To thank our merchants and celebrate the spirit of eCommerce entrepreneurship, ShopClues had launched Merchant Mahotsav – a month-long festival of activities, events and fabulous offers. A major event in this festival was a panel discussion: “Success Mantra To Become A Top Merchant” held at ShopClues head office in Gurgaon on Thursday 14th December 2017.
It was moderated by Mr. Sanjay Sethi, Co-Founder and CEO, ShopClues. The idea was to help our top merchants to share tips & tricks to sell more and easily right with our sellers.
Mr. Arun Goel – Vice-President, Product, started the day by talking about the importance of merchants and how ShopClues values every single merchant. Mr. Sanjay Sethi then took over proceedings by talking about how we want all our sellers to be successful and then introduced the merchants in attendance to the panel.
The first to speak was Mr. Rahul Singh, who spoke about the need to create and maintain product quality. As a growth strategy, he recommended having multiple products. “It is important to increase your product line with similar or related products (as it gives the scope for cross-selling)” Next to speak was Mr. Harsh Arora, who added that the merchants should think beyond quality. He spoke about long-term growth and how it can be achieved by compromising on margins in the short term to sell more units. Constant sales will lead to more growth.
Mr. Bhavesh Kotak, store owner – Harsh, spoke about constant market research, the importance of wholesale and the need to invest smartly in advertising. His advice for other sellers was to not stop after recovering the initial investment but use it as a stepping stone.
Mr. Singh then spoke about the need to expand products but always maintain focus on your main labels. He spoke about creating private labels while always safeguarding the supply chain. Mr Arora asked merchants to focus on only one, either margins or volumes, and shape their business accordingly. Mr Kotak encouraged merchants to move up the supply chain, e.g: from a distributor to manufacturer.
Mr. Randhir Tomar, store owner – ysimpl spoke about the need to invest in digital infrastructure and digital marketing to scale up the business and keep a constant faith. He said that it will increase efficiency which will ultimately lead to growth as the work done will be more. Mr. Rishabh Jain, store owner – Stark Enterprise spoke about the need for merchants to take time and understand eCommerce. He spoke about the importance of user-generated content and how you can use it to create your own brand.
This discussion was followed by a QA session.
The first question was about how a merchant should respond to negative comments on social media. This was answered by Mr. Sethi who said “Make changes if only the majority is negative. Keep your goals in front of you. Identify your correct customers.”
The next question was about why ShopClues puts a return to orders charges during Cash On Delivery. Mr. Sethi started by saying that COD has reached its peak and will reduce very soon. The inconsistencies among courier companies have also lead to the rise in COD.
As an answer to why returns to orders are charged on COD, he said that it would affect the cash flow and as an overall practice, merchants should plan margins which included this. Mr. Arora added by saying that there is a fear of products not being delivered for new eCommerce users in small towns and older generations. Removal of COD will lead to a loss of customers in these important audience sets.
Mr. Sethi then spoke about future trends like Aadhaar card related payments and we should prepare for it. He then concluded by talking about running a business with honesty and how it will lead to eventual success.
The vote of thanks was given by Mr. Nitin Kochar, Senior Vice President – Category who mentioned how merchants inspire us with their hard work and that they are a strong reason for our success. It was an informative and inspirational session, with a lot of knowledge gained by everyone in the room.