The story of Sanjeev is nothing short of pure determination and will to excel. He went through several ups and down in his life, but did not let his morale go down the drain. He always had the knack of going the extra mile to achieve what he desired. From a juice seller he went on to form a business with several dozens of franchises. He also founded Onlymobiles.com, which is a one-stop gateway for buying mobile phones. It is an ecommerce store where users can easily buy mobile phones and accessories.
Please provide a brief overview of your product/ service.
We are into B2C E-Commerce operating into single vertical – Mobile Phones and related products. Right now, we are serving as many as 17,000+ pin codes and e-tailing almost all major brands available under sun of the country. Ours is the first of its kind of e-commerce business line from the offline player and the idea going forward is to establish the O2O channel. Among standalone players, we are the biggest player in terms of GMV OR “delivered sales” – we are doing much better than players like TMS, Croma or the likes of them. We are not market place and dealing with our customers directly.
What inspired you to build the above product/ service?
We are into mobile retail (offline channel) since last almost 15 years. What we have realized during the course of the time is customers many times prefer to buy products online because of the convenience it offers. Off course, price is also a major driving factor. But at the end of the day, your customers are able to access your products 24×7 at their ease. They can compare or just simply browse the products. Such is actually bit difficult to manage in offline retail. With the growth of market places like FlipKart, amazon, Snapdeal in India, we are also witnessing growing concerns from the customers about the authenticity of the products, which are being sold. We often heard cases like warranty are not getting applicable on the mobiles, if they are being purchased from the market places. But we think that just because market places do not have any control mechanism in place, customer should not get harassed. Today, none of the market place taking liability of the warranty assurance. That is the key factor behind setting up the online store – OnlyMobiles.com.
Our customers are assured with warranty and warranty claims.
What is your life mantra?
Keep it simple – I try to avoid complications and believe that simplicity is endless innovation.
What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?
The most challenging part is to gain customer trust when you are dealing via e-commerce/online. Customers feel hesitant that how come a new site can offer much better prices than other established players? But once, our customers purchased and get the delivery – they recommend us because of our faster delivery & authentic/genuine products and support.
How did you overcome those challenges?
To gain customers trust, you need to have customers. To have customers, you need to have bigger volume driven business. That is the approach we have deployed when we have started off. We have started offering a very unique offering #30DAYSPRICEGUARANTEE which no one is offering. Rather no one is capable to offer (because they are seller driven). We offer 30-Days-Price-Guarantee to customers, which mean that if within 30 days of their purchase, if the mobile prices fall down, they can claim the same and we will refund the same into their bank account. Simple! Now, in such volatile market where prices fluctuate a lot – this helps to drool customer and once he get the price guarantee claim in his account – he is ours. Off course, this have cost us big time as we have to restrict ourselves from fancy offices, bigger marketing spend but this increases the goodwill and ultimately customer trusts you. In addition, word of mouth is in your favor.
Share some details about the investments that you have been able to fetch for the business till now.
Since we were having 96 stores before going live online – we were having good supply chain investment and we did not require investing much into the same. We have developed good e-commerce website & android application. iOS App is underway but we have did major investment into order processing and our own warehouse. We have set up a joint warehouse with Delhivery in Chennai for the south India customers/orders and we are in process to set up two more – one in north India and another in east India. While western India orders will be processed from our Gujarat warehouse.
We are investing good amount of time and capital to ensure that our customer support system should be as friendly as offline retailing – so, customer should feel ease. Our customer support executives at call centers are not just to track orders or giving answers related to this to customers but they are totally equipped to answer customers’ technical questions, helping them resolving queries and even advise customers to choose the right model as per their budget or needs.
How do you protect yourself from the problem of Brain Drain?
So far, we have not encountered this problem because of the smaller size of the team. One of the major reasons is also that we are pretty hands-on management people. However, as we grow we know that the only way to protect from the problem of Brain Drain is to ensure that your employees feel comfortable while working with us. We believe in job rotations to avoid monotonous-ness of E-Commerce and we empower them to take independent decision. Our only mandate to them is to ensure that we remain unit economics positive for each order we ship and customer should remain happy, if not happier.
According to you, what are the three qualities an individual must have to achieve success?
Honesty, Hard work and Common Sense – these are the essential three qualities to achieve success.
Which online tools/ services/ apps do you use the most and would like to recommend as well?
I use – WhatsApp and Evernote – and I recommend to others as well. I am not kind of e-mail person. I believe that as an entrepreneur you cannot have more than 3 hours to act on any problem. I remain in touch with my team via WhatsApp and I continue to make notes thru out the day.
One more app, which I have recently started using, is “slack” – I like the way, we can create channels for particular subjects, etc.
Share any one habit, which you think, makes you more productive.
Take decisions. Do not sit on problems. You have to act on any problem or business challenges in maximum 3 hours.
Share any one habit, which you wish to change in yourself.
I have habit of working till early morning – that is the only habit, which I want to change. OR rather, you can say that my family is pushing me to change
Answer in less than 50 words
One tip to success: T
There are no short cuts. Planning is okay but execution is the key. Be humble, be fast. Do not copy others. You will die one day and you have limited time to prove yourself. In addition, DO NOT CHEAT YOUR CUSTOMERS.
One mistake you believe every individual must avoid:
Do not wait for others to validate your idea. Do not wait for others to fund your business plans. Do not get afraid from the bigger ones or their success. You can always do much better than others. There is always scope of improvement in perfection.
One most important lesson that you have learnt till now:
You have one lifetime only to prove yourself. And time does not come back.
What are your plans for next 3 years?
As I have mentioned earlier that we are having 96 retail stores and now online presence – my plan is to build Omni-channel presence for these fast moving consumer electronics category (mobiles and related) across India. We are looking at establishing 600 stores in top 400 towns in India in next 5 years. I guess, in next 3 years we should be having around 400 stores in top 300 towns.
If you get a chance to start your career, again what would you do differently this time?
No. I treasure my past. I do not wish to change anything. My past is my school. I have learnt a lot – hard way.
What are your top three getaway destinations?
Share a quote that inspires you the most.
“The more I see the less I know for sure”– John Lennon