Online shopping has become en vogue with innovative schemes like ‘cash on delivery’ and monthly repayment options. And, in a very competitive segment, HomeShop18 has carved its niche via various channels including e-commerce, m-commerce, television and it’s recently launched virtual scan shops. In a candid conversation, Dhruva Chandrie, COO of HomeShop18 TV, shared their growth strategy.
Baibhab Das (BD)-What inspired the idea for a 24 hour shopping channel? How are you keeping above the competition?
Dhruva Chandrie (DC)-Home Shop18 started in 2008 as a pioneer in the Home Shopping space and aimed to change the way Indians shop. The aim of establishing HomeShop18 was to provide the best and genuine products to customers from the convenience of their home.
Five years ago when we set up India’s first Home Shopping channel it was difficult for us to attract good brands and products. HomeShop18 is the only player to be present across TV, web and mobile platforms.
Keeping multiple brands in multiple categories is our strength. HomeShop18 has also introduced ‘cash on delivery’, which is today an industry norm. Multiple paying options, including flexible EMIs, are offered to consumers to make virtual shopping truly a convenient experience. The kind of benchmarks we have created is testimony to how well we have succeeded in last five years and are keeping above competition.
(BD)-Define your target audience. What promotional activities have been undertaken to increase the awareness?
(DC)-Our target audience is very diver with respect to age and location. They can range from 8-80 years. We leverage special festivals and days like Diwali, Republic Day etc as these are days are big on shopping. We run special promotions and offers during this period. Recently on Akshay Tritiya we promoted gold items to cater to the demand on this day and got phenomenal response.
(BD)-You had recently launched virtual scan wall for shoppers at the airport. What is your take on the concept and what response have you received for the same? Can you share the number of purchases done so far? Do you plan to bring in more virtual scan walls?
(DC)-Scan N Shop, India’s first virtual shopping wall is a unique shopping concept not only in India but across the globe. The virtual wall is m-commerce enabled as one needs a mobile phone to do a transaction through the wall. Passengers can shop by simply scanning the QR code given with the product on the screens and place the order in the most hassle free manner. Technology is no more just confined to computers and laptops, smart phones and tablets are now being accessed for online shopping like never before. Hence, we are looking at more technology avenues to where we can be available and give uses a great online shopping experience.
The response has been excellent and well ahead of our expectations. The traction on virtual wall has been good so far, it too early to share any number, as it’s a new concept in India.
We plan to expand the screens. We have received outstanding support from GMR to set up the first shopping wall at New Delhi T3 domestic terminal.
(BD)-Is HomeShop18 looking to file an IPO? What are the number SKU’s sold by HomeShop18 and which category sells the most?
(DC)-We have recently raised $ 30 Million from OCP Asia and now we are adequately financed and do not have any definitive plans for an IPO in the near future.
At HomeShop18, we are seeing healthy growth in all the categories. There are customers even for niche segments. The best product category would be electronics. We are also the largest retailer for mobile devices in the country.
(BD)-Please give a break-up of sales. From which medium does HomeShop18 churn maximum sales? What are your future plans for expansion and growth?
(DC)-HomeShop18 is the only profitable virtual retailer in the country. In the last 5 years, TV business has becoming profitable with e-retail arm growing stronger with each passing day. With introduction in m-commerce, HomeShop18 has a robust three screen presence that will take the company to greater heights in the future. TV being the oldest business contributes the maximum sales of 70% and web contributes 30% of the same.
We are the pioneers in home shopping space and have completed 5 successful years in the running. HomeShop18 is the catalyst for growth in emerging markets within India by bringing bigger brands to their doorstep. By providing an unparalleled shopping experience to Indians across cities, Homeshop18 is making an alternate channel for distributors contributing to the growth of small and medium enterprises. We are looking to launch new value-driven shows and bring in a variety of products and brands. We are building our loyalty program and a host of customer oriented. We are the only brand to have a multi screen and multi platform model. We will continue to grow across TV, Web and Mobile as we believe that all these 3 mediums will co exist in India.