field appears level, and those companies that are willing to automate, digitalise, and innovate have the best chance to grow and prosper. “Today, even a small hospital in a tier II city can provide similar levels of health care as any big hospital in a metro by the use of technology,” says Vikas Arora, cloud business leader for IBM India and South Asia.

The key takeaway in this digital age is that owning more assets does not necessarily translate into a leadership position. Globally, companies such as Google and Facebook have proved that it is possible to follow an asset-light strategy and still lead the market. It’s a strategy that’s beginning to find favour in India as well, even with manufacturing companies such as BPL.

Pramod Chaudhari (left), founder chairman of Praj Industries. (Right) Samay Kohli, co-founder
and CEO, GreyOrange.

This model has seen the rise of aggregators, whose aim is to help smaller companies grow without burdening them with assets—by aggregating raw materials and selling them at a discount to smaller players. Power2SME, an online business-to-business player that is helping SMEs become future ready, has built simple-to-use tech platforms for companies, which allow them to track their orders as well as undertake transactional activities such as placing new enquiries, checking price quotes, uploading purchase orders, checking status of delivery, account statements, notification of payment due, etc. This platform is available 24×7 to all customers and enables them to reduce costs and build efficiencies in their business processes, helping them compete on an equal footing with large enterprises.

“Our goal is to provide a complete digital ecosystem for the medium and small-scale sectors, resolve their top 10 pressing problems, and thereby free them from the day-to-day hassles of running the organisation,” says R. Narayan, founder and CEO of Power2SME. He says the name of the company was inspired by a John Lennon song about power to the people. More important, it also describes its mission statement: empowering smaller manufacturing units to optimise their true potential by sticking to their knitting without being bogged down by infrastructural and other issues.

Power2SME is one of the few aggregators, helping companies with everything from finance to procurement, but it is not the only business set up to help companies manage their business. There are business-to-business players like TradeIndia and IndiaMART, as well as technology solutions providers like NEC and Marg Compusoft. NEC Technologies, for instance, offers scaleable data analytics solutions to companies. “It not only reduces the initial costs, but is scaleable architecture means that it can be used across appliances,” says NEC’s Sinha.

Marg Compusoft offers software services to help smaller companies manage everything from accounting to inventory and store management. “Our software will also help in predictive analytics, which will allow the company to take a decision on what to produce, how much to produce by looking at historical data,” says Sudhir Singh, managing director, Marg Compusoft. The company has recently slashed the price of its GST solution from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 10,000. “If you choose the right software, there is really nothing to worry about GST. An intelligent software will take care of all issues, including different rates for different products,” says Marg’s managing director, Thakur Anup Singh.

Brijesh Agrawal and cousin Dinesh Agarwal, founders of IndiaMART, want to disrupt the traditional marketplace for industrial goods, where hundreds of buyers and sellers congregate. “The very reason for the existence of such a marketplace has become redundant because the Internet allows, theoretically speaking, an unlimited number of buyers and sellers to come on a single platform and transact business,” says Agrawal.

The cousins decided to replace the crowded bylanes of Chandni Chowk with the information highway, and created IndiaMART, an online marketplace for industrial goods. Although IndiaMART proved a success, the cousins wanted to utilise the tech platforms available to set up an end-to-end virtual market, with everything from payments, packaging, logistics, and delivery resolved. That was Tolexo, a portal that provides access to almost anything a small industry needs, from power saws to safety helmets to office supplies.

THE DEMOCRATISATION OF technology (with the growing popularity of the cloud) allows even small companies and bootstrapped start-ups the chance to use the same platforms and services as their much larger peers. With automation, Big Data analysis, and other tech tools easily available, smaller companies are no longer intimidated by their bigger, richer competitors.

With digital platforms like Alibaba, Amazon, and Flipkart, even a tiny organisation can become a ‘micromultinational’. Any company can source products, services, and even ideas, from across the world, and can, in turn, sell everywhere (subject to the law).

“The digital form of globalisation has meant that even the smallest company can be born global and hope to compete with the best in the world,’’ says Narayan of the National Institute of Financial Management. We are, in many ways, seeing the birth of a new industrial revolution based on algorithms, and those who embrace it will grow and prosper.

Left Plush Job Abroad And Jumped To A Startup Life, Now Does Rs 300 Cr Turnover

Kenfolios

There are not many instances where we see a business man’s child wants to be a self-made entrepreneur. It’s either that they join the family business or opt for a cozy job. Here’s Dinesh Agarwal who grew up in a smooth business family but had no plans of becoming a businessman ever.

Dinesh is originally from Nanpara, Uttar Pradesh. After completing his Btech in Computer Science from Kanpur, he worked with many MNCs. Five years later he moved to America to work with HCL Technologies.  The salary, quality of life and the work, all was good out there, but Dinesh felt something missing and a thought whirled in his mind that he can not do the same job for his life…

Read more here

My Forces Have Always Been For Me, This Independence Day #IM4Forces

When we sat down to plan for this Independence Day, we wanted the celebration to be dedicated to the real heroes who have sacrificed their comfort to protect our freedom. Hence we decided to send our messages to our Armed Forced – Indian Army, Navy and Air Force because we strongly believe that we owe our independence to them.

When we looked around we realised that we celebrate even the smallest of our festivities and successes and share our happiness and pride with everyone – friends, family and social media. We party, we click pictures, we post selfies, we write Facebook posts and we celebrate the togetherness. Considering this, we thought to dedicate one day, one picture, one social media post to those who have missed every celebration and festivity to keep ours secure.

We just wanted to show to our soldiers that we care and that we are grateful for what they do for us. Whether it’s 50 degree temperature at the Indo-Pak border in parts of Rajasthan or -50 degree at Siachen, whether it’s a flood or a drought, whether it’s is for a peace keeping mission or for holding the guns tight against the enemies; our men and women in uniform never shy away from standing upright whenever there has been a need. Hence, this independence day we thought to get into action and do the minimum we could do for them. We got ourselves photo-ready to get clicked and put forward the best of our emotions through personalised messages.

Here’s a sneak-peak:

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We feel that this is the least that we can do for those who do not think twice before sacrificing their lives to keep us safe. We urge all of you to never shy away from sharing your love and respect for the Forces. If 1.3 Billion countrymen decide to stand with the 4 Million active, reserved and para military personnel, then imagine the strength that we can add to our Forces. This activity of ours was just a small endeavour towards the same. Let each one of us stand in solidarity and tell them that our forces aren’t alone because #IM4Forces.

How IndiaMART survived dot com burst, 9/11, 2008 crisis…

Entrakr

Back in 2001, Dinesh Agarwal received a call from one of the leading business magazines in Delhi, which was conducting a survey on the internet business in India, after the dot com bubble burst.

The reporter on the call asked a straight question – whether Agarwal’s five-year-old internet business was alive. And Agarwal equipped, “We’re alive and kicking and profitable.”

The publication verified the claim with the company’s registrar of filings and changed the cover story overnight. The new edition had Agarwal on the cover page and ran a story on IndiaMart, a profitable internet business entity, recounts the founder.

Launch story

On 14th August 1995, state-owned Videsh Sanchar Nigam Limited (VSNL) announced the launch of the first publicly available internet service in India. The announcement was a harbinger of a flood of opportunity in India.

Meanwhile, in far-off US, a 25-year-old software engineer was observing the development in India. The young man decided to return to his country to leverage the opportunity via the internet.

Within two months, he was in India; within a year’s time he founded a company for exporters and other businesses.

Launched in 1996, IndiaMart created an online B2B directory, along with websites building platforms for exporters and SMEs.

“It had been a few years since the Indian economy was opened to the world. The other major economies like the US wanted to trade with Indian businesses, but there was little scope of business reach between the two countries. I decided to build a business directory and websites for these exporters/ businesses to introduce them to other parts of the world,” said Dinesh Agarwal, CEO and Founder, IndiaMart.

When the ball set rolling

The launch of IndiaMart was successfully able to stir the market as the company’s portal witnessed an influx of enquiries relating to various businesses from different parts of the world, especially the US, Agarwal explained.

“We would note down all the enquiries and send them to various related businesses through posts. This gradually brought some business for exporters; they eventually saw some relevance in their association with us,” he said.

For the first two years, the company was listing the business for free and building the directory.

In 1998, IndiaMart got the first paid listing. And in the same year, it expanded its reach beyond Delhi and launched its second office in Mumbai (then-Bombay).

The company’s B2B directory and website building business were a major hit and continued to remain so till 2001, when the company bore the heat of the melting twin towers (caused by a terrorist attack) in America.

How 9/11 affected business

Two events – the war in Afghanistan and protectionist policy of the US – made a huge dent in the export market of India. As export dwindled so did the business of the Delhi-based company.

Besides, expansion of the internet had already started, as many players had begun offering website building services in the country.

“Those were the tough days as the company was grappling with the havoc in the market. However, we utilized the time to build strategies and found methods to evolve our business,” added Agarwal.

IndiaMart’s B2B listing was the unique model on which it had built a huge directory of business on its platform. There was nobody around who could give the company competition. It adopted a new slogan ‘more buyers, more suppliers and more business’, which stands true for the company’s business as well as businesses registered on the platform.

Building trust among users

Within a year’s time, its premier listing business took off. Now, Agarwal wanted to build a more trustworthy platform where buyers and sellers could trust each other and conduct business smoothly.

A year later in 2003, it launched TrustSEAL, a B2B business verification service that checks a company’s proof of existence, credibility and trustworthiness.

Under TrustSEAL, the company has to submit a copy of documents along with a subscription application and specified fees. IndiaMART and its authorized verification agency verifies the documents and authenticates the data and accordingly assigns a TrustSEAL to the company.

Meanwhile, the company observed that users also needed a mode of transaction on the platform via which they can settle payment on the trust of the company.

In 2005, Agarwal launched a payment platform, which he shut down in 2009.

The year 2007 was another dramatic period when IndiaMart made another big pivot — it changed its focus from international to the domestic market.

“The shift in focus was a deliberate attempt as per the demand of the market. During 2007-2008, the rupee was getting stronger against the US dollar. Besides, the Chinese export market was swiftly capturing the world, including India. Amidst this, another development was taking place in India – domestic business was rising in an unprecedented way. We saw a lot more opportunity within the country and hence, decided to shift our focus,” said Agarwal.

Giving a push to the new growth plan, the company decided to raise funds. In 2009, it raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Intel Capital.

Following the move, the listing company observed a boom. A year later, in 2010, continuing the growth momentum, it launched 52 offices in 52 weeks.

In 2011, the platform enhanced the use of technology and introduced many other services for users — auto generated requests for quotation (RFQs), finding right sellers and buyers using computer algorithms, etc.

This year, IndiaMART has forayed into the payments space to help the over 3 million sellers on its platform. The company has launched its buyer and seller protection programme to address the bottleneck of trust deficit for SMEs.

“For any marketplace, effective payment facilitation is the most aligned service as it facilitates the purchase cycle,” says Agarwal.

When Agarwal burnt his hands in B2C

In 2014, IndiaMART.com had launched Tolexo, an e-commerce marketplace for businesses to list their entities and consumers to buy various items through the platform.

Agarwal said the aim was to create a niche for SMEs and sell focussed products for them.

In 2016, it raised an undisclosed amount in Series C funding led by Amadeus Capital and also spent a large sum on Tolexo.

In the same year, Tolexo launched Seller Panel. The aim of launching the panel was to offer enhanced visibility to sellers and enable them to manage their business-related tasks seamlessly.

The company did everything to support the new B2C entity. However, Tolexo couldn’t take off as expected by the founder.

In February this year, according to media reports, Tolexo was planning to lay off 300 employees, or 85% of its workforce. The move was reportedly part of the company’s plans to wind up its online business to launch a completely new offline initiative.

When asked what went wrong in the business, Agarwal equipped, “Our aim was to provide solutions in the B2C segment as well, however, we failed to crack the business. We’re still wondering what went wrong and why we couldn’t take off.”

Company has come a long way

It’s been more than 20 years of IndiaMart and there is no looking back. The company which was started as a listing platform has now the largest directory of business where, as claimed, over 35 million buyers have access to 3 Million suppliers for over 4.3 Crore products listed on the the platform.

The online platform  had closed the financial Year 2015-16 with revenue of Rs 300 crore and is expected to register a growth of 30 per cent for the year 2016-17.

When asked about the existing competition likes of Alibaba, Agarwal reclined on the chair — expressing his relaxed state of mind — smiled and said: He is little bothered by it. Alibaba can rather work with us instead of thinking about creating a competition.

Today, Agarwal is not only an entrepreneur but an investor, who has invested many firms and acquired some as well.

He has invested in more than 40 companies, including the likes of Procmart, Wishberry, SilverPush, Ozonetel, Little Eye Labs, WeAreHolidays and PlayCez, among others.

Besides, the company has been planning to hit IPO. Agarwal said: We aim to roll out IPO. We have been talking to our investors for quite some time, however, we are yet to settle on many important plans and decisions. I believe we will soon reach the conclusion.

Five tech upgrades to ease your business activities

ET CIO

The recent past has seen a wave of technological advancements that have true potentials to enhance the ease of doing business.

Ranging from voice and fingerprint recognition to the transition of India into a digital economy, these technological upgrades can help give a major boost to the economic activities.

Here are some of the latest tech upgrades taken up by major industry players to keep their business models in sync with the changing tech and therefore, reap higher yields in scale and growth.

Digital payments:

India is witnessing a shift to digitisation, with customers resorting to online payment. It was time that the small and medium sellers come online too and take the digital plunge to become the part of the mainstream economy. Recently, IndiaMART entered the payments space, opening gateways for over three million sellers associated with the company to jump on to the digital bandwagon. The company has launched its buyer and seller protection program that will enable the sellers to remain free from the concern of payment risk and assure the buyers that they will receive exactly the product or service they expect before the payment is made. Since the pilot launch of online payments, there has been a week-on-week growth of 100 percent and more than 20,000 buyers and suppliers have already registered for it.

Artificial Intelligence (AI):

With AI being considered as the future of technology, Staqu created VGrep API suite, offering virtual search engine and a hybrid recommendation engine. It recently launched a Pilot project with Alwar Police by developing an app for police officers – ABHED (Artificial intelligence Based Human Efface Detection), an advanced AI app to assist police in criminal identity registration, tracking and missing persons’ search.

Iris Technology:

Bringing iris detection into its operations, Delta ID aims to make the iris in our eyes a secret password that no individual will ever have to remember. The company’s patented biometric technology, ActiveIRIS is the world’s first iris recognition technology that can be easily integrated into mass market mobile and PC devices, and is extremely easy for consumers to use. With ActiveIRIS, all users have to do is to just look to unlock their mobile devices, log into various websites, make an online or mobile payment or do an Aadhaar authentication or eKYC.

For consumers, the natural and fool-proof eye-based identification technology is incredibly fast, easy to use while being safe and secure if compared to other identification mediums existing in the space such as passwords, passcodes, face recognition and finger-print recognition, which depends on several external factors.

Geo fencing:

Be U Salons uses Geo Fencing, which is like creating a virtual geographic boundary around an area, by means of GPS or RFID technology, enabling software to trigger a response when a mobile device enters or leaves the area. It sends a notification to the customer registered through app that ‘Hey we noticed you were here, come avail this service’.

AMP:

Using the AMP technology, customers of NoBroker, a real-estate portal can seamlessly locate their houses. AMP supports the idea of an ‘organised realty sector’ in India where house owners and potential tenants both needn’t require tech-skills for a seamless exchange.

This monsoon, stay safe and use these apps to keep mosquitoes at bay

During the monsoon, the threat of dengue looms large and people adopt all types of measures to ward off mosquitoes. It always good to take precautions before hand, lot of people are getting pest control done in houses. It is especially important as the World Health Organization revealed that mosquitoes killed 24,000 Indians in 2015. Below are the top four apps to help you stay safe:

* UrbanClap: Pest control is one of the services of UrbanClap which is high in demand these days. The start-up provides government licensed professionals and chemicals. The service is available for both commercial and domestic purposes. UrbanClap uses technology and smart processes to structure the highly unorganised services market in India.

* IndiaMart: The portal observes that every year around June-September, the inquiries for such products grows manifold. Also, the portal has witnessed a surge for pest control service requests by commercial organisations like corporate offices, hotels, hospitals, schools and colleges.

* ExportersIndia: The portal provides a wide range of anti-mosquito products like herbal mosquito repellent, mosquito repellent coils, cream, lotion, mats and chemicals.

* Timesaverz: Timesaverz provides various services ranging from cleaning tasks, beauty services, laundry pickup and drop, plumber, pest control, appliances repairs and handyman jobs. The app makes it convenient to book services directly from your mobile phone and track their status. It is also giving leakage audit services. Water intrusion in roofs or a leaking tap, this home service provider is just a click away.

IndiaMART wins the best Business App Award at GMASA 2017

The app has close to 50 lakh downloads and offers a mobile platform for buyers and sellers to connect with each other.

IndiaMART, India’s largest online marketplace has been awarded as the best app in business category at the Global Mobile App Summit Awards, 2017 held at Bangalore. The app connects buyers with relevant suppliers and allows them to do business on the go. The App has been awarded for its features, customised solutions and user experience.

With a rating of 4.4 on Play Store, IndiaMART’s app stands as the top rated app in the ecommerce and online marketplace category. IndiaMART has acquired a 5 star rating by 67% of the users.

“I feel really excited about winning this award. At IndiaMART, we believe in building products with a customer first approach. In 2013 as mobile started to become a dominant platform, we realised the need of having an app that could cater to the needs of our buyers and sellers. In the past 4 years we have looked at each and every feedback from our app users and invested resources to build an unparalleled experience. I’d like to dedicate this award to our users who have rated us and gave us suggestions to improve the product,” said Dinesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO of IndiaMART.

The app is available on Android, iOS and Windows and has close to 50 Lakh downloads.

Read More: MyMobile | BGR | DataQuest

I am high on IndiaMART

I became independent very early in life. I have 4 sisters and they had to be married. I knew if I had to study I will have to manage it on my own. So, while I was pursuing my B.Sc., I started to work as a sales guy for HP Laptops. That was my first sale. I am Shashank Singh, AM Client Acquisition and the funniest guy at the Sector 63 branch of IndiaMART.

It’s an addiction, you can’t have just one!

My previous office was located in the same building as IndiaMART. One day somebody told me about IndiaMART at the Chai Point outside the building. I just walked in and asked if there was an opening. I gave the interview and got selected.  And since then, I have never looked back. I joined on Jan 25, 2016 and did my first sale on the last day of my OJT. It was a Sunday morning; I had gone to purchase a belt. It might sound crazy but I ended up telling the shopkeeper about IndiaMART and why he should list himself on the platform. To my surprise, he got convinced and handed over a cheque of Rs 5000. I called up my then manager and got to know that we didn’t accept the bank. After 25 min, I had a cheque of Rs 25,000 in my hand. That was my first sale at IndiaMART. I have done almost 90 sales since then and the feeling is still amazing. Every sale inspires me to do more sales. It’s an addiction, you can’t have just one!

Cold is the new hot!

I believe in cold calling more than hot leads. There is a charm in converting a tough client. Whenever I visit a client for a meeting, I just walk-in to the nearby offices also. Many times I get kicked out, sometimes people offer to listen but I wait for that one person who falls for my bait. And when that happens, you can’t imagine the feeling.

My dreams are riding in the 5th Gear

I have just purchased my first car, Amaze. It’s a gift for my father. The lucrative incentive scheme at IndiaMART has allowed me to take this step towards my dreams.  Next I want to have a home of my own.  I am sure it will happen in the next year. There is a long way to go and my next destination is Goa. Yes! I am the winner of the Go Goa contest.

 I am IndiaMART

I feel I belong to the IndiaMART family. And why not, IndiaMART has been there whenever I needed a family. My father had a heart attack 5 months after I joined IndiaMART. Ideally, I wasn’t eligible for a loan. I spoke to Vikas Aggarwal directly. He sanctioned the loan within 20 minutes and the required amount was transferred to my account next morning. The transparency and the freedom to speak to anyone at any point of time are amazing.

Miles to go…

I have seen everything here – success, failure, appreciation, disappointment but what keeps me going is that next sale. Whenever I feel that my performance is going down, I just set a target for myself and write it on the board beside my desk. This motivates me. Unlike most people in my field, I don’t smoke to keep myself awake, I am always high on IndiaMART.

 

 

Yoga boosts active wear clothing business

Times of India

CHENNAI: Introduction of an International Yoga Day and fitness wave among millennials have made active wear more mainstream. With running, cycling and yoga becoming part of individual lifestyles and corporates pushing fitness, active wear is fast replacing the casual attire.

According to fashion e-tailers, active wear has become a new segment of casual or even professional wear, which is slowly eating into the share of regular T-shirts. “For every four T-shirts bought, the third or fourth is a sporty or a yoga Tshirt. In the bottom wear, yoga pants are eating into the share of formal trousers, khakis or denims. In fact, denim players are coming with yoga-pants like variations in denims,” said Sujayat Ali, CEO, Voonik.He said while active wear is at a 30% premium compared to their casual counterparts, the category is witnessing a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25%.

While top global brands such as Fila and Puma are witnessing heady growth, homegrown brands like Urban Yoga, Forever Yoga and Bhusattva are also witnessing high sales. “Most of the apparel we have is made of cotton, which makes it easy to stretch. We also have a yoga-on-the-go category, where people can wear yoga dresses even while they are not exercising. This lifestyle-based adoption of active wear has also contributed to the 30% growth we see,” said Aditi Mirani, brand head, Urban Yoga.
E-commerce players who have made active wear as a separate category are seeing between 20% and 70% growth in the segment. Amazon India, which has set up a dedicated active wear store, has collaborated with global and Indian brands selling active wear. Yoga wear is now among the top three categories within active wear itself, especially among women,” said Arun Sirdeshmukh, head, Amazon Fashion.

Market Research firm Euromonitor said the active wear segment is poised to grow at a CAGR of 17.1%. In 2015-16, the category grew by 22%, beating the global growth of 7%.
And it is not just individuals who purchase them. With bulk orders, B2B players also see a spike in demand for Yoga apparel and accessories closer to Yoga day. “We have seen a 2X growth in demand of Yoga accessories in June due to the International Yoga Day. Some of the popular products are yoga mats, yoga pants, yoga ropes, yoga straps and yoga balls,” said Sumit Bedi, VP (marketing), India mart.

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