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Eliminating The Middlemen From The Indian Wholesale Market

Eliminating The Middlemen From The Indian Wholesale Market
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You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

When it comes to India, B2B wholesale market is fragmented, as it is majorly dominated by middlemen. The middleman gets all the profit from the deal leaving very little margin for the wholesalers to pocket in and be content with. 

But off-late with the advent of technology, the buyers and sellers in the wholesale market have been able to connect directly; thereby, avoiding the middlemen! This has also paved way for smoother transactions between buyers and sellers.

If you look at the Walmart study, it estimates B2B wholesale segment to be $ 700 billion by 2020. If even 5 per cent of it happens online by then, we are talking about a market, as large as, $ 35 billion. So it indicates that there is significant headroom for growth in this market segment. Also, industry experts agree that B2B is the next big thing, particularly for India.

Taking cue from the situation, Devesh Rai, who started his entrepreneurial journey in 2011 with ShopClues.com, where he was a founding team member, founded Wyder to make this fragmented market an organized one.

Wyder is a B2B marketplace that brings brands, wholesalers, importers and retailers on one single platform, with a vision to aggregate the unorganized and fragmented Indian wholesale market.

We caught up with Devesh RaiCEO and FounderWydr to understand how he is organizing the fragmented market and connecting the buyers and sellers via technology on a single platform.

How was the idea of your Startup conceptualized? What is the need you are addressing in the market?

The idea behind Wydr did not come to me overnight. It was while dealing with several brands and wholesalers during my past stints with various companies that I came to identify several gaps and pain points in the business of bulk buying and selling. I realized that regressive aspects, like broken-up distribution chain, cost involved in setting-up a sales team across the country, low trust market, payment safety issues and logistics etc were hindering the B2B market from reaching its true potential. Additionally, the fact that offline retail is and will continue to have lion's share of the retail business; was when I saw immense potential in taking the B2B market online.

Tell us something about your business mock-up.

At Wydr, buyers on our platform will get increased sourcing options, real time new product and price discovery, thereby rendering the wholesale hubs redundant. Our marketplace mechanism, on the other hand, efficiently brings in higher transparency in products prices.

We are a completely performance-based platform. Currently, our revenue source is the selling fee, which we charge from sellers on every transaction. In future, we will also build non-transactional revenue sources, as B2B is a segment where brands want to spend to increase their reach amongst retailers. The non-transactional revenue would be various sources, advertising to premium services.

Have you raised any funding so far? What are your plans to use this funding for?

We have done a seed round with some Angel investors. The funding is largely being deployed in Technology and Seller Acquisition.

How Wydr is connecting the buyers and sellers via technology on a single platform?

In the B2B retail world today, majority of the transactions happen offline. The Wholesalers and retailers do not have a single technology platform where they can discover and transact directly and conveniently, whenever and from wherever. Wydr is a marketplace platform where brands/wholesalers can sell directly to shopkeepers from across the country. We provide complete marketplace platform services including technology, marketing, payment, logistics, customer care and billing and payment to our buyers and Sellers.

What's more, the platform is designed to cater to the unique buying and selling needs of the Wholesale segment. We have built unique, disruptive and innovative technology solutions specifically for this segment.

When brands/wholesalers sign on our platform they get a seller panel, through which they can upload their catalog. This catalog is then visible to thousands of retailers already signed up with us. Retailers can discover SKUs by browsing or searching for the specific items. They can then connect with the seller through a BizChat feature, negotiate and finalize a deal.

As a marketplace platform, we are able to provide the catalog width and depth which buyers need to stock up their shops.

How mobile connectivity has solved the problem of connectivity and logistics in B2B segment?

Considering the fact that India is a country of fragmented supply chain, shopkeepers in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns do not have direct access to best products at best of pricing. This is one big problem which internet can solve for these people, that of discovery of new sourcing options. However, internet on PC is still at best patchy in the country. Mobile internet bridges that gap beautifully and gives them this access sitting in their shop while conducting their daily business and other chores.

On the logistics front, one big role that mobile has played is real time viewing of the package. Update of package status including delivery, happens real time and helps manage customer anxiety better. Another critical role played by mobile internet combined with GPS is real time tracking of the transporting vehicle. When goods are being bought and sold in bulk, this ability to track the vehicle helps in optimizing cost, reducing anxiety, managing routes and delivery timings.

What is your USP?

Presently, we have no direct competition in India and existing players that are out there are neither addressing wholesales pain points nor are they building on new set of opportunities. Though it sounds quite clichéd, we do have the first mover advantage.

Our uniqueness lies in the fact that we are the only and first ever mobile first innovative wholesale B2B marketplace. As mentioned earlier, our competitive edge lies in innovative product features and services that are designed for B2B wholesale buying and selling. We designed this platform in order to make wholesale buying and selling more structured, organized and a hassle free process, with loads of innovative state-of-the-art features packed within.

We haven’t had to pivot from our model and given the response to our business, we do not foresee a need to pivot as the product market fit has been well established by us.

Tell us something about your team. How do you keep your team in high spirits? What is your office culture like? 

We believe in the tenets of inclusion, energy, and fun. We have successfully built an environment which is informal, fun and almost college like. Idea is to create an environment where everybody builds a deep desire and passion to achieve the organization goals and excel at their own tasks. It is a completely open office culture with no cabins, even for Top Management.

But one has to work hard on building such a wonderful work environment and we do multiple things to make it. There is a weekly Townhall, where we share the business progress with the entire team, highlight some key achievements of the last week, recognize key achievers and even a fun introduction by new member who joined in the week. Then we have regular engagement activities like quarterly party/Office Picnics, in office activities like Carom Tournament, Yoga Days, and occasion based celebrations.

Who has been your mentor in your Entrepreneurial journey?

Honestly, my biggest mentor has been life itself. I believe we have a lot of learning which life has to offer on a daily basis, we just need to be open to receive. And I do not believe in one big learning but the cumulative effect of small learnings, which make you better and superior to your past self. Having said that, I have learnt a lot from some of my past bosses, as well as, peers.

Is there any business fundamental that you strongly believe in?

True understanding of customer needs, building something relevant for them and delivering it in the most efficient customer friendly manner are the few fundamentals on which I strongly believe.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?

Well, the very problem areas that we identified in the B2B wholesale buying and selling space acted as the main challenge when we set out to change what was existed out there. But that was the very opportunity which the unorganized wholesale market offered to us. Added to this was a concern such as broken up distribution chain, week logistics, low trust between buyers and sellers, quality and standards, payment and transactions safety. Our innovation and technology prowess is targeted to make wholesale buying and selling easier, more efficient and transparent, eventually connecting Indian wholesale buyers and sellers with their global counterparts. 

And my style to address these challenges is to head on, having done the ground work first by putting the facts in place and then analyzing those facts meticulously.

Any expansion plans that you would like to share with us?

Wydr is already available pan India. In just four months of launch we have already shipped to over 400 cities across the country. Our buyers come from all parts of the country, especially Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns. We will further strengthen our seller presence from key wholesale and manufacturing hubs across the country.

Is there any changes have you experienced in yourself since the day you started the business till now?

I think entrepreneurial journey brings a change in you every day. You start becoming better at what you were good at, you learn more and more to follow your gut, you start knowing yourself better and many more. And as you go along, challenges faced in past feel like child’s play.

Edition: December 2016

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