Marketing since ages has always been one of the most important, expensive and tedious task. Many company spend millions of dollors in marketing, branding and brand recognition, they offer ads in TV, print, websites, youtube etc. But one form of marketing known as word of mouth or reference has always been most sought after method. When your known people suggest you some brand, you always tend to buy it without thinking for a minute, this is the impact of your customer reference, In today’s world word of mouth is the best marketing, your satisfied customers are your key people who are able to generate a large amount of business for you, as we are now connected to one of the largest networks like linkedin and facebook for so called social network, the marketing has also become social.
Social shopping is not a new concept, people tend to seek feedback from people around them before they buy something. Bhupinder Tomar from Asaan E-commerce a young company has started a venture where they have tried to explore the power of social shopping. they allows users to share their shopping experience and help people figure out the same. they have a community of like-minded believers who have the flare to shop online and recommend other people to buy or take the service/ Product they have experience. Asaan Ecommerce is a community based Platform. Lets see what this young venture has to say about them.
1.What is the Name of Your Venture?
Asaan E-Commerce Pvt Ltd
2.Who is your target Audience?
Our target audience is a social media enthusiast who also likes shopping.
S/he is probably 18-35, urban, familiar with brands and spends time in discovering new products in real world (market browsing or magazine browsing).
S/he also typically likes to share their daily lives (looks, dining experiences, travel, events, etc) online through images and curated narratives.
3.Where is your venture based (city, state, country) & What are your target areas?
Our Headquarters is in Gurgaon, Haryana and we mainly target people based in urban India and we have also expanded our user base to United Kingdom.
4.What problems does your venture solve? What are your products or services.
We are a social Shopping Platform that allows users to share their shopping experience and help people figure out the same. We have a community of like-minded believers who have the flare to shop online and recommend other people to buy or take the service/ Product they have experience. It is a community based Platform.
5.Share the idea or story behind the venture. How did it come to an existence?
I was fascinated by the growth of social media and willingness of people to share so much of their lives digitally. Some years back I lived in Kenya and meet many young people who were actively using social media platforms to run small business. Often when we think of digital commerce, we think of large economies, but here was a small emerging market in Africa where small entrepreneurs were already using a new media channel for business growth. It inspired me to look at the space more closely.
I discussed with my co-founder and we slowly discussed about the challenges of plenty from ecommerce growth. For example, if you search for red shoes on Amazon it will result in 50 thousand results, that make it impossible to make sense of on a small real estate. So we thought of a way where big data on a social graph could be used to provide a unique set of recommendation to a buyer.
That discussion resulted over time in creation of Asaan.
6.How did you identify your co-founder? Tell us something about your co-founder/s
My co-founder and I went to same high school and spent a lot of time in the computer lab. He is interested in technology as I am. Our interest over the years have been in big data and its use for solving business or social problems. Aashish, my co-founder is passionate about ecommerce and making it easier to use.
7. How did you hire your first team members
We hired our first employee from a wider network of friends. We spread the word around for a profile we were looking for and some names came back to us. We meet them all and offered the job to one we instantly connected with coz he understood our business idea.
8.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
Our short term plan for next two years to ensure the company is able to become operationally revenue positive. For that we are currently focused on reaching out to consumers who will use our services and through which we can grow our revenue base.
In the medium term, we are looking to improve our product, strengthen our inhouse teams on machine learning and artificial intelligence. We aim to be present globally for users and ensure that our daily active user growth is steady.
9.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
In the long term, we see ourselves as a platform that competes for digital advertising space with big existing players in the market.
10.Have you raised any funding? Or have any plans for the funding?
Yes we have raised a seed round of USD 150,000 so far from individual investors.
We are now in the market to add to our seed round. We are looking for a 1 million USD.
11.What were the problems you faced during the starting days and how did you resolve them?
We faced similar challenges that most startups face when starting out. Building a new team from scratch, building a minimum viable product quickly and finding a right go to market strategy.
In most of them, we initially divided clear roles between founders and then as we found new team members, we provided clear and deliverable tasks. We have found that when problems can be broken down in manageable units, they are easier to resolve.
12. What have been your biggest challenges and learning so far?
The biggest challenge so far has been to a) find and retain key talent and, b) get consumer traction.
One big learning has been that even small data collected and analyzed well gives better insights than pure gut instincts.
13.Are you married, single or in a relationship?
I am single.
14.What are your hobbies? What do you do in your non-work time?
When I am not working, I like to read, meet friends, take small holidays and enjoy spending time with my family.
15.Whats your favorite food & holiday destination?
I am not a big foodie, anything that’s vegetarian. I have lived for a long time in South East Asia, it’s still a place I enjoy going back to. In India, I like my own state of Himachal.
16.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
Like most people, my parents have always motivated me and kept me inspired at various stages of life. Beyond them, growing up I was influenced by some historical figures, Gandhi for his ability to mobilize masses and a moral framework. Nehru for his vision of modern India. In business Tata’s have been a influence, in the way they have been able to create a synergy for business and social values.
17.What do you feel is the major difference between entrepreneurs and those who work for someone else?
Risk taking. Entrepreneurs are inherently risk takers. They understand risk and are comfortable with it. Employees take risk too, but it is something that usually tend not take as failure is often perceived as bad for career growth.
18.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I would probably start my entrepreneurial journey earlier.
19.How has being an entrepreneur affected your family & Social life?
I don’t think it has made that much of difference. If one is aware of their commitments and time, being an entrepreneur is almost same as being an employee for family and social life.
20.Anything, you would like to say to our readers or upcoming entrepreneurs?
Just that if you are thinking of starting out, just do. There are many good reasons all the time to not start, but they will continue to remain so. Sometimes one just need to start somewhere. Also failure is likely an outcome the first time around, it should not deter you.
21.Tell us something about your education & family background.
My family come from a long tradition of serving in the Indian Armed Forces. My father was in the Indian Army and moved around a lot in India as I was growing up. I studied business after my graduation in Pune and then went to London School of Economics for another masters.
22.What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other start-ups in similar domains.
Our USD is our focus on big data and our ability to provide you with a shopping recommendation that is unique to you. We are also offering opportunities for all our users to create their own intellectual property on our platform and therefore monetize their own content.
23. What do you think is the biggest threat to the success of small businesses & Start-ups today?
Many of the small business and startups often enter businesses on thin margins. Various taxes and charges often disrupt new startups and their business models. Government should encourage both the flow of capital and some initial runways to new companies. This exists to some extent, but more could be done.
24. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
No I do not for my current venture. The metrics for business success is simple, the day the venture is able to generate surplus and sustain it for a period of time.
Personally, the metrics for success is simply happiness.
25.Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Asaan Ecommerce Pvt Ltd
1009, 10th Floor, Welldone Tech Park
Sohna Road, Gurugram- 122018
Email: [email protected]
Mo: +91 87449 99669
Ph: +91 124 426 3308