Interviewed By: Sandeep Kshatriya, Facilitator, The CEO Insights
The CEO Insights: Tell us about how MyGrahak got started and how you got to where you are today?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: We got the idea in the year 2010 and formed the venture in December 2010. We started testing the idea in south delhi. We were convinced about the growth of MyGrahak and opened the portal for public in entire Delhi and NCR in December 2011.
Getting our business model right was a difficult task. For the first 4-6 months we experimented with various delivery models with delivery areas restricted to certain sections of Delhi. By May 2011 we redrew our operations strategies and experimented on those for a couple of months. Once we were confident of our operations strategies we threw open our doors for delivery in entire Delhi NCR. We have been growing at more than 30% month-on-month since August 2011 and have about 15,000 families buying from us now.
The CEO Insights: How did your education at Singapore Management University help you in the business?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: It helped me to learn how to create an innovative enterprise, which has an inclusive environment where every individual can contribute to decision making. Fortunately I have been able to replicate that in MyGrahak – which has been the key to our success. The organization, people and organizational culture are the key to be successful in the fast paced and constantly evolving environment of e-commerce industry in India.
The CEO Insights: Your experiences from MyGrahak and any specific incident you would like to share with us?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: I learned the importance of believing in myself and the importance of having a clearly defined vision.
When we started off – it was very difficult to convince the business community that India would buy food and groceries online. Everyone from vendors, brands, marketing associates to prospective employees rejected our idea. However our core team stuck by our vision and continued to execute undeterred.
Today we have over 15000 families buying from us, a team of over 50 at the head office level – consisting of leaders from top MBA colleges and a constant string of suppliers who want their products listed on our website.
Yet, we have a long way to go to prove our point.
The CEO Insights: What are your views on online e-commerce retailing platform in India??
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: Category of online retailing of groceries is new in India. There are few ventures in Delhi, Chennai, Bangalore, Thane and Gurgaon. Due to low scale and localised awareness it has not caught the attention of public yet. Public still see online retail for buying books, electronics, etc. Online groceries would be a game changer as there is a latent demand for such an offering. Almost all working men and women would hate to go to a supermarket to buy groceries. It is becoming a harrowing experience due to traffic congestion, parking problems, long queues, etc. Most of the time we see ourselves overspending buying products that were not intended in the shopping list. Gone are the days we go with a list and buy the same.
In terms of turnover online grocery sales is still a small fraction of the market. However in terms of growth, the overall market is growing at 25-30% a year. Given the small base of online grocery sales, I expect it to grow by about 25-30% per month in the top 9 cities of the country.
The CEO Insights: Your views on adapting latest technology like Mobile e-commerce, Barcode Scanner technologies along with an existing e-commerce platform?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: Mobile is going to drive the next wave of expansion within e-commerce. We expect a significant portion of our checkouts happening on the mobile in the future. We are investing on mobile to be able to give our customers a unique shopping experience on their handsets.
The CEO Insights: What is the biggest challenge of MyGrahak today, and what are you doing to address it?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: Our biggest challenge has been to find logistics partners for last mile deliveries. We have invested in our own delivery fleet and a transportation division to overcome the challenge.
The CEO Insights: Your experience with other group companies you are associated?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: The management experience has been critical in allowing me to create, launch and manage MyGrahak.
The CEO Insights: Your views on successful expansion of MyGrahak?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: We are at the right place at the right time. The customers are ready but the merchants have been lagging so far. As the first mover we need to make sure that we make the right moves – maintaining our backend – while continuing to focus on the customer.
The CEO Insights: What kind of domain expertise and skill set you look for in your employees?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: We try to evaluate people on the following criterion :
Ability – ability to excel in the field
Experience – Experience to use the ability to execute and
Team Performance – Since we work in teams, it is important for the individual to be a strong team player.
The CEO Insights: How do you see MyGrahak growing in the coming years?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: I focus on creating a world class organization that can last the test of time while being socially responsible as it always pays. We are planing for a turnover of Rs. 1,000 crore by 2015. MyGrahak.com is opening a new entire category for e-commerce in India.
Our plan for financial year 2012-13 is given below:
1. Inaugurate first replicable modular warehouse hub
2. Launch all marketing campaigns: In terms of outdoor activation, Print, PR and digital campaigns both on internet & social media.
3. Launch loyalty clubs – gold (personal shopping assistants online and offline), silver (personal shopping assistant online)
4. Develop new IT Platform for improving services – buying platforms
5. Brandawaaz.com into next gear: We would in this stage promote brandawaaz.com as a portal to generate consumer feedback & keep track of consumer preference & their delight needs to customize service effectively.
6. Enhance delivery network: With increase in orders per day we would augment the key spoke of our business wheel & would engage in training & other aspects.
7. Plan for 2 more modular warehouse hub to be more responsive, effective & efficient to deal with our consumers.
8. Launch new categories – organic foods, pet care , birthday party, diabetic food , babycare to increase margins/basket size. Penetrate deeper into household category.
9. Increase private label range to cater to regional food products – Gujarati, South Indian etc.
10. Improve HR for future launch
11. Reach 2,00,000 family members.
The CEO Insights: Do you plan going ahead getting acquired or going public?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: We plan on creating value – for the customers, employees and all our stakeholders.
The CEO Insights: Do you foresee threat of new competition and what would be your strategy to overcome to position yourself?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: Our strategy is to remain as close to the customers as possible – to always innovate in order to meet customers needs.
Since the market penetration of the other players is limited by the challenges of supply chain and product distribution, we have seen limited competition. We are a one-stop-shop for the monthly needs of families giving them access to a range of products wider than that of a typical hypermarket –home-delivered for free across Delhi NCR. The other players are still challenged by scope/range of products and geographical area for delivery, which has limited their penetration into the market. We also believe that given the large size of the target audience prepared to shop online, more players will expedite penetration of online grocery and help us with an increased market pie size.
The CEO Insights: Are you considering any strategic alliance or other measures to augment your market reach or business capabilities?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: Yes we are working on alliances – online and offline – for communicating our services better and also tying up with brands as an efficient business channel. Given our domain expertise in food – we are also looking to tie up with some NGOs for our ‘Feed the Hungry’ social program.
The CEO Insights: Who are your target market and geography?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: Our target market is ‘Time Poor & Money Rich’ Customers. Further, our target segmentation is as follows:
• Age and Life Cycle : Young, Working Male & Female
• Gender : Male (CWE) & working females who are self expressive and goal directed and Housewives
• Income : Higher/Working Class income levels
• Generation : GenNEXT(25-45 years)
• Social Class : SEC A1, A2, B & C
• Metro Markets – Currently starts with Delhi & then move on to top 9 towns
• Benefits : 2 Cs = Products available at a Click or a Call
• Occasions : Any time use status.
The CEO Insights: How do you promote your business?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: By innovating on customer service and leaving the rest on the customer.
The CEO Insights: What is your Favorite Book?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: Built to Last by James Collins.
The CEO Insights: What are your Hobbies?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: Cricket, Music, Food and Cooking.
The CEO Insights: Who is your Role Model?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: Steve Jobs.
The CEO Insights: Any Message for us?
Ambuj Jhunjhunwala: Focus on building great business and always remember you only get rewarded for the amount of value you create.