Dumping Discounts, Playing The Experience Part In e-Commerce
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Prior to joining the Aditya Birla Group, Prashant spent about 12 years at McKinsey, where he was a partner at their Mumbai office. He was part of the operations team which responsibly delivered tangible bottom-line impact to clients across manufacturing and service sectors. He has also driven significant strategy engagements including global growth for Indian majors, growth within India and India entry strategy for MNCs.
Gupta had joined the Aditya Birla Group as the Head of the Chairman’s office in January 2011. This is where he played a pivotal role in assisting the group Chairman, Kumar Mangalam Birla, on a wide range of issues across all businesses of the group. Gupta was moved to his current role in late 2014 after steering the incubation of abof ground up. Talking about creating a balance in the e-commerce space between discount and experience, Gupta says, “To stay alongside with other major players of the market, we also have to provide some discounts if not much. But the major challenge is to convince our customers through the quality of the merchandise, shopping experience and various other features that play the major role in creating business for us.”
On his future initiatives, Gupta says, “Being an e-commerce brand, the main requirement is constant innovation and the constant push to be differentiated. So we will continue to come up with ideas and things that we are trying to build. So to give an example, we have recently, launched a fashion chatbot called ‘Aisha’ which is essentially your fashion, styling advisor which you can use anytime you want and it is Facebook messenger enabled.” According to Gupta, Abof is portraying ‘Aisha’ as the next Siri of fashion. “It was conceived around 18 months ago and it took us around 14 to 15 months to get hold of the project, legal advice and other technologies and get the whole system in place. We had launched the very first version of it in February which was a very basic product wherein we had just covered the basic features but at the back-end, technological works were being taken care of. Now we incorporated all the feedback, thereby launching the revised version of it about months back. People are falling in love with the experience. However, we still need to create awareness around it,” adds Gupta.
Commenting on omni-channel business, if that’s the way forward, Gupta says, “Not right now, those features are yet to be made available. But it has been the topic of debate for the past few months.”
(This article was first published in the July issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)