The eCommerce sector in India is now growing into niche markets with niche products. We talked about Zepo and MebelKart in our previous editions and now we have another venture targeting the niche automobile industry – Carkhana.
Carkhana, headquartered in Delhi, is a pioneer in the business of exclusive e-retail of automotive accessories in India. They call themselves an “Independent exclusive online retailer of latest automotive accessories and spare parts”. Primarily, their focus is on offering Indian customers a wide choice of Original automotive accessories from Indian and International brands with doorstep delivery, free technical advice and installation support wherever possible. What started out as a basic website, 30 odd products and 1 partner brand is today over 2000+ products, relationships with over 110 partner brands and manufacturers, over 5000 happy customers, affiliate partnership with market leaders like Ebay, Rediff, Tradus and others.
We were in conversation with Harneet Singh, founder, Carkhana.com. Here are the excerpts from the interview
Geeks (G): Whats the story being Carkhana? How was Carkhana founded?
Harneet (H): Carkhana is the brainchild of Runal and myself (Harneet) and took about 2 years to form. We met at a National leadership hunt and instantly connected on automobiles and entrepreneurship. From mid-2010 to late 2011, we undertook massive group discussion, meetings and concept development sessions to come up with our e-retail concept and what we aspire to do. From Sep 2011 to Dec 2011, we outsourced work for website development, met some brands and prepared for Auto Expo 2012. Website was launched on 1st-Jan-2012 for customers with 30 odd products across 5 sub-categories and 1 brand only.
G: What is that you feel so unique about Carkhana?
H: Carkhana focuses on the need to revolutionize the tradtional contours of Indian automotive industry, especially the Sales & Distribution setup. We focus entirely on identifying opportunities in the online and offline spaces, providing platform for brands to reach buyers across geographic boundaries and give support to Indian customers by way of technical expertise and products/services for the entire life-cycle of ownership (of a vehicle)
We believe youth passion, sector expertise and focus on synchronizing both online and offline space shall deliver the market leadership for us.
G: What about Carkhana’s future plans?
H: We see Carkhana as the one-stop shop for latest automotive products and services for Indian customer both in the online as well as off-line space. A trusted partner for a customer’s entire ownership cycle for a vehicle; right from buying, owning, maintaining and moving on cycle.
We would continue in our efforts to have a strong portfolio of after-market accessories and spares with due focus to replacement products, performance parts, original spares etc so that we offer real value by eliminating geographical access issues, affordability and spoil our customers for choice.
G: Could you shed some light on your revenue model
H: Currently, we operate as a value-player in the e-commerce segment that is we make our trading margins on buying and selling goods. Products are sourced directly from manufacturers/ authorized representatives and then re-sold to individual customers. We also serve some B2B dealers/ accessories retailers in parts of the country. We have services like magazine subscriptions and soon to be launched insurance etc. we earn commissions on the order value.
G: Is there anything more you would like to tell us.
H: Our growth and passion has attracted strong support from Industry-experienced leaders both in commercial as well as strategic terms. We shall be soon scaling up our operations, adding dynamic new services and expanding our presence thanks to the support we have received.
Given our strong niche market, brand recognition and exciting future ahead, we are now backed by some very senior automotive industry members who are hand-holding us in order to scale up our business and realize its true potential.
About the Founding Team
Harneet Singh is an ex-management consultant having worked with organizations like Synovate and Tecnova Global. Carries around 3 years of business consulting and project experience acorss countries like France, UK, Saudi Arabia, Hongkong and others. A graduate from College of Business Studies (DU), popular quizmaster and an avid back-packer
He is accompanied by Runal Dahiwade, a mechanical engineer from Bangalore and a complete Petrol-head. Lives and dreams cars. Used to write a popular blog called dwheels on cars etc and had a good following and internet traffic. Now heads all Operations and Content division.
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