SupportBiz presents an exclusive conversation with Ajeet, co-founder of Stork.
Since when has Stork been in operation?
The idea of starting Stork originated in October 2011. After a test operation among known people, the actual launch of the store took place in July 2012.
Tell us about the background of the founders of Stork...
Both Rajesh and myself are graduates from NIT Kurukshetra. I have a work experience of about 12 years in the manufacturing & IT sectors, after which I started my own entrepreneurial venture in 2005, with the launch of a health snack. Then, in 2006, I started a software development company.
Rajesh has a work experience of 10 years in the leather industry, prior to starting his own firm in 2006, along with some partners.
We met again 17 years after our graduation, and during our conversation, came up with an idea to start something unique together. Thus started the journey of Stork.
Why an online grocery store?
Both Rajesh and I were passionate about a retail business. After meticulous research and a lot of discussion, we arrived at the conclusion that starting an online retail store now would be like what an online bank was 10 years ago. We were confident of the potential of such a store. We decided on selling grocery because it is the basic need of every household.
How is Stork different from other online stores?
A lot of the online stores today are more into giving bargains rather than providing a wider range of products and high quality. We are different in the sense that we focus on a wide range of good-quality products. We cater to products that would appeal to the global Indian. We have products from around the world, and at reasonable prices.
What are the major products that you offer?
We offer a wide range of products across four major categories – food, fruits and vegetables, personal care and home care.
How big is your team, at present?
We have a team of 10 at present, and aim to touch 25 by the end of 2012.
What are your expansion plans?
We plan to add more product and service lines, as well as expand to other cities in India. However, we believe that before we look for expansion, we need to mature our set-up at Chennai. We plan to add another city in our portfolio by 2013.
What are the major challenges that you face?
One of the major challenges that we face is educating people on the benefits of online shopping of groceries, and changing their mindset, as they are used to buying from brick-and-mortar stores and hunting for lowest prices.
Apart from that, hiring and retaining good and efficient employees has been a challenge.
Dealing with poor infrastructure like roads is another major issue that we face at present.
How do you advertise?
In the initial stages, we used e-mail and SMS campaigns to make people aware of our services. Now, we are planning to work with companies and apartments for delivery at their doorstep.
What are your views on the e-commerce industry in India at present? What is the scope of the industry?
E-commerce is going to take a central position in retail. Currently, it is still in its nascent stage. We think it will go through drastic changes before it stabilizes. The mindset of people on the security and reliability of e-commerce will break over a period of time. Traditional commerce is never going to die, but e-commerce is definitely going to bite into its share slowly and steadily, as was the case of net banking 10 years ago.
What have been your proudest moments as an entrepreneur?
We feel proud to see more than 50 families (of our employees) look upon us with hope. We want to take this figure to the thousands, and change their lives for the better.
What advice would you like to give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is a journey, not the destination. Start enjoying each and every step of the journey, and each little change you bring to the society.
Corporate Website: Stork