eCommerce is no more a buzz in the Indian retail spectrum. With regular changing behaviour of consumers today, hyperlocal services have surely taken the driving seat here. 2015 was definitely the year for hyperlocal marketplace as we saw a spate of well-funded launches happening in this space. But, still the industry is at a very fragile stage as sustainability in this business is not a cake walk!
Despite heavy vogue, both in consumers and investors, many hyperlocal services couldn’t manage to cope up with the industry’s aggressive dynamics and work mechanics. While many just drowned down at an early stage of their journey, some of these startups have successfully been able to add new chapters to the hyperlocal book.
Retailer Media hooked up with Siddharth Dalal, Co-Founder, BookMeIn (a hyperlocal aggregator that help consumers find the right vendor at the right time) to know more about the growth capability and survival instincts of the industry.
Share your background. Your education and whether entrepreneurship was something you always wanted to do?
I am Siddharth Dalal, the Co-founder of BookMeIn, a hyperlocal aggregator that integrates customers and vendors on a common platform to address the unorganised sector of home services. I am responsible for the key areas of strategy, marketing, sales and operations in the company.
I hold an M.Com degree and an M.B.A in Finance from University of Wales. Prior to foraying into BookMeIn, I have worked as the Director- Business Solutions and Alliance at TRU Group of Companies. Before this, I served as the Business Head – IS at Team Computers and Business Head-Information Services in the same company. I have also worked as VP-Sales of Robosoft Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
I envision to simplifying and easing people’s lives through BookMeIn and scaling it to become the world’s leading online service provider. With BookMeIn I aspire to bolster the service providers’ businesses by helping them enlarge their customer base.
How was the idea of your Start-up conceptualized? What is the need you are addressing in the market?
The idea of BookMeIn arose from the hassles that the founders had to face in their daily lives. This was a time when there were no organised solutions to problems like calling a carpenter and finding a good salon. It encouraged them to create a unique portal where customers can connect directly with the service providers and book the service of their choice in an easy way. A considerable amount of conceptualising, market research, interaction with service providers and proto-type building was involved in laying the foundation for this one-of-its-kind platform.
Who is your target consumer? Could you please share how you have detailed your consumer?
Our Target Consumers are between the age group 14-35years of urban population.
Have you raised any funding so far? What are your plans to use this funding for?
Angel funding of INR 2.5 crore from the Ajmera Group of Companies
What has been your A-ha Moment in the business? (The high point)
There are many but one of the biggest moments has been when a user thanked us on Chat that she needed an instant Glow facial as she had to meet a boy for marriage and wanted a good salon close to her office during lunch time. It took her 10 min and she was done with the booking.
Talk to us about the recent trends and future retrospection of hyperlocal industry of the country?
Consumer’s research online this is where the decision of buying has already been done. Order booking or appointment booking can happen offline or online. Which dress to buy, which haircut style to get done, what activity my kid should do this summer, why to do it, where to do it, is it available where I want it when I want it and at the price I want it. These are the questions consumers are asking bookmein.in today.
We have seen a steady tread on information needed even before meeting the business or service provider. This is the present; the future is the user expecting the app/website to come tell me that I am due for a haircut. Expectation is that user needs a smart system help them manage their daily chores and they focus on what is important to them.
What has been your biggest challenge so far in scaling -up? How are you addressing it?
Biggest challenge to get the right set of team who is as or more motivated.
When getting people on-board to get more insights on where they want to reach rather than what they have been doing in life. Keep looking at people who are hungry to grow and grow fast. Skills can be developed; attitude is what one comes with.
How do you see growth scenario is this business? What are your future scale-up plans?
Next three years BookMeIn will be a leading portal/app for connecting Professionals/ Services business to the vast population for services seekers making it an organized sector. We plan to get to about 100 odd categories and 10 cities in India. This is also in connection 2 important initiatives taken by our honourable Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi i.e. Skill India and digital India. We believe we can play a very important role to support both the initiatives.