Jabong in discussion with investors

Praveen Sinha talks about e-commerce evolution in India.
Jabong in discussion with investors , says Praveen Sinha, MD

How you see the funding that is pouring in e-commerce companies? Why you think brick and mortar retailers are failed to fetch the VCs attention?

Actually, the phase of funding started three years back, then the time came when VCs started becoming quite selective. The criterion was shifted to the notion compassing who the ‘Selected’ are, from ‘idea’ and the ‘team’ that used to be earlier. Now the phase has arrived, where they have already identified few of them, whom VCs think they are going to last and they are pouring their money on them.

The phase has not come suddenly. In fact, it has evolved in phases, hence, I am very positive about the trend to continue in future as well. 

It is wrong to state that money is not coming in offline retail, just take the example of Future Group. They have created a series of companies.  E-commerce is fetching attention because it is relatively new and growing quite fast. Internationally, e-commerce is the success model, and who can repeat the success here, is the subject for interest for VCs.

Is Jabong is still looking for new investors to join in? What is your criterion to select new investment?

We are sufficiently funded. Also, we never go out looking for new investor instead we believe in to engage them with us first. In fact, many investors approached us three years back, but we told them to watch us for a while and understand our business model thoroughly and invest at right time. We are still having discussion with few investors, but long term engagement would always be our priority.

Despite all this growth why big e-tailers are choosing to go offline? Also, is Jabong also planning to make offline foray?

I do agree there is some synergy, but it is also about timings. Also, offline and online are two complete different models, India has not reached to a stage where consumers start thinking online and offline as a single entity.

And, it is a country where organized retail has not penetrated completely. If   you take the example of few big retail companies, they are also presented in few hundred cities. Hence, there is a lot of scope is presented for e-commerce companies. 

Why Jabong is betting big on foreign labels? It is the strategy to compete with Myntra in fashion segment? 

We love competition. Having said that  I would also like to clarify that we want to grow a strong assortment of fashion brands on Jabong.  We also wish to make  fashion  as our strongest category.

We wish to make the product available irrespective of constraint. Take the example of Dubai and Singapore; there are many people in India who visit these two places exclusively to grab their favorite brands which might not available in India. With Jabong, I want to make that happen.

And, it is not about international brands we are also focusing on Indian labels as well. In fact, we are planning to launch our own private label as well, and we have roped-in renowned designer Rohit Bal to design our exclusive range. And, very recently, we have organized on-line fashion week where many local designers were invited.

So far, we have made more than 1000 brands available on Jabong.com. 

What you have to say on same day delivery model, especially how you are assuring the success of this model in tier 2 cities?

We are offering same day delivery in our 60-70 percent categories that too in metro cities excluding few pin codes in Noida. Poor infrastructure and high taxes are prime concerns in tier2 cities. However, we are hopeful for expressway connectivity be it through road or air in future that would allow us to implement same model in smaller cities as well.

Don’t you think local warehousing can solve the problem of tier 2 cities?

Local warehousing cannot solve the problem. Let me give you an example; let’s say I have 30 shoes in particular size. And, if I go state-wise for warehouse distribution, then there are 29 states, and ideally I can place just one pair of shoes at each warehouse.  And, just one pair cannot meet out demand of particular area. Hence, we have to think at fundamental level to solve this issue.

Praveen Sinha