Entrepreneurs in the retail space constantly follow the process of consolidation and nurture in the journey of achieving higher growth. After donning in expansion in 30 major cities in the country, Hari Menon, Co-founder and CEO, Big Basket is consolidating his business before going for next phase of expansion. Post receiving $300 mn investment from Alibaba, the e-retailer is only focusing on growth. Marketing, technology and analytics are the major factors that the company is focusing on. It is aiming to be the best customer oriented company, most preferred employer for blue collar workers and most preferred partners for farmers. Thus, talking about brands future strategies, Hari Menon spoke to Indianretailer.com while adding that the company is aiming to be a billion dollar one by 2020.
Please explain why are you done with your business expansion plans?
We are pretty much done with the business expansion from geographical perspective. We are now going to consolidate and focus on cities that we are in. We are present in 30 cities and going deeper in each of these cities.
In these cities our backend process is in place. We have full-fledged service models to deliver in slots, which is for the planned delivery service. We offer express services which delivers in 90 minutes for emergencies, top-ups and essentially perishables. Also we have specialty marketplace where there are specialty stores as our partners in the market. Therefore, these three channels are now enough to serve the consumers in our existing cities.
We also have large B2B channel setup which actually serves customers and large network of Kirana stores.
Will you continue to invest in disruption, value creation, consumption and technology?
Since Alibaba invested $300 mn in our company, our essential focus is only on growth. Since last six years we are focusing on backend and it is delivering well, consumers are pretty happy, our metrics are doing very well in terms of order fill rates, on time delivery and in-stock versus out of stock.
We have renewed our contract with our brand ambassador to be more visible. To achieve large growth numbers we will focus on three factors – marketing, technology to make the customers life easy and third, infrastructure upgradation, which includes warehousing etc. Within technology one of the areas that we are really focusing on is analytics to understand the consumer better.
How are you innovating at the customer facing side?
There are certain areas we are focusing on from innovation stand point. One of the things customers can see is single click checkout. If you are a wallet customer, in one click your payment will be taken and you can quickly checkout.
We are building a comprehensive marketing engine which allows all our users within the organization to use our various marketing assets effectively. With these tools, they will be able to plan a marketing campaign and work closely with our partners like HUL and P&G to automate their entire process.
Please tell us the key things that you are focusing on?
Our focus is on three things that are going to drive our business. First, we want to become the best customer service and customer oriented company in India. Second, we want to be the most preferred employer for blue collar workers. Around 75 percent of our 16,000 employees are blue collars. Third, we want to be the most preferred partners for farmers in India. We have already worked with about 2100 farmers and the number has grown to 5000 farmers. In these three areas you will see innovation and fundamentally, our focus is to grow the business much faster.
According to you which are the territories bringing in more demand?
Our tier I cities are still the biggest driver of demand and tier II cities are really growing now. We are doing a lot of work around places like Surat, Vadodara which are our pilot markets. These cities are doing extremely well. In the next 12 months our entire focus is going to be tier II markets.
We have 18 tier II markets and 12 tier I markets, so these tier II market will see more attention. Thus, we will remain in vegetable, grocery and supermarket range.
Which are the cities that you have broke-even in?
Operationally, we have broke-even in Bangalore and Hyderabad while in the next couple of months, we will break-even in three more cities. All cities will break-even operationally minus corporate cost and that will be the test of the model working. Break-even business proves the unit economics. In another four to five years we will become fully profitable.
What is your revenue target for the upcoming fiscals?
Last year we achieved a turnover of Rs 1400 crore and this year we will cross Rs 2000 crore, which I think is a large number. We will hit Rs 6500 crore mark by 2020. Our idea is to become a billion dollar company by 2020.