In an interview with ET Insights, Khushnud Khan, the Co-Founder and CEO of Arzooo, elucidates the potentiality of technology to transform businesses.
1. How has technology helped in addressing the major issues plaguing the B2B retail/e-commerce sector?
One of the primary challenges faced by B2B retail, especially post-pandemic, has been balancing supply and demand and responding to consumer trends. Further, the convergence of channels driven by emerging technology and connected consumers is drastically altering the B2B retail space. On the other hand, offline retailers face a significant challenge when competing with e-tailers, in terms of wider inventory selection, access to working capital, and scale. This is where technology is helping build an omnichannel retail offering.
At Arzooo we are using the power of digitalization to create a seamless buying experience through our retail tech platform. Our technological solutions, including virtual inventory, credit line, DIY marketplace, and Just-in-Time supply are helping offline retailers with increased Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) and enabling them to fulfill their customers’ requirements without any additional investment, thereby propelling their sales. Thus, democratizing retail and allowing retail stores to compete against established online giants.
2. Can offline shopping provide customers with an experience that exceeds their expectations?
Unlike smartphones and smaller electronic gadgets that have conveniently moved online, consumer durables is a high-involvement category in India. Buying large electronic appliances like a refrigerator or a washing machine is still a family affair where everyone is involved in the decision-making process. Consumers feel the need to be sure of products before purchasing them, especially about the quality and after-sales service of these products. So, although there has been a recent shift in purchasing behavior with people leaning towards online shopping, the majority of consumers still prefer in-store shopping for white goods to ensure a satisfying purchase.
However, it is also crucial to take into consideration that consumers are expecting the same price parity and product range from offline retailers as offered by e-commerce platforms. This is where Arzooo is bringing together the power of e-commerce and technology and offering an edge to offline stores by giving them access to a virtual inventory solution that is larger than the established e-tailers. Stores are also able to upsell and cross-sell different products without having to invest physically in that store, in that inventory.
3. Are you looking for more opportunities for market growth and diversification by tapping into global markets?
India’s rapid digitization across industries makes its retail market space very unique. We see tremendous potential for digitizing retailers by giving them more control over how and to whom they sell their products. We began our journey in 2018 and have realised that there is a lot that still needs to be done for the retail ecosystem in tier 2 and 3 markets.
Currently, our focus is to expand in the Indian market as it is still underserved. We have a network of over 40,000 retailers and over 5,000 sellers. We are penetrating deeper into these markets and enabling their businesses with our solution. Over the next 2 years, we are aiming to get on board over 1 lac retailers and over 20,000 sellers on our platform. We are optimistic that for a market like India, we will be able to achieve our goals.