Open Talk @DSIM
An Interview with Director of Talash.com, Mr. Saureen Vyas.
Talash.com is a successful gift portal website offering a wide range of products. Talash, as the name itself suggest endeavour to assist you in your search. The first offering from the portal was Diwali gifts and it gradually transformed into a full service E-commerce store. In 2000, Talash.com was launched as a gift portal. Talash.com came out with a unique concept when internet awareness was still in embryonic stage
Q1. Mr.Vyas, thanks so much for joining us. We are very curious to know more about you?
Ans.Well, thanks to DSIM for inviting me and giving me the opportunity to speak how E-commerce has change the scenario of Indian market. About myself, I am very much like a normal person as you are. I did my graduation in B. Com, and I am in this business since 1999. At that time, I found the E-commerce business as an emerging field in near future. So, this is how i stepped into this field.
Q2.I was browsing through your website and I found a concept of sending gifts across India quite interesting. How you came across this wonderful idea?
Ans. The idea of starting Talash.com actually came from one of our own regional website Ahmedabad.com In 1998, we were first in Ahmadabad who did live Navratri webcasting. This concept gained popularity abroad as well. Hence, when Navratras ended, few of our customer`s from different cities wanted us to arrange Diwali gifts for their relatives staying in Ahmadabad, that was the point when the idea of starting Talash.com clicked my mind.In 2000, we launched Talash.com as a national gift portal and Ahmadabad.com as gateway of Gujarat. In 2003, we came up with a new idea of sending food vouchers for famous restaurants as gifts, which in itself was a very unique concept at that point of time.
Q3. So, Mr. Vyas when you started your E-commerce business, I suppose there were very little resources available. Kindly, tell us about the challenges you faced in starting the business? How you overcame them? Tell us about your entrepreneurship journey.
We started from the scratch and yes, indeed we faced a lot of challenges.The Initial problem that we faced was the internet connectivity. At that time the internet connectivity was not affordable by smaller companies. So, we physically did these works by going to vendors and picked up products for packaging and delivery.But reaching out to all small companies physically was not possible so, we started a niche market where there were not any issues with internet connectivity. And yes, it did give a boost to our business.
The Second problem, we faced was logistics. Firstly, we started with perishable products, like cakes & flowers. If I tell you about the situation 12- 15 years back, very few logistics were there and they were not ready to deliver the products.
To overcome this problem, we hired local staff and tied up with newly started logistic companies who can deliver these products on time. We have to make sure that every order reaches before or on time because a gift relates to many emotions.
Q4. What is your opinion on the digital marketing trends, especially on your business?
15 years back, when I started my e-commerce portal we used to do Pay Per Click (PPC). Now, the algorithm is based on bidding. The digital marketing approach enables one to reach a larger targeted audience at lower acquisition cost, thus, resulting in increased efficiency and better performance.Today`s era witnesses cut throat competition. We have to come up with new ideas quite frequently to match the competition. So, Talash.com came up with this new technique where the recipient’s expressions are captured in the video at the time of receiving the gift, which eventually is emailed to the sender.
Further, we have to focus on visitor traffic on the website that would be beneficial to run the e-commerce business.
Q5. Quite interesting ,well being associated with digital marketing industry quite a long time now. What is your opinion regarding the future of digital marketing industry?
Ans.15 years back, when I started my e-commerce portal we used to do Pay Per Click (PPC). Now, the algorithm is based on bidding. The digital marketing approach enables one to reach a larger targeted audience at lower acquisition cost, thus, resulting in increased efficiency and better performance.Today`s era witnesses cut throat competition. We have to come up with new ideas quite frequently to match the competition. So, Talash.com came up with this new technique where the recipient’s expressions are captured in the video at the time of receiving the gift, which eventually is emailed to the sender.Further, we have to focus on visitor traffic on the website that would be beneficial to run the e-commerce business.
Q6. What capabilities/skills do you think will be most critical for tomorrow`s perceptive to cultivate in this emerging business environment & why?
Ans. I would say that`s a good question! The young generation is emerging as a real entrepreneur. Young entrepreneurs have to be extremely focused. You should have to think properly to see service & solution. Is it really as per customer`s need? If the answer is yes, then see if somebody is already serving in the same sector. In the end, see what you are earning, if you are not profitable then the business is not fruitful. You should know how the execution will be done, what type of content and marketing strategy you should follow for your business.There are a lot of things needed to be done in e-commerce business; everybody is following the same path. We need to do something different. Our main focus should be what we are missing as per customer need. The process of selling a company is very challenging, lots of ups and downs will be there, and it requires a great deal of commitment and endurance to survive in this sector.
Q7. What`s next? Any big plans for future you want to share?
After experimenting, we found that something`s worked well and others not that much. We are going to re-launch our website at the end of June. Where you could see a completely new Talash & their new way of business.We will remove all the categories which are unfocused on the website, and for Ahmedabad.com we are planning to introduce it as a local gifting portal. We will be adding a facility that if you order before 2`o clock, we will deliver your gift on the same day and if the order is after 2`o clock then delivery is next scheduled day.
For that we created a platform, where local sellers, famous shops, food places, confectionary owners should start selling their products on Ahmadabad.com but condition is that they too have to deliver on the same day.
Our main vision is gifting and the second thing is exploring handloom & hand crafted products made by artisan which are no. 1 in quality. In our new Talash.com we will add those artisans. We are looking forward to educate and convince these artisans to sell their products online and introduce them to digital marketing strategy.
Q8. Finally, at the end of the conversation, as an entrepreneur & e- commerce expert… what advice would you like to give, to someone who is starting an e-commerce business?
For young entrepreneurs, I would advise to invest the time and energy to begin your business with lots of innovative idea`s because public love the word ‘NEW’. Don`t provide same solution which is already known.Try to look in the frame, to see something which others can’t, and which is still un-served or not yet served as per the expectation. You need to do a lot of exercise before starting up a business & to do something unique.
In E- commerce business, we have to do something different from others to stay competitive or in demand and learn aspects of digital marketing. Digital marketing help in accelerate business and companies to grow. It’s great to have technology on your side, but the main point is how to leverage that technology so that one can reach out to maximum audience in a cost effective manner, that is via digital marketing.
It was fantastic talking to you. Thank you so much for your valuable time and information
This was the talk with Mr. Saureen Vyas, director, Talash.com, in which he told us everything about his company, challenges faced by the company, their main focus & vision and valuable advice for starting a new business.