As the world witnesses the ecommerce boom and the market realizes its potential, even big corporate houses are making a move to tap its potential. The most recent example being the Mahindra Group that has ventured into the ecommerce space by launching M2ALL.com – a portal that sells Mahindra products.
The website currently offers products including cars, two wheelers, real estate and power solutions, and are available at the same prices as its offline channels. The portal will increase its product categories in the next two years and sell products of all Mahindra Group companies, including products and services of other manufacturers.
This portal that was launched on Monday, has started taking orders for Mahindra’s new compact SUV — Mahindra TUV300.
Mahindra e-Market Private Ltd, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Mahindra & Mahindra, owns this portal and will operate under the aegis of VS Parthasarathy, the CFO of Mahindra Group. A small team of 10 people are currently involved in this venture and the company looks to expand this team soon.
“India’s e-tailing market is expected to reach $50 Bn by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 47%. We are seeking this opportunity and this is the right time to go into it,” said VS Parthasarathy.
“The portal works on the ‘click and brick’ model with the products being ordered online will be delivered by our partners including dealers, distributors and logistics teams. Basically, we will use the existing channel for delivery of products and at the same time we are building capability to improve delivery,” he added.
The group has already tested the ecommerce water by running the online store of its maternity and childcare item brand called Mom & Me. It acquired babycare products etailer Babyoye in February this year. Earlier this month, the company decided to rename Mom & Me to Babyoye by Mahindra, in order to have a unified brand presence across various channels. Mahindra Retail has drawn the curtains on the online store of Mom & Me and integrated it with Babyoye.com.
Last month, the Mahindra Group hired Jaspreet Bindra – the former CEO of Askme.com, as its senior vice president for Digital Innovation and Ecommerce, to initiate and execute a digital and ecommerce strategy for the group.
In an exclusive conversation with Inc42, Jaspreet talks about the group’s ecommerce strategies and plans. Here are the excerpts from that chat:
“Each company will focus on its ecommerce strategy and decide the best course of action.”
Inc42: What is Mahindra’s ecommerce strategy?
Jaspreet: The Mahindra group is a federation of companies, and each company is the master of its own destiny. So, each company will have its own ecommerce strategy, and will choose the best way to do it. For example, Mahindra retail chose the acquisition route, with Babyoye acquisition. Others might choose an organic or inorganic method, based on their own strategies.
Inc42: Mukesh Ambani claims that RIL will create a differentiated ecommerce model for India. How is Mahindra Group planning to create a differentiation in this space?
Jaspreet: All our companies are differentiated in their product and service offerings. Ecommerce is an extension of their brick and mortar business, enabled digitally.
Inc42: Tata Groups has earmarked INR 1000 crore for its ecommerce ventures. How much is Mahindra Group planning to invest in its ecommerce plans?
Jaspreet: No comments.
Inc42: After Babyoye, is Mahindra planning to acquire more such ecommerce platforms? If yes, which all sectors will the group focus on?
Jaspreet: As said, each company will focus on its ecommerce strategy and decide the best course of action.
Inc42: Are you planning to acquire or partner with more logistics firms to manage the logistics of your ecommerce ventures?
Jaspreet: Mahindra logistics is a leading 3pl company for ecommerce. We partner with them, as well as with all other leading firms, as per the demands of the business.
An increasing number of biggies are entering the ecommerce space to leverage its booming growth. Reliance Retails plans to create a differentiated ecommerce model in India. The fashion and lifestyle segment of Reliance Retail plans to roll out its ecommerce initiative by end of this year. Reliance Fresh Direct, the virtual store of Reliance Retail, started operating last year.
The Aditya Birla Group also forayed into the ecommerce space by partnering with online grocer ZopNow. It secured the ecommerce-based home delivery business of Aditya Birla Retail, earlier this year.
Tata Group recently launched an internal ecommerce portal, exclusively for its over 5 lakh employees, called Mytatastore. During a group’s internal leadership meeting held in July, the group’s chairman Cyrus Mistry, announced details about its ecommerce venture, which will be a marketplace. It will sell both Tata and non-Tata brands across lifestyle and electronics. The venture will be supported by Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS).