On 8th January, 2016 IIT Kanpur IME Department held a seminar on “Emerging trends, challenges and opportunities in online B2B markets” by Mr.Vikas Aggarwal from IndiaMart.
IndiaMart is India’s largest B2B market space with 1.5 million suppliers listed on its website, with around 10 million buyers visiting the online platform every month. Mr. Vikas Aggarwal has been a part of this organization since 1999 and presently heads the Client Servicing division.
The seminar was an interactive session where Mr. Aggarwal addressed the queries of students. He explained the difference between running a B2B business model and a B2C e-commerce model. According to Mr. Aggarwal, IndiaMart primarily plays the role of matchmaking by bringing together buyers and sellers from different parts of the country. They always try maintaining a thorough database of sellers, even going to great lengths to regularly update their seller listings every 24 days so that there are always 2-3 sellers for a particular product category present at all times. If any business like theirs has to prosper they need to have strong database of their client and customers.
Mr. Aggarwal explained the "freemium" model through which their business operates, that is, their basic service is free for all suppliers but to get priority based listings and other added features one had to pay a premium subscription.
He shared how IndiaMart started as a website developing company for different SME’s and later decided to aggregate the same on one common platform.
He also gave a brief idea about transition of business from P-Commerce (Paper) to E-Commerce (Internet, Desktop) and now to M-Commerce (Mobile) model and how Net Promoters Score (NPS) is a important factor nowadays to measure the customer's satisfaction. Zappos, an E-Commerce site was based on the philosophy of getting high NPS by satisfying customer through exceptional service rather than giving discounts. He discussed how IndiaMArt aims to do the same by protecting buyers from suppliers by flagging faulty suppliers and even de-listing unresponsive suppliers.
Apart from supplier-buyer relationship, IndiaMart believes in having a strong relationship with their employees as well. At IndiaMart they have ticket system which ensures that all kinds of employee redressals are heard and taken care of.
In the end he advised the students to be flexible and open minded in their career opportunities and growth as well as take care of how one is at transitioning in their career. He stressed to always strive to learn something new and try something different as one progresses in their career.
Overall it was a very informative session where we got a glimpse in to the inner workings of India's B2B market space.