Saturday, September 13, 2014

Interview: For AskmeBazaar 'Seller (Not Buyer) is the King'

According to Ashish Kumar, Head of Technology at its sellers first approach with Bazar model and an unique Developers Network will set askmeBazaar ahead of its current e-commerce peers.
'Almost three years back we decided to venture in to e-commerce arena, our sellers were telling us to sell their products on our online platform. Till then we were only providing information about the sellers but we found that large e-commerce portals are treating the sellers just like suppliers. Our idea behind this venture was to help the sellers to sale online through an interface that they can manage themselves.' said Mr. Kumar

Here is an excerpt of the Q&A with Ashish Kumar, Head of Technology-

What are the backend technology requirements of an e-commerce company like yours?

The first requirement is the infrastructure to create a catalogue comprising of sellers information and their products. The next basic requirement is the entire transaction process and the payment mechanism, logistics handling etc. Then the monetization process for direct sellers and for the affiliates or channel partners and their commission management.
The second requirement is the promotion of the product for the sellers. For this we have created an Askmebazar campaign management package to promote the products for the sellers. We also have a distributor network model to execute the whole promotion package.

What is Askme Bazar developer network?

We have given the entire technology platform to a community of developers to create suitable application and interface for the sellers. If anybody wants create an e-commerce platform using our interface he/she can do so within less than a week also they (Sellers) can create their own interface as well using our platform.

What are challenges for CTOs/CIOs of e-commerce companies like yours?

I would say couple of challenges. The entire seller education; so for, at best the large e-commerce companies have been able to reach out to 7000-8000 sellers. We have around 60 lakh SMEs and only 3 per cent of the total transaction is online currently. We need to create tools that every seller can understand, not just for a small group of sellers. Secondly, when you a create e-commerce platform like this you need to keep in mind the rapid scale up requirements and make the platform as simple as possible for large number of users.

What kind of business and technology alignments are needed for an e-commerce company like yours?

Though of late, the e-commerce companies are getting lot of attention from the investor communities but users are getting smarter day by day. The need of hour for companies like ours is to ideate and create multiple experiments and figure out which one works and which does not for the users. It used to be said that a year is good enough time to carry out an experiment but now the saying is a month is more than enough. To do such simultaneous experiments, the business and IT leaders in organization like ours must work very closely to take the right decisions at the right time.

What are the best practices in this vertical?

Listen to users and become a data and mobile first company. Two things are very important in this respect; get quick access to user data and give users what they want. The more the time you need to collect the data, understand it and act on it, the more the chances that your product would become redundant in the market place.

What is the Bazar model that you are following?

The Bazar model is something where we are offering all the services to the sellers to create their own shop. It could be an application or a website. But large e-commerce players are just listing the products from the sellers. The Bazar model allows the sellers to create their own shop, engage the buyers and promote it as well. This model is different than a supermarket model which the large e-commerce companies are following. Our whole philosophy is to focus more on sellers’ education and not to dictate terms and conditions for them. We think that just giving discounts to buyers is not a sustainable model in the long run.