Unicommerce for Better e-Commerce : Ankit Khandelwal

Ankit Khandelwal, Vice President, Unicommerce eSolutions Pvt Ltd

Unicommerce is about using technology to make the most of e-Commerce in India, Ankit Khandelwal opines during an interaction with Sahaj Palla of ENN

Tell us about Unicommerce eSolutions Pvt. Ltd. and its operations across India.
Unicommerce was found after seeing the need for a technology to scale and manage the operations of e-Commerce organisations. We developed tools like inventory management and warehouse management solutions which are used by various e-Commerce players. We also came up with multi-channel order management and elementary management solutions for small manufacturers, retailers, traders and SMEs to help them support their businesses.

Coming to our operations, we currently have three offices the head office being in Delhi, the other two in Mumbai and Bangalore. We also have a sales force present all over Hyderabad and Chennai.

Tell is about the concepts of ‘multichannel’ and‘omnichannel’ retail? How does it benefit the end-user?
Multichannel and omnichannel retail concepts are about doing retail through an online sales channel, when selling products to multiple buyers. The benefit received by the customer is the transparency of the centralised database wherein there is clear visibility about the supply chain and the inventory. The customer would know whether, I have the product or not through the database. A survey showed that through the use of solutions like Multi-channel and omni-channel retail, the retention of customers is very high, and it is increasing day by day.

The central government has embarked on a ‘Digital India’ mission. How does Unicommerce relate with the programme?
Unicommerce relates to Digital India in a very big way. If we go through everyday news, we would find that ecommerce growing at a fast pace and I believe that e-Commerce is one of the main pillars of Digital India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus is on empowering the small retailers and SMEs in India. We on the same lines devised solutions that are helping SMEs to scale their e-commerce business in India. I think that technology is a necessity to grow one’s business.

What challenges did you face in the initial days and what operational hiccups are you facing now?
Our initial challenge was finding talented people for our technology team to keep up pace with the ever changing dynamics of e-commerce. Getting customers in the initial days was also a tough task as customers had trust issues with us. But, our perseverance paid off and we got Snapdeal as our first customer.

The challenges we face in the present scenario is the lack of understanding of technology by the smaller players, and it becomes difficult for us to tell them the advantage of the technology for their business. However, as people now-a-days are educated about technology, I believe that in the coming years we would not be seeing these problems.

Given the lack of digital infrastructure in major parts of the country, how do you see the future of e-commerce in India?
I am very positive about the future of ecommerce in India. We are trying to reach the numbers like those of China in the e-Commerce segment; the big billion day sale of Flipkart for example saw the sales of more than 100 million dollars worth of goods in a single day, which in itself is a big achievement for the Indian e-Commerce industry.

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I give thanks to the media, the government and the other players who are promoting e-Commerce and in turn educating the people about it, who now see the actual benefit of e-commerce.

How do you plan to escalate your presence in the Indian market?
In the next two years we have plans to have our presence in the tier one and tier two cities, and are targeting 10,000 sellers who would be using our system to manage their operations. We aim to have at least 50 percent of the Indian e-Commerce industry orders processed through our system, of which currently we process about 20 percent and that is a huge number.

Apart from that, I think the government should also give time and investment to focus on e-Commerce which can be big part of the Indian GDP in the future.