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'Indian Companies Have Been Waiting For the Iron to Get Hot & it is Hot Only Now'

In the last 6 months, I have seen a disruption; paradigm shift to be seen in the coming years says OLX India Country Head.
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The calm demeanor of OLX India chief speaks volumes about his delight with the growth of ecommerce companies in India.

OLX, which was founded in 2006, is a global online marketplace and is the largest online classified ads company in India.

In a chat with Entrepreneur, OLX India CEO Amarjit Batra said companies have been striking at the iron for it to get hot and the iron is hot only now.

He believes e-commerce trends have begun to show tremendous growth in India and with data access, internet companies will be able to grow faster.

“A year ago, India’s data cost was one of the highest in the world and usage because of that was fairly low. But in the last 6 months, I have seen a disruption. There will be a paradigm shift in the coming years.”

Batra believes Indian consumer has been ready for a long time to make a smooth transition from offline to online shopping and feels both products and services have equal potential to grow in the ecommerce space in India.

“The difference between them is that India is such a large market and there has been a lot of competition. Pricing has been the differentiator, and if people start using pricing as a differentiator then it doesn’t take you very far. You have to use other mechanisms like convenience, variety – because that’s what ecommerce is more about that.”

Sitting at home with the convenience of buying without going to the mall and paying a parking fees of INR 100 has really changed the game says Batra.

Is India Ready?

Batra says India has already seen 10-15 years of development in the internet space and many companies came in when the market was not fully mature but now the Indian entrepreneur is more than ready.

“The entrepreneurs who started companies in late 1990s had to run a marathon. In the last 3-4 years, many university students are actually starting businesses and we can see a fundamental change already. The question is about fatigue and unlearning.”

Batra believes the real question that needs to be asked when the market ecosystem changes is how fresh we are in terms of our thinking, how ready are we to learn and unlearn, how ready are we to experiment.

He calls entrepreneurship in India a sport. "It's teamwork and not about an individual. It’s a collective ecosystem of people who are building together. In India, certain things move faster sometimes, some slower. Now with data access, internet companies will be able to grow faster."

What Should A New Entrepreneur Do?

First thing for any entrepreneur is to not start a business for the money or the fame. If you want to solve a problem, you should take up entrepreneurship.

The second is there should be a commitment behind your venture. It is not a fad to become an entrepreneur. Out of 100 companies, 95 per cent fail. Failing is inevitable, changes are inevitable but the difference comes when you are committed you are and how courageous you are says Batra. 

The third thing is analysis of what impact you are looking to make on the people you are building the business for. How customer-centric you are and ensure that you don’t lose that focus.

If you don’t have these traits, please don’t begin says Batra. 

 
Edition: May 2017

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