FHM India caught up with Sanjay Sethi, Co-Founder and CEO of ShopClues to talk at length about his personal and professional journey.
When and how did the idea of ShopClues come into being? Would you like to tell us about your journey?
ShopClues was founded in 2011 with the support of founding team of 5 members who were all professionals working in the Silicon Valley in varied industries like IT, retail and e-commerce. We were a group of like-minded people with rich experience and entrepreneurship skills. We recognised the potential of the Indian market and had the urge to return to the country to start something immense, back home. This led to the conception of ShopClues, India’s first managed marketplace.In Jan 2016, ShopClues entered the prestigious echelons of the Unicorn club with its Series E investment. ShopClues has, since, grown to have over 28 million listed products and 6,00,000+ merchants; aiming to provide the best online shopping experience. ShopClues serves in over 32,000 pin codes across India and has more than 7000 online brand stores.
Is an IPO on the cards for ShopClues? What is the current situation?
Yes, it is, as we are always open to growth, in whatever manner it can be achieved. We plan to go public in the coming financial year. We took the first step towards IPO by recently hiring ex Vmart exec Deepak Sharma as our new CFO. The red herring prospectus should happen most likely in the first quarter of the next financial year according to the market condition. We might actually do a pre-IPO fundraise, mostly around December-January. We are on the verge of hitting profitability; we don’t need a lot of cash, especially because we work in a successful business model that discourages cash burn. If we do raise funds, it will mostly be for some kind of acquisition that improves our business.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
Unlike most of our competitors, we have a strong focus on our merchants, and we constantly take initiatives to help our merchants sell and grow their business online. We also focus on consumers and sellers from Tier II, III and beyond cities and towns, and unlike replicating the mall behaviour; we focus on recreating the marketplace or bazaar shopping behaviour online. Another big differentiator is the fact that we focus on unstructured and unbranded products, unlike other players that focus on structured, branded products and categories.The capital efficiency of ShopClues is also significantly better than its competitors. This has provided the brand enough leeway to offer significantly lower selling price to its customers.Also, we have made remarkable progress in the margin profile. Further, ShopClues has the biggest seller base of over 6 lakh sellers, in India which has added to our overall GMV as well as diversification of product offerings on the platform. These factors cumulatively make ShopClues have a unique standing in the e-commerce space.
Your recently introduced fashion label MEIA has received good response from customers. Can we expect exclusive labels in men’s fashion as well?
MEIA is an exclusive fashion wear and accessories label for women, which caters to our aspirational and value-driven consumer from Bharat – Tier II, III and beyond towns. Fashion has always been our top-performing category, with 60-70 per cent of our orders from fashion and we sincerely expect it to grow three times over the next 12 months. It’s not just women who are fashion oriented; Indian men are also looking for trendy and fashionable options. To cater to this need, an exclusive men’s fashion wear and accessories label is also on cards in near future. We plan to launch men’s footwear exclusive label which will offer budget-friendly high-quality trendy products to our consumers. Just like our other exclusive labels, we will tie-up with our top performing merchants across the country and help them in manufacturing quality products.
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