How can your biggest challenge also be your biggest market opportunity?
The short answer: it depends on the eye of the beholder.
Thanks to the accessibility digital brings, consumers have access to more buying opportunities than ever before. Our phones give us immediate access to more retailers than we can count. If you’re a big company, you may be scared because niche boutiques are well-positioned to gain market share. If you’re a small company, you may be excited about the lower barriers to market entry and growth.
Enterprise retailers need to watch who’s emerging, track who’s loved, and research what’s driving success. In addition, companies must continue to optimize their in-store experiences with connections between online and offline worlds.
For inspiration, take a look at the recent movement among ecommerce stores to open brick-and-mortar storefronts. Ebay, ModCloth, Walmart, and Delta Airlines have all experimented with pop-up storefronts that provide an online experience. Companies can use brick-and-mortar opportunities to advocate for their digital experiences. Today we are presenting the Interview of Deepak Agarwal Co-founder of DesiClik who oversee vendor relationships, technology, finance and marketing at DesiClik.com. Lets See How this Desi Guy started his venture and reached to International Borders.
1.What is the name of your business or brand you represent?
2.What are your target audience/clients?
Our target audience includes online shoppers from the US, Indian restaurants, the corporate gifting segment and customers outside the US who want to send gifts to their friends and family in the US.
3.Where is your business based (city, state, country) & what are your geographical target areas?
Our business is based out of New York, US. Our geographical target areas include the US and the rest of the world including India.
4.What are your products or services?
DesiClik.com is the largest US-based vertical e-commerce marketplace specialising in Indian products that span apparel, jewellery, handicraft, gifts, furniture, grocery, restaurant equipment, religious and puja items, festive goods and household items.
5.Who are your biggest competitors and how do you differentiate yourself from them?
For 2.5 years, we did not have any competition, there are a few portals coming out in recent times. Our business model is very different from the rest. All our sellers are based in the US. As for our differentiators, the portal, with more than 10,000 products from 85 vendors, focusses on Indian products, not available on other global platforms, and at competitive pricing. DesiClik offers options to send gift items that cannot be sent otherwise from India, such as sweets. All products are shipped from the US and not from India. This also gives us the added advantage that big-ticket items don’t get damaged in transit, unlike while shipping from India. We not only offer a one-stop solution for Indians living in the US, but also cater to the growing gifting market for Indians who want to send across gifts to their loved ones in the US.
6. What best marketing practices/tools that you always rely for the business development, marketing and branding?
For business development, we rely on customer service and product quality. Many of our customers come through references, so that’s the key. Our main marketing spend is focused on digital marketing through Google and Facebook, targeting specific customer segments through PPC. We also do TV commercials focusing south Asian TV channels in the US, print newspaper ads plus tradeshows. References from Indian trade shows also play a great role in reaching out to our target audience.
7.What skills do you want in your employees/team at the time of hiring?
The willingness to learn every step of the way is a key attribute we look for in our staff. Such people constantly enrich their mind and add value to the team. As we are a start-up, we also look for those who hardworking and share our goals to take the company forward.
8.What expansion plans are you looking for the next 2 years, next 5 years?
DesiClik would like to become a household name for the 3 million Indians in the US. For all friends and family that they have left behind in India, we would like to be the go-to place for gifting. Within India, the company is eyeing to grow the business in some of the major NRI-focused cities such as Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. Also, we want to replicate the concept in Canada, UK and Australia.
Beyond the B2C market, our plan is to provide a B2B marketplace for our vendors in the US due to overwhelming response from sellers in India.
9.Where do you want to see yourself in next 10 years?
We want to make DesiClik a $25 million company in next 10 years
10.What was the most challenging part of your journey till now? How did you overcome those challenges?
As for impediments, having very few contacts in the business community in the US was a challenge for us. It required a lot more research to find the right partner to work with in key areas. Focus and patience have been the key for us. During every down time, we focus on both our short-term and long-term goals that have kept us going. We never forget to celebrate our achievements so we can look forward to the next one.
11.Whom do you consider your idol or biggest motivator?
My dad has always been my inspiration in my business – he never gave up when he was not successful with one business. He always started another one. My role model is Ratan Tata.
12.How your current profile has transformed you as a person?
I am able to plan and see where we want to be in next 10 years and work on achieving those goals. Also, it has made me have a more focused approach.
13.If you had the chance to start your career over again, what would you do differently?
I worked in the IT sector for more than 20 years. I would have rather started building our company much sooner.
14. What is that one thing you would like to change in your organization/business today?
There are still so many areas of growth and underpenetrated markets. We are working on expanding some of those untapped markets which we could have done a bit sooner.
15. Anything, you would like to say to our readers or fellow business people?
I’d like to tell budding entrepreneurs to never give up. Any new idea requires validation. Start small and make sure to stay focussed, have patience, assemble the right team and make sure to celebrate your success – big or small.
16. What your company is doing under CSR?
We have been associated with some charity events organised by the Indian community here in the US.
17. What plans do you have for booming startups in your country?
18. Tell us something about your education & family background.
Apart from a degree in commerce, I hold a diploma in computer science from NCC Education, UK. I completed my Masters Certification in Business Management from Tulane University as well because I wanted to have some formal knowledge of growing a business.
I come from a Marwari business family. I have three siblings – two brothers and a sister and all are based out of India.
19. What is your USP which makes it unique & different from other business in similar domains.
Despite the markets becoming global, DesiClik.com sets itself apart by only having local vendors sell through the portal.
20. Do you consider yourself successful and by what means do you measure success?
Our biggest success has been the fact that we have been able to build a community of US-based NRIs around the business. In fact, we are organising a seminar for all our vendors in the next few months and we look forward to the occasion to individually connect with each of them.
21. Please share complete name, address, phone number, email id & website of Your Business & Contact Person
Deepak Agarwal, Co-founder, DesiClik.com. www.desiclik.com