Advisory Jun, 04 2015

Online service providers can prosper via franchising

Future belongs to the digital commerce and there seems no substantial reason as to why a potential entrepreneur won’t sell their products or businesses online. Looking at the steep increase in the number of suppliers, sellers and buyers, which are taki

By Upant Sharma
Feature Writer
Online service providers can prosper via franchising

Be it manufacturers or retailers (online/offline), they need a platform to showcase their product. In this regard, online portals have taken the business world by storm making the clients businesses or products visible to the people beyond counting figures. As per credesk.com, India has close to 10 million online shoppers and is growing at an estimated 30% CAGR vis-à-vis a global growth rate of 8–10%. Electronics and Apparel are the biggest categories in terms of sales. E-commerce in India is estimated to reach $20 billion by 2015. Presently, online service providers are opting for franchise route to spread their footprints across the region at a much faster pace.

How do these services work?

These services are a complete online distribution system meant for almost every kind of manufacturer and retailer. In actual, when world is shrinking into digital canvas with time-bound customers searching through online shopping portals, people selling or buying businesses indeed need these technology providers for their growth. These service providers are mainly into sales, product catalogues, order management, customer care and marketing.

Ronak Kumar Samantray, Co-founder, NowFloats says: “Our major target is retail segment. Today, around 78% people search online before buying something online or offline. We provide customers to our clients, which get discovered through us. It’s all about increasing local visibility of the brand online. Most importantly, retail segment is not much tech-savvy, so they need us to make them accessible online.”

Rohit Bajaj, CEO & Co-founder, 99yrs.com says: “  Product cataloguing,   product listing at various market places, order management including all orders from various market places come in single panel for order process,  pricing and management,   inventory management, running promotions reducing negative points and also at the same time, we assure our clients with positive reviews,  one stop e-commerce solution and association for a lifetime are some of the major services we provide to our clients. Moreover, we offer planned promotions for six months  and sell in 39 countries via ebay, amazon etc.”

Growth providers itself growing via franchising

Expanding client base is as important for these online service providers as for all those retailers and manufacturers seeking technological assistance. All technology brands catering online help by taking Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and large enterprises online are themselves looking to expand their footprints. Nowadays, online service providers are themselves opting for franchise business model to widen their domain. Since, in order to reach out to the clients in real time, accessibility is immensely important.

Samantray of NowFloats says: “Online market is huge. Suppose, if a person needs online services in a state having entirely different language and demographics. Then, franchising plays a crucial role as it helps customer solve their issues quickly by our local franchise brands. Franchise model has two benefits. Firstly, we can easily reach SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises). Secondly, individual customers can actually resolve their issues by getting in touch with our partnered brands.”

Bajaj of 99yrs.com says: “Franchising can actually help our brand scale upfeet on street and cater to online sellers across India.  We are experts in technology and have developed on technological terms. Now, we are much concerned over speedy start. In addition to that, there is no risk of high investment with minimal competition.”

For this reason, web technology providers opting for franchising to spread across the length and breadth of the country. The more service providers are closer to the point of delivery; the more are their chances of acquiring wide customer base.

Clientele list is unending

In the business world, there will hardly be anyone that won’t be willing to take online route to sell its business and grow patron’s network base.  NowFloats boasts around 40,000 paid retailers it caters services to including almost every segment be it, apparel, electronic goods, individual customers, doctors, astrologers, fashion designers and the list goes on. The brand has majority of its customers in apparel sector that constitute over 17 % of the total clientele. It offers services from local online consumers to local offline businesses. Physical store retailers form over 90% of its clientele base in retail segment.  

Another player in the same segment 99yrs.com has its clientele list ranging from promotions to brands to sole proprietors. It has around 70 % retailers with physical stores while rest 30 % has only their online presence. All category clients such as electronics, apparels, footwear’s, jewellery, home furnishing, kitchen appliances, etc are included in their client’s list.

Future of online service providers

From a needle to apparel to nuts and bolts to cars to recipes to luscious food,  almost everything is available online. The kind of fundamental shift online market has been witnessing over the period of a decade or so, it won’t be wrong calling online service as the most sought after industry in the near future. People instead of searching goods outside prefer to browse around different websites only to find products quickly and get those delivered at home with ease. Now, number of customers shopping online is on the rise so future of online services appears bright.

Since, online platform provides global accessibility to a product, market a product online will be the next big thing.

Opining over the future of online service provider’s future prospects, Bajaj of 99yrs.com says that presently there are around one lakh online sellers. The number is thought to have been touching over 45 lakh sellers in next 3 years.

In a nutshell, the rising graph of the online service provider in terms of number of customers and harvesting profits underlines the fact that the segment is sure to pick up pace in the future, creating a prospective opportunity for potential investors willing to enter online services segment  through franchising.

Related: Train to gain success

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