- The founder informed that the company will be renting and selling consumer electronics shops in the virtual space
- Digital Mall of Asia will either collaborate with brands or L1 retailers for consumer electronics retail business
The CEO informed that Rs 3,000 crore revenue is possible via rents from the virtual space
Rishabh Mehra (RM), Managing Director, and CEO, Digital Mall of Asia, in an exclusive conversation with EFY Group, shed light on how he plans to take on the likes of Flipkarts and Amazons in India. Digital Mall of Asia has plans to spread wings in India and international markets starting 2020.
“We’ll only be competing on the price front because we are trying to create our niche segment. When I say large appliances, there will be only one Samsung, one LG, one Philips and so on,“ shared Rishabh.
He added, “For every category, for every brand, there are 10,000 retailers. Here, there’ll be only one. We don’t want too many online sellers, we just want the best one in each category, in each brand. Our platform will give the online seller an opportunity to sell at a very low price as compared to other portals.“
Some more interesting excerpts from the interaction
ACE – What’s the idea behind the Digital Mall of Asia? Why 2020? Why not now?
RM – This is going to be an online virtual mall. Whatever you get in the offline world, now will be available online. When you compare it with other portals, they are only for shopping, food or movies. We’ve come up with a platform where the customer will get almost everything in one place.
The concept is still under development. About 80 percent of the product is ready. And in terms of functionality and for the other things, we’ll be applying for patent copyrights that can be done.
Once we’re done with that, we will do a test run in Delhi-NCR by the end of January 2020. And then we will take it 20 Indian cities where maximum online shopping happens. We’ll take it to other Asian countries and launch in other countries before 2021.
ACE – When it comes to consumer electronics like smartphones, small size TVs that are being sold on e-commerce channels, how do you plan to approach these?
RM – Every city has a different mall but all malls are part of the same portal. There are separate floors in every city for smartphones and large appliances in tower Electronics with 50 exclusive brands to choose from on each floor. Either we are tying up with the brand directly or with the L1 category retailer. Whichever retailer or brand takes the digital shop on rent can get exclusive rights for the entire city. Either we are tying up with Samsung directly or with Vijay Sales.
This platform is not for the midsize or lower category retailer. That’s because we are eradicating the problem of fake products in the industry. It is supplied by the brand and we are not part of logistics. We only get the order from the customer and then we give the order to either the retailer or the brand.
Somebody from their office or from the showroom will get in touch with the customer. The person who calls the customer will ask for a convenient time for him to deliver and the mode of payment prior to visiting that customer.
ACE – How are you going to educate the consumer about this? What’s your strategy for that?
RM – Our PR team is working for an e-commerce advertisements. We have already spoken to a lot of TV channels. There will be a mix of TV commercials, print, digital marketing and a lot of other things.
In Phase One, we are launching a virtual trial room for clothing initially. In phase two, the trial room for electronics furniture. So, if you want to buy a washing machine or a refrigerator, you’ll be able to see how it looks in the virtual trial room.
This is going to make purchases easier. At the same time, it’s a kind of solution to a lot of problems that are in e-commerce right now.
ACE – When we talk about digital campaigns, ATS, BTL, digital marketing, what is the message that you will delivering to the consumer and to the sellers?
RM – The message is very clear from the customer’s point of view. The customer wants best quality products at cheapest prices and faster delivery. The seller would be able to sell on our platform at the cheapest price because there’s no commission.
It will be best quality products because either it will be supplied by the brand directly or by the L1 category retailer. It will be supplied by Samsung or Vijay Sales so it will not be fake. Fastest delivery will be from a local vendor, so you will get the product within two to 24 hours if you are available in the city.
ACE – How about online channels like Flipkart and Amazon and offline ones like Vijay Sales and Chroma? How do you plan to compete against these?
RM – We’ll only be competing on the price front because we are trying to create our niche segment. When I say large appliances, there will be only one Samsung, one LG, one Philips and so on.
For every category, for every brand, there are 10,000 retailers. Here, there’ll be only one. We don’t want too many online sellers, we just want the best one in each category, in each brand. Our platform will give online sellers an opportunity to sell at a very low price as compared to other portals.
ACE – When it comes to selecting L1 retailers or companies, what would be the criteria that you will be looking for?
RM – We have a market research team that’s working on it. The retailer can also go to the site, fill up the form, pay Rs 500 for registration and submit the application.
The application will come to us and our team is going to work on it. Otherwise, for the bigger brands that are there in the market, we already have our database ready. Either we get in touch with them or they get in touch with us.
ACE – You said you will be launching the pilot phase in 2020?
RM – Yes. Most probably it will happen in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, first in January. And then eventually in Ghaziabad, Faridabad and Gurgaon. In January we plan to launch in Delhi-NCR.
ACE – How many cities are you targeting?
RM – We want to go to 20 cities in first quarter itself but it’s a new concept to understand. There are certain set of people who like it and a certain set of online retailers who will not like it.
ACE – When it comes to delivery, would the delivery be completely free for the consumer irrespective of the amount of purchases you’re making, or would there be a price barrier?
Ans. No cost for the delivery. Whatever amount that is reflecting on the product includes delivery.
ACE – How many categories are you going to cover in all?
Ans. Approximately 120 different categories.
ACE – What about high value consumer electronics purchases? What will be the model for those?
RM – We are finalising a model for high value consumer electronics as of now. Our aim is creating a model and a policy that works as beautifully as it does for the end consumer. Please note that there are big logistic costs attached with large appliances and TVs.
But anything less than Rs 10,000 or may be Rs 15,000 might come into the refund scenario. However, a lot depends on the size of consumer electronics as well.
ACE – What technologies are you using for providing virtual experience which you mentioned before?
RM – We have tied up with a company called RoboSoft Technologies. They are our technology partners. The application interface for the consumers will be available on the web, along with iOS and Android devices.
A combination of advanced technologies including React Native, ReactJS, and NodeJS back the applications and the virtual platform. Meeting a critical need in the e-commerce market, Virtual Trail Room will be the most unique aspect of the application which will allow users to digitally try out the merchandise displayed on the virtual mall.
ACE – What would be your target in terms of revenue for the next two financials?
RM – Initially, we’re only focusing on revenue through rents. One side we are selling shops to the investors, on the other hand, we are putting them on rent. We are waiting for our legal team to give us a go-ahead for the sale of shops.
On the rental part, approximately one lakh shops are there. If we are able to put all the shops on rent then we are looking at an annual revenue of approx 3000 crores through rental only.
ACE – How much is the investment that you’re looking forward to?
RM – We don’t need too much investment. Half a million dollars have already been invested.
Ours is a zero-commission model. Other portals start from 10 per cent to 40 per cent. We expect some of the bigger retailers and brands to sell the product at cheapest price on our platform.