Indian etail industry has been experiencing fair amount of traction from entrepreneurs in Kids category and interestingly entrepreneurs are evangelizing diverse business models catering to different age groups into this category. After Firstcry, Babyoye, Allschoolstuff and Mangostreet, wopshop.com, an online store dedicated exclusively for toys has gone live in February this year. The venture is being led by Rohit Sharma, erstwhile CEO, Reliance Entertainment-Digital Business along with Vaibhav Odhekar and Sanjeev Singhal. In order to know more about vision, idea and potential of toys into this category, iamwire interacted with Rohit Sharma, CEO, wopshop.com. Below is the major highlight of the interaction.
Share the thought process and vision behind wopshop.com including some experience since its inception.
Wopshop.com has been set up with a vision to become the biggest online discount destination for Kids. When a parent visits Wopshop they will always find a great product at the best price across all categories for Toys and for all age groups. We will soon expand into other categories also such as publishing, home entertainment etc. Also unlike most of the players in the market, we are not an open catalogue but a flash deals site. We will always have very high quality products for Kids at the lowest prices.
What has been interesting is that in 10 days of launch we have got almost 100 orders at an ASP of 700 with zero marketing. This is great sign for us. Also as a startup it has been an amazing experience to operate with a frugal and bootstrapped mind set and do all tasks on our own.
How do you see the kids’ category in overall e-tail space in India and significance/contribution of toys into this including what opportunities Wopshop’s team foresaw in such niche category?
The overall Toy market is about 5000 Crores. Maximum growth has happened in the last few years and there is huge growth expected in the future. With the poor retail infrastructure, highly fragmented market, surge in disposable income in India and the huge growth in Broadband, we believe that the e-tail space for Kids category is going to see meteoric growth in the next 5-10 years.
The Kids category in the overall e-tail space is still very nascent. Although there are few players and some of them are well funded in this space, we still believe that there is huge potential in this segment. There are more than 350 million kids in the age group of 0-15 in India. Also no existing player is dedicatedly focused on Toys. We believe that all the existing player are not even doing more than 2000 orders per day collectively, so the opportunity is humongous.
Looking at the opportunity part, at Zapak, we have had experience of building the third largest toy company in India in a span of 4 years. During this time we set up a complete sales and distribution eco-system, set up a 40 member team and also created disruption in sourcing and product catalogue in the existing Indian toy Industry. Therefore we have a strong understanding of all aspects of the business, be it sourcing, merchandising, distribution eco-systems and strong relationships with Distributors and manufacturers. We also understand the weaknesses in the retail eco-system and the opportunities that exist for new brands/products to be introduced in the Indian market.
Throw some light on team size, warehouses-logistic and marketing strategies of wopshop.com
Right now we are three co-founders including me, Sanjeev Singhal (CTO) and Vaibhav Odhekar (COO). Sanjeev has been heading technology at indiatimes e-commerce and Reliance Digital, Vaibhav Odhekar, who has been part of the Zapak founding team and has successfully built the Toy Business at Zapak from scratch. So we have a great founding team. In addition presently we have about 11 people on board managing various functions such as sourcing, technology, content, Design and operations.
Presently we are holding a very limited inventory but as we scale up, we will hold most of the inventory. As far as marketing is concerned presently we are focusing heavily on alliances to get traffic on our site and convert them into transactions.
How the venture has been funded? Is Wopshop looking to raise fund – if yes, share some strategies on your pitch for fund raising?
The Venture is self-funded by the co-founders. Yes we are looking at raising funds. We believe that we have a differentiated model. We are not similar to the existing open-catalogue sites in the market targeting Babies/Kids. We are differentiated in our business model (discounted flash deals), in our positioning, design and look and feel. Most importantly we have a very differentiated sourcing strategy, which will help us create a sustainable and scalable growth model. As mentioned earlier we also have a great founding team that has created businesses in the past and has great execution skills in the internet/ Kids retail space.
How do you see the trend of senior corporate professionals leaving their plush corporate careers and taking plunge into etailing/ecommerce and why?
I think this is healthy and constructive trend because seasoned Digital/Domain professionals will bring more value to a start-up venture. Also it shows the e-commerce story is real and here to stay The trend is also because of more and more angel and Venture Capital funding available in this space.