How e-commerce is evolving for precious metal retailing?
In an exclusive conversation with Priyesh Shah, Co-founder of CoinBazaar.in sheds light on the emerging avenues in metal retailing in India.BY Shipra Srivastava | August 03, 2018 | comments ( 0 ) |
CoinBazaar is one of the niche ecommerce platforms for buying precious metals such as Silver coins, Gold coins and Platinum bar etc. It provides authentic and verified precious metals with a lifetime buyback guarantee. In an exclusive conversation with Priyesh Shah, Co-founder of CoinBazaar.in sheds light on the emerging avenues in metal retailing in India.
How did CoinBazaar.in started? Also shed light on your business model?
In India, it's very rare that you would see a family which doesn't invest part of their savings in physical gold or jewellery. This may be out of our tradition, ritual ceremonies or even out of security motive, that in worst times - Yellow Metal is the only one which one relies on as it is highly liquid able commodity [Easily Saleable]. One of our Co-founders is a Certified Financial Planner & the other is Master in Computer Applications and third has Retail Experience of traditional Local Jewellery Store. Back in 2012 we envisaged that technology and e-commerce [online business] is the Next Big Thing in India and having synergy and vision to be a part of every household who buys gold, we thought of building a platform which would ease the way they save for Gold and Silver, giving the investor options to buy from Multiple Brands at LIVE Price.
We work on Real-time Inventory Model with complete control over the product being dispatched to assure 100% TRUST on the product being shipped which are Certified & Verified. We are Aggregator of various Bullion Selling Brands and Manage the Operations by handling them personally. We are not a complete marketplace model as we believe that to Build long-term Trust in the niche which we are serving, there has to be self-checks before delivering the product to our customers. We work on low margins and low overheads to generate profitability out of operations.
Since coins is the niche category and usually bought on specific occasions such as Diwali, Anniversary etc. (that too not in huge quality). , what kind of traction you are generating from your online portal?
Yes Selling Coins is a niche category and occasion centric business, however in India Coins are also bought for Investments. CoinBazaar.in is the only platform in India which is at 'LIVE' Pricing for Coins. Thus Investors regularly visit our platform to check daily price as well. This has helped build daily traction on our website in addition to the surge in traction which occurs during the special occasions and festivals.
Our Corporate Clients order Coins round the year as part of their Incentive Program for their Business Associates and Sales Executives. Not to forget the trend of Online Gaming Companies which regularly gives CoinBazaar coupons to the winners?
In India there is a diverse culture, religion, occasions, birthdays, anniversary and festivals. We sell widest range of Coins based on brands, purity, metal type, festivals, religion, customization etc. hence if one is looking for a precious & unique products.
What are the major challenges in retailing coins online?
Retailing Coins online is no different than selling coins in a Shop, however following are the two major challenges we faced:-
- Trust Building Challenge We started operations in 2012, with the first few niche customers from known circle. However since e-Commerce was in growth phase the trust was building on buying various products online. Over a period of time, with transparency in product pricing, well known brands, insured delivery & life time-buy back guarantee we were able to build lot of trust. Customers could buy coins from as low as Rs.500 to try our Platform and check our Certified Products. - Logistic Challenges Traditional Jeweler Store would sell Gold Coins across the counter to avoid any logistic risk. Theft of precious metals while in transit was a big concern and one of the key challenges. Also specific packing challenges of courier companies and added insurance for safety of the product being sold was a part of our journey to crack the code, ensuring that all these should not unreasonably increase the price of the coins and still keep them competitive.
What is your current distribution in online and offline space? Do you also operate via your exclusive store or plan to?
We are 100% Online Platform and intend to remain in the Online Space only. Our expertise and reach across India, has brought us customers from various parts of India. NRI's also place order on our platform to convert their savings in Coins and get them delivered to their parents or home in India.
With Online Payment Initiatives and Gateways we believe buying Coins of Precious Metals will certainly increase in coming years & we being there in this segment since past 6 years surely have the first-mover advantage.
Have you raised any sorts of funds so far or plan to?
We have not yet raised any formal funds or VC investments; however we did start with some initial funds from Friends & Family. We believe that we are in a Long-term game of building Reputed Platform with TRUST of each and every customer who buys from us. Over a period of time we do intend to dilute our stake for getting funds to build a more robust platform and offer even eGold and Vault based savings in Gold which needs regulatory compliance and investments.
What are your strategies to build brand credibility?
With Digital India Movement, Flipkart-Walmart Deal, UPI, BHIM & PayTM Online Funds Transfer Awareness and many other dynamic and revolutionary changes leading to penetration of Smart phones and Digital transactions, India is poised for an amazing Digital Growth and we at CoinBazaar.in expect 2018 - 2019 to be an year of expansion and brand credibility with visibility in minds of Indian Consumers as a "TRUSTED ONLINE BULLION STORE" with niche and specialty in Precious Metal Coins and Bars Segment.
Who do you see as your competition within same space?
Ecommerce is a tricky business and if you loose your focus, there are several places where you can loose the client and their Trust. One may find Coins on platforms like Amazon, Flipkart and Ebay [Announced its closure by 15th Aug'18] however being a sensitive segment we always believe that personal touch with our Customers and they knowing CoinBazaar as an Exclusive Online Bullion Store since 2012 has always kept us away from competition.
At last, kindly highlight your expansion plans?
Following are some of our plans where we are heading for:-
1. Bring Limited Edition Minted Coins from across the World for Indian Collectors and Investors. 2. Offer Pre-Book Government Minted Coins 3. Corporate Gifting of precious metal with last mile delivery service to their customers, business associates, management and employees all under one-roof as per budget. 3. Three Dimensional [3D] Coins for next level of personalized gifting. 4. Private Brands of Coins by renowned jewelers across India 4. CoinBazaar Android & IOS App for opportunity to buy at right time based on daily price updates and ease of regular investment. 5. Investor Awareness and Financial Planning Seminars