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INTERVIEW

“GMV has grown fourfold & revenue up eightfold,” says SaleBhai’s Singh
Monday, 07 August, 2017, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
SaleBhai.com is an one-stop destination for food specialities. The e-commerce platform offers the consumers with diverse range of authentic products from across the country at a convenient price.

Committed to delivering pure goodness, this online platform revolves around the philosophy of back to roots. It provides a mind-boggling range of exquisite sweets, biscuits, snacks, chocolates, pickles, spices and much more.

From Agra petha, Lonawala's chikki to Ratlam sev to Ahmedabad Khakhra, the country's mouth-watering treats are all available on SaleBhai.

Vishwavijay Singh, co-founder, SaleBhai.com, in an e-mail interaction with Shraddha Joshi, spoke about SaleBhai being a platform for discovery of unique items across India.

Please explain about your working. Give us a brief of the company.
SaleBhai.com is an Indian e-commerce marketplace that enables people living away from home to order a range of specialties directly from their hometowns.

It focuses on the twin objectives of meeting the requirements of over 17 diaspora communities living in big Indian cities and abroad, as well as being a platform for discovery of unique items across India.

Along with delicious eatables such as sweets, namkeens, chocolates, bakery, spices, dry fruits, beverages, and pickles, which have been sourced from over 100 cities and close to 300 cherry-picked vendors, SaleBhai also offers handicrafts, paintings, puja products, handloom goods and herbal and wellness items.

It is reported that SaleBhai.com has recently raised funds. Please elaborate on the amount of capital raised and how will the funds be utilised.
We had received a major boost from the Times Group’s Brand Capital. The media conglomerate has come on board with a deal size of Rs 10 crore for a minority stake in the company.

Brand Capital has decided to back our portal, considering the huge opportunity in solving a long-standing problem through an integrated platform and its range of curated products.

The partnership with Brand Capital will help us expand SaleBhai’s footprint and acquire more customers.

Have you partnered with any logistics players? Please explain which partner will take up which category.
We have engaged Bluedart, FedEx, and Aramex for delivery. Recently, we have also tied up with Vamaship and Xpressbees.

During festive occasions, we undertake hyperlocal delivery for which we have other logistics players.

Which cities are covered under your product portfolio? Name some of the major cities and its players.
Keeping in mind the 17 communities, we source products from over 100 cities.

We are proud to have partnered with 300-plus sellers, many of whom enjoy an indisputable reputation.

These include Kolkata’s K C Das (pioneers of rasgulla), D Damodar Mithaiwala of Mumbai, Vadodara’s Jagdish Foods Pvt Ltd (creators of Lilo Chevdo), Pune’s Bakelite, Karachi Bakery from Hyderabad, Moddy’s from Ooty, Prakash Namkeen from Indore, Lonavala’s Maganlal Chikki, Kolkata’s Ganguram, Punjabi Ghasitaram from Mumbai and several others.

What is the rate at which the company has grown since its inception?
Our journey has been reasonably good. We are adding 15 unique new sellers every month to get nearer to providing anything and everything a migrant misses from his hometown.

Our gross merchandise value (GMV) has grown four times over the last year, and our revenue has increased eight times over the last year.

Which category - among sweets, snacks, chocolates, bakery and dry fruits - account to the company’s highest revenue?
Dry fruits certainly account for the company’s highest revenue, and there are good reasons for this.

Not only do we source the very best and most organic dry fruits from highly-trusted sellers from the very regions where the items are produced, but we also offer them at the most affordable rates.

From popular dry fruits, such as Goan cashews, to more exotic items, such as goji berries and hazelnuts, we have a huge range of over 200 handpicked products in this category.

What makes them even more tempting to customers are the reasonable and exciting combo offers we roll out from time to time.

Add to that the festive discounts, and you can understand why this category is our bestseller.

What are your future plans regarding expansion to other states and abroad? Any new investments to be poured in for expansion?
We have recently launched international delivery of our products. The service will be available for both the Indian diaspora and foreign nationals, giving them a chance to enjoy authentic Indian food products.

The international delivery service will allows consumers to easily find regional products sourced directly from Indian vendors across the country.

It is available across 195 countries, with special focus on the United States, West and South Africa, the Middle-East, Australia and the United Kingdom.

How have you managed to bring sellers on board?
We have an excellent business development team that seeks out the top three sellers for every regional product we decide to sell on our platform.

This ensures that the products they offer are 100 per cent authentic and of the highest quality.

These sellers, who have had legacies spanning years (and in some cases, centuries) in their regions, now get customers from across India.

We tell them that they can reach out to national and international markets without investing any money in distribution. Whatever sales they make from our platform are additional sales to them without any effort.

A quest for such bigger customer base, and hence more popularity, and the ability to achieve that on a growing platform that prides itself on offering the very best of regional delights to its customers are the biggest reasons that sellers come on board.

What are your company’s plans for the coming years (mention customer base, new additions, etc.)?
  • We are expecting tie-ups with 400 unique sellers by December 2017
  • We plan to touch the one lakh customer base by this financial year
  • There will be an increase in repeat purchases
  • We will break into the 1,000 range (of the Alexa Internet Ranking)
  • We are targeting over 16 million Indians living overseas with our offerings, as well as becoming the go-to portal for the discovery of unique Indian regional products for people from other countries
How did you fare last year, and how do you see the coming year?
We have around 35,000 customers. We are adding between 3,000and 5,000 customers every month.

We had a GMV of about Rs 2 crore last year. Our target this year is Rs 10 crore. We intend to achieve an operational break even this year.

How do you see the impact of Goods and Services Tax (GST)?
Firstly, there has been a welcome move by the government where the earlier decision of collecting one per cent tax collected at source (TCS) by e-commerce players has now been kept under abeyance.

This will ensure that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is rolled out without unnecessary complications.

Secondly, since we have a marketplace model in place, our products are sold by the sellers directly to the customers – with the invoice issued by the former in the name of the latter. We do not come into the picture at all.

With the new GST regime, the only difference will be that earlier, we used to pay a service tax of 15 per cent, and now we will be paying GST of 18 per cent. As such, we shall not see a major impact.

However, players who generate their own invoices shall have to get registered in each state where they are selling. That is not the case with SaleBhai.com, so we are fine with the new GST regime for now.
 
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