ShopClues to revamp senior team, spend aggressively on marketing
New Delhi: Online marketplace ShopClues.com, which raised $100 million from Tiger Global three months ago, is looking to hire senior executives and spend aggressively on advertising and marketing as it targets a five-fold jump in business by next year.
Run by Clues Network Pvt. Ltd, ShopClues sold close to $400 million in gross merchandising value (GMV, or cost of goods sold, excluding discounts) in the year ended March 2015, and expects to touch $2 billion next year. It expects GMV to rise to $3 billion in the next three years.
ShopClues is close to hiring a director of engineering, vice-president of category management and vice-president of products from top retail and e-retail firms.
“We are getting ready for scale and we might have to look for people who have seen the kind of scale Indian e-commerce is set to achieve,” said Sanjay Sethi, co-founder and chief executive at ShopClues.
According to Sethi, the company might look for executives outside of India, too. “This is the first generation of Internet companies that have reached such a scale and people who have seen this scale before are largely from markets outside India,” he added.
The company’s aggressive hiring plan is partly driven by the money it is sitting on after the fund-raising from Tiger Global.
“ShopClues did not have enough money to attract credible talent for a very long time. They did not have a very good quality team that could compete with the likes of Snapdeal and Flipkart,” said a senior executive at a top recruitment firm, requesting anonymity.
With money in the bank now, the company is looking to overhaul its senior team.
“An organization is an evolving entity and constant overhauling is required. Certain talent which would have worked beautifully in the past might not work today as both people and company need to adapt to changing needs,” said Sethi.
Most large e-commerce firms are recruiting experienced senior management executives across the board as the stakes get higher in the battle for market leadership among India’s largest venture capital-backed companies.
“There is a lot of movement happening and it will only intensify the war of talent,” said Ronesh Puri, managing director, Executive Access, an executive search firm.
“The next phase of evolution and money in the bank gives a lot of confidence to the candidates and hence it will not be difficult for ShopClues to attract good talent,” he added.
Currently Sethi is filling in for the chief technology officer after its co-founder and CTO Mrinal Chatterjee quit the organization in January. “We continue to be on the lookout for senior talent and as and when we find the right fit for this position, we will consider,” he said.
ShopClues, which currently does 1.5 million transactions per month, is also spending on building its brand both to attract new customers and sellers on board.
The company is looking to invest close to Rs.100 crore towards marketing and advertising on television, radio, print and digital platforms during 2015.
It is the e-commerce partner for Chennai Super Kings in the eighth season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that’s now underway. It has invested close to Rs.14 crore towards IPL alone.
According to Sethi, the company will soon come up with a television ad campaign that will focus on attracting more sellers on board. “We are aiming to reach 10 million merchants on the platform by 2018 from five lakh at present,” he said.
ShopClues currently receives around 130,000 orders on a peak day with an average order size of Rs.1,200 each. By the end of calendar year 2015, it expects to touch 300,000 orders on a peak day.
The company is trying to add a local flavour to online shopping by creating properties like a “Sunday Flea Market” and “Super Saver Wednesday Bazaar”. ShopClues claims that these have worked as a customer retention tool although the average ticket size on these days could be as low as Rs.300–800.
“Our target is the highly price-sensitive consumers who buy unbranded goods. These are the people who shop in local bazaars more than in branded showrooms and hence such concepts click very well for us,” added Sethi.
The company does close to 175,000 orders on Sundays and gets over 1.5 million visitors on its platform every Sunday when products are available at low prices.
For ShopClues, products that do really well are items such as rechargeable mosquito insect killer rackets, a set of two doormats or lunch boxes.
“Usually on weekends, most other e-tailers witness a 15-20% drop in traffic but for ShopClues, the Sunday Flea Market (SFM) keeps them busy with traffic surging by 15%. Also, nearly 60% of customers who buy during an SFM return to shop for non-deal products on our site,” said Sethi.