The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

April - 2012 - issue > Cover Story

Not just another online store!

Vimali Swamy and Anamika Sahu
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Vimali Swamy and Anamika Sahu
Browse click and buy… can shopping clothes get that simple? The booming e-commerce business in the country testifies that it is. But is it worth it? The answer varies person to person. While some are quite ecstatic with what is delivered to them while some feel cheated and are angered by what they receive. The key to shopping online is to identify a reliable company that time and again proves that it is a source to be trusted. However with the web spread with thousands of e-commerce portals, how does one make the choice?

2009 founded Yebhi.com, may come across as one among these e-commerce portals, but it is not. Process oriented and technologically adept, Yebhi.com is striving very hard to provide an unparallel e-commerce experience to the customers and in a span of few years of its operations it has managed to achieve it successfully. From clothes, shoes, accessories, products for life style and home décor to mobiles and appliances, Yebhi.com has emerged as a one stop shop for a shopper’s every need, guaranteeing quality products from a wide variety of reputed national and international brands. With the a strong backing of about $10 million funding from Nexus Venture Partners and Catamaran Ventures, the company today is selling close to three products a minute to consumers across Tier I, II & III cities. And driving this game is Manmohan Agarwal, who had earlier struck gold with the famed BigShoeBazaar.com.

From shoes to apparels - the steady rise

In 2005, a time when the e-commerce was yet to take the country by waves, Agarwal had taken a dive into entrepreneurship with a bizarre idea of selling shoes online. Beings of a traditional mindset, Indian consumers prefer to go to a physical store, try out the products, get the touch and feel of it before making the purchase. For consumers such as this, buying shoes online was a very far fetched idea and for many the entire idea was crazy. Also it was quite a herculean task to persuade supplier brands to partner with them and sell their products (shoes) online. Though, outside India several companies had built a successful online business of selling shoes, in India this was the first of its kind and it took him over six months to persuade the some of the brands to do business with them. As they say, “Slow and steady wins the race”, Agarwal eventually succeeded in creating a reliable and trustworthy online shoe portal. The humble start with shoes has today grown into Yebhi.com — a multi-category portal with over 250 brands spread over products like shoes, apparel, products for home décor & lifestyle, electronics, sunglasses, fragrances, bags, accessories, appliances and much more.

So what is the secret to the success? With a prior stint as the CEO of supermarket chain, Vishal Retail, Agarwal had hands on experience in setting retail stores across 110 cities in India which sold apparels, groceries, and electronics. Of all the products sold, he saw that apparels and lifestyle products brought in the maximum profit margin of about 50 percent as compared to mobiles and electronic appliances which brought a profit margin of not more than 5-10 percent. The stint at Vishal Retail also helped him understand buying patterns, preferences and psyche of customers across different regions. Hence, when he started his own entrepreneurial venture it was no surprise that he decided to go with retailing online and focus on apparels starting with shoes.

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