“Fund raised by Naaptol would be focused for strong presence on web & TV” – Manu Agarwal – Founder & CEO Naaptol

Manu Agarwal - Founder & CEO - Naaptol

Manu Agarwal - Founder & CEO - Naaptol

Naaptol.com started as a comparison site has significantly grew over the past few years with its consistent efforts to evangelize the virtual shopping space through burgeoning ecommerce space in India. Recently Naaptol raised fund of $25 million (Rs 123 crore) from New Enterprise Associates (NEA) with existing early investors. Talking more about funding and Naaptol’s expansion plans, iamwire interacted with Manu Agarwal, Founder & CEO, Naaptol. Talking about the trends in ecommerce ecosystem in India in past one year Manu pointed out that increasing confidence of consumers and ecommerce players investing aggressively on marketing are fast catching trends. Here are the excerpts of the interview.

Naaptol.com seems to be strongly evangelizing the concept of virtual/home shopping through ecommerce space. So tell us what are the challenges Naaptol faced while cementing its position in ecommerce (virtual/home) ecosystem?

So far, the voyage of evangelizing virtual shopping through ecommerce has been great. Naaptol is one of the early players in this space and we have addressed the various challenges quite successfully. Broadly speaking, we have faced two challenges – logistic and Payment mechanism right from our inception.

How do you see the overall ecommerce (excluding travel) industry in India and which trends, development and innovations impressed you in last one year?

Last one year has really been great for the entire ecommerce ecosystem in the country. In fact ecommerce in India is still in nascent stage, however in the last one year we have seen the creation/evolvement of the market. The market has experienced few trends such as increasing confidence of consumers and ecommerce players investing aggressively on marketing. The whole perception of consumer about online medium has changed considerably, now consumers are shopping online with lucid payment mechanism such as Cash on Delivery (COD). At Naaptol 90 percent of orders get delivered via COD. Apart from it, ecommerce players are splurging a lot of money on marketing in order to have visibility and awareness in tier 2 and 3 cities.

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Throw some light on the deal – $25 million (Rs 123 crore) fund raised by Naaptol, led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). How do you see the unprecedented faith of investors in online businesses in India?

I would not like to disclose the detail of the fund raised, however we are going to use it for Naaptol’s strong presence on internet and television. We want to establish Napptol as a virtual shopping and in the past we have been aggressively pursuing the path of print media, however now would keep focus on web and television to gain maximum visibility and awareness about Naaptol. In terms of overall investment scenario, there has been a bit of euphoria, at the same time we can also see the investors are now being cautious while investing in to internet based businesses.

Which are the areas would be primarily stressed upon through the fund raised by Naaptol?

As I said earlier, we are going to spend it on multiple strategies, however would primarily use it for our strong presence on web and television to create greater space for our offering. The funds will be also used to fuel Naaptol’s massive hiring plans as well as invest in its Internet business, supply chain and inventory.

We have seen the trend of online companies for TV advertisement including Naaptol. Share what leverages Naaptol yielded through its TV campaigns as of now along with future strategies of Naaptol for such campaigns?

Naaptol’s television presence has primarily not been a brand building exercise. For us it is not all about generating traffic on our website, through television we want consumers to order the featured products instantly. I think television should be used as medium to aware people about your offering; however I do not think advertising on television can pull traffic on website of any ecommerce players.

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 How Naaptol Club (recently launched business model by Naaptol) has been doing so far and what is its expansion plan?

So far, Naaptol Club has been doing very well. We did not advertise it much as of now, however we have witnessed the increase in sales of Naaptol Club by 25 to 30 percent month on month. Through Naaptol Club, we are trying consumers to avail whopping discounts on fashion apparels like denims, formals and accessories like sunglasses, watches and perfumes. Now we are also looking to expand the catalogue of Naaptol Club aggressively.

Naaptol has been experimenting with its business model since inception, it started as comparison shopping, traces of which could be seen on website. Then it became media offers driven commerce, extending to ecommerce, further Naaptol club, and now there are talks of Naaptol’s own TV channel? So do you see these experiments would continue? How should a consumer see Naaptol as?

Look, we have been experimenting the whole idea where the industry and the consumers are? Initially we helped consumers to research the product online and buy offline. Later on, forayed in to virtual shopping space through ecommerce. Now we are gearing up for Television channel to take forth the concept of virtual shopping to the consumers in tier 2 and 3 cities. So, it is a natural progression and such experiments would continue in future too.

As Amazon is set for its Indian debut – what effect it will have on entire ecosystem, and do you feel Amazon’s debut would intensify competition in the Indian eCommerce market?

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Amazon’s entry in Indian market would really be interesting to watch; in fact they are pioneer in evangelizing the concept of ecommerce globally. However I do not think it would be easy for them as ecommerce businesses have lots of local flavors and India is all together a different market in contrast of other markets globally. While working on Indian terrain Amazon would learn lots of things. As far as competition is concerned, Amazon would certainly spark stiff competition and it could be threat to the players operating in categories like books and electronics.

Lots of consumer’s complaints can be traced with various eCommerce players including Naaptol. What strategies and customer service programs Naaptol has enacted to overcome consumer’s issues?

We are trying our best to address the consumer’s issue; in fact to large extent we have been successful in addressing consumer’s complaints. See, complaints come because of various issues such as not of quality check, logistic and haphazard packaging. In order to make a hassle free shopping for consumers Naaptol has started reverse logistic processes including round the clock accessibility to call centers for consumer’s assistance. At the same time we are also ideating to have our own service centers to avoid consumers’ complaints and bring superior virtual shopping experience to the buyers.

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  • Jyothi Marneni

    Another surprise naaptol call me after placing another order with voucher code. That’s 17nov to place order. Customers money is valid for 6months as though they are giving compensation for all the trouble. On asking for resolution every time i called they repeat everything again like parrot. Close the company if cannot manage as it is there are no supervisors and managers who are present in company. That why it cannot provide any resolution.

  • Jyothi Marneni

    I received the vodducher for my money and it valid only for 6money. Its been 16 days and have received the code today on my mobile the person I spoke to told me it was sent on 14th. From last week i have been told about the code and received today . on priority basis i will receive the product on28th though iwas promised to receive the product by Monday the 14th. Very single day i asked for supervisors. There is no supervisor from 31st till 16 November i told they are on leave. What a joke . best thing is none of them have founder and ceo Manu Agarwar email address either such a shame. I want the product by Friday its already too late i truly wish to discuss the while this over phone with the CEO its hopeless to wait for money product from naaptol. Shameful customer service

  • Arun Mishra

    Frindz, now time has come to raise your voice against such frauds by Naaptol. What I’m going to do is to send regularly messages/videoclips/pics related to frauds done by Naaptol on social media/fb etc. on daily basis. You all r requested to drive this campaign from your end also. Secondly, we can write to our judicial system, which I feel is quite fair now a days and can jointly put forth a petition to stop their un-ethical business.

  • kulvir singh

    solve my product delivery problem otherwise we take legal action against ceo of naaptol its soooo cheap and froad company i had ever seen

  • Biswajit Das

    it is a cheat company.always say lie for delivery purpose.have no faith.

  • Sanjaya kumar Swain

    My dear sufferer friends by naaptal can give me solution how can i get back my money or otherwise we all blame how naaptol cheating to customer taking help of Media

    Sanjaya Kumar Swain
    09438233006

  • Sanjaya kumar Swain

    To
    The Chief Executive Officer,
    Naaptol.com

    Sub:- Complain against purchase of mobile phone through naaptol.com.

    Ref: Your paper Advertisement in Dharitri dated 22.02.2013 ..
    Sir,
    As per advertisement in Dharitri News Paper on 22.02.2013 of Bhubaneswar edition, I placed order for obtaining one Mobile Phone model as specified in the said advertisement. I received the said item through blue dart courier on 25.02.2013 on payment of Rs.3798/- only. As per advertisement, the original price of mobile phone is Rs. 9999/- , but after discount the price comes to Rs.3499/-.
    But it a matter of profound sorrow that the actual cost of mobile is Rs. 2999/- , which has already been written on the wrapper of the set . The digital photo copy of the same is attached herewith for your reference . On opening the mobile set in the presence of blue dart courier employee , the set seems like a toy mobile and was partly damaged . Further , said set is available at Bhubaneswar with a cost of maximum Rs.500/- .
    Immediately , I rang up to naaptol customer care center with 0922228 3000 / 0922353 7000 and got the assurance from their side to refund the money after I send back the set. . Four days has already passed and I am repeatedly lodging complain for four times daily , but till now I have not got any call or answer from them to resolve the problem. Regularly they are taking plea for another 48 hours to resolve the problem.
    As you are advertising for best customers service, but in my case you are deaf to hear my small problem for which I have lost my patience and trust on you. At last I will go to court of law as per provision under Consumers protection Act, 1986 , if my problem will not be resolved within 24 hours .

    Thanking you,

    Yours faithfully,

    Sanjaya Kumar Swain
    Mob No- 09438233006
    sanjayaswain@rediffmail.com
    Hope you can resolve my problem after customer read how naaptol cheating to good customer

  • Chenelle

    I ordered for a wespro netbook and it was a defective one,I tried to contract customer service which was of no help all they day is48 hours I wanted to send back the product and they couldn’t give me the right information and I still have the product thats not working and I feel naaptol is doing to dogs….. Very bad customer service and u guys sell defective products….

  • kamesh hatmode

    hi,
    Naaptol is very bad product will be provide, all product is defective, customer inquiry is not properly and not available in market so customer will go market and properly knowledge will gain, i was suffer in Naaptol service, my order no 3715656 is not working handset and will not properly gidence to bayback service, vender is not call to customer quires. so plz solve my problem and call me urjent besis, i have change this handset thats my issue, i dont have blackberry storm, i have other product to same cost otherwise high cost i have agree to pay excess amount,

    Regards
    Kamesh
    9579587666
    9225349705

  • Nandini datta

    I have seen that most of the cases have been negative.Even I have been ditched by the naaptol team.They send you defected products and then do not assist you for refund trouble you to the core.The company needs to get a good lesson through law and should be sued for harming the people and littering their trust on online shopping.

  • Jai

    Naaptol is the worst shopping site based on my experience. They are not interested in customer support and feedbak.

  • J. Sridhar

    My experience in two out of three transactions has been bad. In one case, I had ordered for a book worth about Rs 80. They erroneously sent a mobile phone worth Rs 25,000! I spoke to them and sent back the set. Even though the Courier has confirmed delivery, Naaptol claims that they have not received it back! Also, they have still not reimbursed my courier charges. Nor they have sent my original order I had already paid for.

    In another case, I ordered for a product as a gift for someone. Even though I had clearly given the shipping and billing addresses separately, they have merged it into one. Imagine sending a gift to someone along with the bill!

    I do not think they are serious about providing quality service. I do not even believe now that they would be ethical in their dealings.

  • Shireen Sheriff

    Hi,

    Whatever said and done, Naaptol has the worst costomer service. I ordered for a product one month back. The money was processed immediately, but Im yet to receiver the product. Mr. Manu agrwal has a email but is too busy with his TV channels to reply back. The Customer Service does nto know how to address people..They mix genders while addressing, the supervisors are too busy to take calls and respond to queries and they are not delivering the product. I was put on hold for 30 Mins.In 30 days I have made more than 30 calls and this is what they do. They dont have the simple courtesy to call back and reply. This the service they give. Sincere advice..please dont go by their commercials they are the worst online portal to pick up products/

    • Dinesh Luke

      My God, I thought I was the only one sufferring. I ordered a product and was sent a defective one. I was told to sent it back to them and that was a month back. I am still waiting for the replacement. No proper response from the agents. They say there is no stock while the product is still available on sale in their website.

      THE WORST ONLINE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE ! They need to be taken to court for fooling customers.