A start-up based in Delhi, the firm focusses on selling the best of office products through an online platform. Priyankar Baid, founder and director, SME Sauda, in a conversation with SupportBiz,spoke of Indian SMEs online buying trends. Edited excerpts:
How are SMEs taking to online buying? What are the drivers for the same? Online buying is gradually catching up among SMEs. There are few factors which are influencing the typical MSME owner to shop online; one of them is the trust factor.
Access the best possible products easily is the other major drivers for online purchases.
How did you conceive the idea of SME Sauda?
We realised that the potential in the SME segment is huge. There is hardly any player addressing this segment in the right way. SMEs from tier II and tier III cities had hardly been tapped.. Wehile examined these market facts and entered the market with an online buying platform for SMEs.
What are your key focus areas?
The main areas that we focus on are office equipment, services, IT and engineering products. We bring in the best possible pricing and quality in all these areas.
International shipping, logistics, outsourced HR, marketing and printing are categories of services that we offer.
In the products category, we offer engineering products like motors, computer peripherals, printers, office equipment, office safety products, among other things.
What are the challenges you faced in your business?
Since we cover remote areas, including tier III cities in India, we often face challenge with respect to logistics and payment methodologies. We do manage these challenges but this area still requires positive lot more action. Cash-on-delivery could be a good option and we are evaluating that aspect as wellbut in our market segment it has its own limitations. Spreading awareness is also an area in which lot of work is needed .
In our kind of market, multiplicity of languages is also a challenge. However, we are working on this very aggressively.
When did you started this portal and how has been your business experience so far?
We started development activity in June, 2011 and formally rolled out our services earlier this year. We have a registered member base of around 10,000 MSMEs. We have a call centre based in Delhi which interacts with our customers. We interact with our customers and this helps build trust with our members and customers.
What exclusivity do you offer to your users?
We are very selective towards our vendors. As a policy we do not want to become a crowded marketplace. Rather, we would like to pick and choose our vendors who can deliver the best in service to our customers. Also, we have our trademark service to our paid members. This service is called ‘Request for Deal’. In this scheme, we work out an exclusive deal for the customer according to his exclusive requirements.
Moving forward, what is your activity roadmap?
We will diversify into industrial products. On the website front, we will work on ease of access for our users. For example, a mobile version of our website and a Hindi language version is clearly on the cards. We will also prepare ourselves for ‘Series A’ round of funding.