1Click1Call.com is an e-commerce portal aiming to be a one stop shop for all office and school supplies. Especially for SMEs, home offices, home and school needs without a procurement/admin team; this portal aims to make their life easier by consolidating the procurement process.
Based out of Delhi, they have been operational since January this year. Through their e-commerce portal they sell office stationery, executive accessories (Desk and Personal), luxury notebooks, diaries and writing instruments, school stationery, paper, inks and toners, communication devices (smartphones, desk phones and AV equipment), technology products (mainly accessories and peripherals), housekeeping supplies, pantry supplies, while also provide corporate gifting and printing services to their clients.
Their average gross margins are approx. 30-35% on most office supplies products. For IT accessories, inks and toners etc. margins are a bit lower at approx. 10-15%. Overall, gross margins would be approx. 25-27%.
Offices and Schools in and around Delhi/NCR; Small scale enterprises/home offices for their office stationery requirements throughout India; Individual buyers for stationery, office products, IT products etc. throughout India make for their typical customers.
They currently have around 4-5 corporate clients in Delhi/NCR (average employee strength of around 75) buying their office supplies from 1click1call on a monthly basis. They also claim to be doing approx. 15 retail transactions a day throughout India and plan to ramp it up a lot faster in the coming few months by adding few new categories and creating two distinct but integrated platforms for retail and corporate users. They plan to make the corporate platform a lot easier and almost excel-like to use for companies that want to spend minimal time in ordering.
Market size of office products inIndiais around INR 750 billion (and growing at approx. 15-20%) and specifically paper and non-paper stationery market size together, stands at INR 100 billion.
“It is still largely unorganized even though players such as Staples and Office depot have enteredIndiathrough various tie-ups and JVs. However, all these organized players have only focused on larger corporations and MNCs without serving the bigger market of SMEs, home offices or retail segments, when actually, they are the ones looking out for a one stop online shop for office supplies. The bigger companies already have resources to manage multiple vendors and purchase through their own automated systems. Currently, this market segment is dominated by regional suppliers and offline retailers, serving a small radius of their specific local catchments. The bigger players have refused to acknowledge Indian markets by not preparing a product for smaller companies, home offices, individual professionals, education institutions etc.,” says Co-fonder, Deepak Batra.
Deepak Batra was an internet user and an early adopter to e-commerce but got introduced to the business and product side of internet fairly recently in his last role as an analyst with a venture capital firm. Deepak strongly believes that internet and e-commerce is fairly under-utilized in B2B engagements inIndiawhen office executives are the most frequent and comfortable users of internet. Before his internet exposure, he has worked in various research/analytics roles with different research companies in areas of Equity, Corporate Finance and Strategy. He has done his MBA in Finance from IMT Ghaziabad and also holds a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems fromIndraprasthaUniversity.
His Co-founder, Pankaj Arora, used to work as an Investment and Trading Strategist in his last role. Pankaj also has prior entrepreneurial experience and was leading a team of 8-10 proprietary traders in his last venture. Apart from financial markets, Pankaj has also worked as a Business Analyst helping a global bank implement their trading desk systems. He has done his MBA from Asian Institute of Management,Philippinesand also holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Investment Analysis fromDelhiUniversity.
“Having worked with smaller consulting research firms and then a real small set up of around 20 people, we realized quickly that admin/purchase is a thankless job and in companies with no/small admin team, managing multiple vendor relationships is the most tedious task. Besides, we realized that buying utility items online for office etc. was still a pain as most of the online B2B sites are listing sites and do not sell products. You could not view products, pricing etc. online. Buying for office entailed more online research than buying for home at times. Also, having been close friends with an admin professional made us think how we can offer them more value along with just selling products,” says Deepak.
1click1call has been self-funded with around 10 lakhs invested into the business, excluding inventory. They are preparing an investment plan currently and will look to raise external funding in another month or so for team expansion, geographical expansion of their B2B business and marketing. Having a team of 6 people, currently, they are in the process of expanding it soon. Also, earlier they were working with an outsourced vendor for building their web platform, but are now in the process of bringing that in-house.
They faced several challenges while starting up. Their biggest hurdle is the logistics issue. “To ensure delivery within 24-36 hours for companies is a huge challenge as we are handling delivery through our own van and bike. There is no way we can rely on courier companies to become as efficient operationally, and cost wise as well, to suit our purpose. Even outside Delhi/NCR, we have faced logistics issues with courier partners in the form of taking too long to deliver etc. Also B2B selling is a longer process where the cycle between the initial meeting and closing a contract can take up to a month and therefore the need to invest time and resources. That is another problem 1click1call faces,” concludes Deepak.