NewsX was recently joined by Khushnud Khan & Rishi Raj Rathore, Co-Founders, Arzooo for an exclusive chat in its special segment NewsX A-List. Arzooo.com is a B2B commerce platform, powering Retail Stores with Technology.
Rishi Raj Rathore started off by talking about such an innovative online channel to help all offline stores actually boost their sales. “There’s a very interesting story behind Arzoo and we both were passionate about building something which can touch upon millions of lives out there, and eventually created a business which can be a multi-billion dollar business, especially for the Indian market. And throughout our journey previously, working in this category and for eCommerce giants, we realized that there’s a huge opportunity in this market especially for the electronics market where 90% of marketers go offline.”
“These retailers are like day to day facing a lot of competition with current online giants, but they don’t have anyone who can solve their problems. And actually, there’s a large scope to build a big company out of that. And so we thought of starting out so that we can enable these retailers with technology that we have in terms of e-commerce and fulfilment and we can create a big platform out of that.”
Khushnud elaborated on areas in which Arzoo helped electronic stores get more sales. “The reason we started this business as retail has been one sector where all the technological advancement that has happened over the decades. That’s where in the last five-six years of both the arrival of Amazon and Flipkart and all the large e-commerce platforms, they started out of the large fragmented retail network across the country. India has a large number of these electronics retailers or any physical retailer, and they started feeling the heat because there are large offline retailers The whole idea of Arzooo is putting all the retailers across the country on the same pedestal as Amazon and Flipkart as far as the selection of the products is concerned they are able to avail or offer to their customers, a larger or similar amount of range of products. And also, they have today access to similar kinds of pricing that any large retailer will have, and that’s the impact that our platform is creating.”
Khushnud also elaborated on the biggest challenges that Arzoo faced, “Like any startup when we started out also we got these typical challenges of building the platform, getting the right sort of people to work with you, of getting the funding requirement fulfilled. And moreover, making this change happen because we are going to offline retailers who have been disconnected with technology and also that technology has not reached them. So making them adapt to something as new as this was a kind of a bigger challenge for us.”
But since in the last four or five years the technology has made good inroads across the country. It has to some extent helped us, but initially the first couple of years it was a challenge,” he added.
Talking about future plans to ramp up operations in other parts of the country, Khushnud said, “Currently we are already operational across 20 states. There are a few largest states which are left out. We are going to expand into those states and the recent fundraising that we have done we raised about 65 Cr. we will go into expansion apart from product development, and getting the service quality better.”
Talking about the factors that were given special emphasis on when started off which made Arzoo emerged as one of the leading e-commerce platforms for appliances and also electronic sales, “ We are dealing with is a very high involvement purchase category which means that the whole buying journey for a customer finding television or refrigerator or a washing machine take a week or 10 days of discovery and there’s a large process of doing that. And people had to visit multiple stores to complete their buying journey right. We are enabling each store that the moment one walks into one physical store, you should be able to close your shopping journey there because that store is equipped to offer you the largest selection. And of course access to the best prices.”
Rishi Raj Rathore added “That was our heavy reliance on technology to start with where we were trying to build a technology platform that we can give to retail partners. In the back end, we build a very sustainable model in terms of the whole supply chain itself. Then we had a supply chain where we didn’t rely on having a lot of advantages to warehousing. Second, we all bought our logistics partners that we can track real-time but in parallel, we don’t have any direct vehicle or driver cost as such.”
Sharing about the idea behind partnering with brands and new consumer brands that Arzoo is partnered with, Khushnud said “There are a lot of brands so one of the things that our platform is doing for new brands and emerging entrepreneurs is taking your brand to about 10,000 out retail outlets. So there are five six odd brands that we have launched in the current quarter. And there are more brands, kind of getting lined up to come on our platform. So brands see a lot of value because they are with one platform, they are able to reach out to 10,000 retail stores with limited distribution cost.”
Talking about the current situation when the entire world was disrupted by the global pandemic, Rishi Raj elaborated on how Arzoo held up during such testing times and the measures the brand took to sustain their business in this very challenging environment. “To start with the pandemic was definitely a very shocking and surprising situation for all of us. Eventually, all of the businesses in India got affected by that. But in the long term, we realized that there’s a big opportunity for, especially we also kind of platform digitalising all of the retail stores across India and help a lot of retail stores acquire a lot of new customers plus increase their sales even in pandemic when the footfall of customers offline is less. They can use the Arzoo platform to sell products online.”