How Rena Kutz, Kitchenware manufacturer, transformed their Online Retail business with Browntape

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The Rena Kutz Group has been a trusted name in the home and kitchen appliances industry for the past 50 years. They have been producing the finest stainless steel kitchen accessories like kitchenware, utensils, cutlery and a series of unique kitchen aids for professional hoteliers/caterers. Their brands have been globally recognized and are regularly exported to the global markets in regions like Europe, Singapore, Kuwait, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, USA and UK.

The key points to the success of Rena Kutz can be attributed to the meticulous care with which their products are fabricated, using the finest raw materials, engineering techniques and skilled manpower. Products are only shipped after thorough quality checks and customer satisfaction is considered to be the prime goal.

When a company with a legacy like this decides to foray into the world of online sales, they need to be very careful. The online market can be quite fickle as compared to the offline one, and one mistake can easily be magnified.

Rena Kutz partnered with Browntape to improve their hold on the online market and the results were quickly visible. This case study looks at the advantages that Rena Kutz had while entering the market, the challenges it faced, and how it overcame those challenges to establish itself as a major player in the online retail market with the help of Browntape.

Key Advantages of Rena Kutz

Rena Kutz entered the online market with a few important advantages over many other sellers. A few of them are:

  1. Established brand name
  2. Over 50 years experience in the industry
  3. Existing manufacturing and storage units
  4. Experience in shipping abroad
  5. Access to superior raw material, technology and manpower

Overcoming Challenges

With these assets, Rena Kutz was ready to take on the world of online retail. But online retail is a different ballgame, and the company soon realized that. The initial issues began with the different requirements of different marketplaces. Each online retail channel requires sellers to verify themselves, and each uses a different format to do so. Once the registration is done, comes the question of listing, cataloging and selling on each one of them. Again, each marketplace operates differently, which means that, for a seller with the means to provide for multiple marketplaces at the same time, the real headache is to co-ordinate between each of them.

This is a common problem with established brands entering the online retail space for the first time. They do have the manpower and the operational prowess to produce, but they can be lacking in the technical know-how of the online marketplace. Many large enterprises fail to make a mark on the online retail space due to this issue.

Teaming up with Browntape

Sensing that they required expert assistance, Rena Kutz recruited Browntape to help manage their online sales. Browntape has years of industry experience and knowledge about the working of the online market. Its team of experts quickly assessed the situation and streamlined the online sales procedure for Rena Kutz.

These three are the most important ways in which Browntape offered concrete assistance to Rena Kutz.

  1. Integrating online sales channel data

  2. Optimizing logistics using automation 

  3. Bridging the gap between consumer and seller

  1. Integrating online sales channel data. By simplifying various operational processes and integrating sales data from all the subscribed sales channels, the response time to issues like low inventory was drastically reduced.
  2. Optimizing logistics using automation. Using tools such as automated printing of invoices and shipping labels, Browntape managed to streamline various processes without having to recruit more manpower and lowering costs.
  3. Bridging the gap between consumer and seller. Browntape created and managed easy access lines of communication between the seller and the consumer, backing it up with technologies like courier tracking to make sure that customer grievances were made first priority and solved efficiently.
Sales of Rena Kutz after tying up with Browntape

Sales of Rena Kutz in the past four months

Ashish Shah, the Director of Rena Kutz, feels that ecommerce is here to stay in India and all the manufacturers have to be present in the online space.

“Today’s consumer has the benefit of getting things at home without wasting on time and conveyance to go to the shops. Browntape is an excellent service provider to help your products be out there and be visible on all marketplaces at the lowest cost.”

Results

Today, Rena Kutz is one of the top sellers in all online marketplaces it has its presence in. More importantly, it has taken to online sales like a fish to water.

Abhishek Malu, Category Manager at Browntape handling Rena Kutz says,

“When the client places his trust on us, the onus is on us to use our knowledge and give our inputs pertaining to price, SKUs etc. Productive outcomes are the result of mutual trust; efficient growth is the result of the right product listed right and priced apt such that it gets maximum visibility.”

Do you want your story to be the next Browntape success story? Contact Browntape today and we’ll be happy to help you multiply your online sales.

Online selling requires a dedicated team and continuous efforts to see effective results. A good team and seamless set of processes are a must for smooth operations. Browntape Enterprise Services understands this and helps retailers to take their retail business online. Once on board, Browntape will handle all the daily operations while the retailers can focus on quality and variety of their products.

How Natural Printing teamed up with Browntape to streamline operations and increase profits

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Natural Printing Pvt. Ltd. (NPPL or Natural Printing) is the brainchild of two friends, Mayank Bhatia and Shephali Mittal, over a casual conversation and a cup of tea. Soon enough, they took up the idea and started pursuing it seriously, with a little help from their friends.

Natural Printing first made its foray in the business world by creating chic, customized corporate gifts for MNCs. Inspired by the rising ecommerce wave, they decided to change their approach and start selling their products online in 2013. The two categories that Mayank and Shephali decided to focus on were bags and personal care. They created two brands for each category – Bendly and Hill Fresh. Now they are planning to enter other product categories by establishing new brands.

Natural Printing teamed up with Browntape during their online entrepreneurial journey. This case study is an account of the various challenges faced by the Natural Printing team, and how they overcame them to become one of the top sellers in their categories with the help of Browntape.

Transitioning from Corporate to Online Sales: Challenges

Establishing a brand in the online retail market from the ground up is no easy task. NPPL started off as an exclusive caterer of corporate gifts for various multinational companies. They established their business by nurturing a network of friends and acquaintances and growing it. But there were some stark disadvantages to the corporate market.

  • The orders came at irregular intervals.
  • Even with large volume orders, payment would always be an issue.
  • There was very little scope in terms of growing a brand.

After two years in the field, Mayank and Shephali started feeling a stagnation in the market and a need to explore uncharted territories of the online world. But this would take a lot of planning.

They were also aware of the differences between the two markets:

  • While the corporate market worked on a made-to-order basis, the online retail market required you to have a stocked warehouse all the time due to the anticipated steady flow of orders.

  • Creating listings, registering to various online retail channels and smoothing out operational bottlenecks were the next concern.

NPPL started focusing on two labels – Bendly in the bags category and Hill Fresh in the personal care category. The assistance provided by various online retail channels that they subscribed to turned out to be very helpful. After setting up and settling down in the business, the next challenge appeared – that of business expansion. Although the two brands were experiencing steady sales, the company was looking for further growth in the online retail market. Lack of funds and intellectual manpower were the main reasons for this stagnancy.

Teaming up with Browntape

The online retail market is tough because one needs to always be on top of the day-to-day operations, customer grievances, returns, logistics, etc. This leaves very little room to plan for business expansion issues like entering into new categories and creating new labels. There are two ways in which this problem can be addressed. The first is to hire an employee base and train them to handle the daily operations.

A simpler way is to tie up with an ecommerce solutions provider and let them take over the menial tasks. This is where Browntape came to NPPL’s rescue.

While looking for ecommerce experts to associate with, NPPL found that Browntape had an edge over the competition since they provided support in listings.

What pleasantly surprised them was that Browntape’s team of experts was ready to take over operational areas like onboarding to new marketplaces, listing products, reputation management, handling customer queries, creating invoices, and many more. As a result, Mayank and Shephali were free to do tasks that really mattered in the long run, from managing the brand identities of their labels to expanding into new marketplaces.

“So business has grown with certain speed with support provided by Browntape and we are looking forward to touch new heights with them,” Mayank beams.

Results

The results of this business decision are quite tangible. Since January, sales have increased by a steady 30% each quarter. In fact, sales in the current quarter have already surpassed the figures in the January/March quarter.

NPPL dec-feb edited

Natural Printing’s sales soared in February 2015 after tying up with Browntape.

Apart from that, Amazon has awarded “No.1 seller in messenger bags” to Bendly. This is as much a result of the trendy and vibrant designs as that of the successful collaboration between NPPL and Browntape.

Vijin Nair, Category Manager for NPPL, Browntape says, “A success story in our industry can be ensured only with the perfect combination of product and presentation. We combined NPPL’s value-for-money products with the best customer service and well-defined brand promotion strategies to take it to greater heights.”

Do you want your story to be the next Browntape success story? Contact Browntape today and we’ll be happy to help you multiply your online sales.

Online selling requires a dedicated team and continuous efforts to see effective results. A good team and seamless set of processes are a must for smooth operations. Browntape Enterprise Services understands this and helps retailers to take their retail business online. Once on board, Browntape will handle all the daily operations while the retailers can focus on quality and variety of their products.

Cross Border Ecommerce – Everything you need to know

One of the most beautiful things about the internet is that it challenges the idea of a Nation State. Theoretically, one can access data from anywhere on the internet – Your Facebook feed might be stored in a server in Europe while the Gmail that you send might bounce off half a dozen countries before reaching its destined mailbox. It is no wonder that the internet technology has a major role to play in the ecommerce industry.

While the ecommerce industry is based on the ‘sell anywhere’ motif, the legal, technical and logistical issues that arise once we enter the real world from the virtual one constrict the idea of ‘anywhere’. Sellers would then target markets that are in common jurisdictions, with easily available and cost effective logistical support.

With the rise of cross border ecommerce, these walls too are breaking down. In 2012, cross border ecommerce accounted for $300 billion in sales. This figure is likely to reach $1.4 trillion by the end of 2015. Selling abroad is becoming cheaper day-by-day, with online retail giants like Amazon and eBay allowing Indian sellers to list their products in foreign markets.

So, is there really any sense in selling across borders? What are the considerations to do so? Let’s talk more about these issues.

Sell Abroad from India: Cross Border ECommerce

What Exactly is Cross Border ECommerce?

There was a time, only a few years ago, when a person going overseas, especially the US, would be bombarded with requests to buy and bring this gadget or that on their way back home. With the connectivity provided by the internet and the accessibility that is the result of the mobile technology, it has become increasingly easy to become a global consumer.

Cross border ecommerce or International ecommerce is when merchants sell their products or services to consumers located in other countries and jurisdictions. Generally in this case, the consumers and the merchants would not share the same currency or even the same language. This transaction, initiated virtually is then completed by transferring the physical product through various legal jurisdictions, customs, geographies and other factors. The idea is to truly expand the target market of a merchant to its limits.

In an ideal world that cross border ecommerce is incessantly trying to achieve, literally anyone with access to the internet would be able to buy and sell anywhere.

Advantages of Cross Border Ecommerce

So, the first and foremost advantage of cross border ecommerce is that it expands the seller’s market like never before. To use this fact to its fullest extent, a prudent seller would not only recognize but also create new markets for their product. In the current online retail scenario, India’s greatest exports range from spices, condiments, tea, handicrafts like cloth work and woodwork and decorative articles created using traditional processes. Considering the volume of demand that one can envision in cross border ecommerce, finding a market for a niche product thus becomes comparatively easier.

Challenges for Cross Border ECommerce

This type of transaction poses a lot of challenges to the merchants. Firstly, it is important for the seller to have a partner or a beneficiary in the region the sale is taking place, so as to understand the local laws and customs, consumer preferences and cultural differences. Systems would have to be set up in order to tackle with the problems of language and currency. The issue of legality attains special importance since the jurisdiction would first have to be established. Trade laws between countries differ from case to case.

Finally, the issue of logistics arises. Shipping products overseas is far more expensive than doing so domestically, especially because of the customs duties and taxes. It is because of these reasons that most merchants shy away from cross border ecommerce, missing out on the vast market size in the bargain.

Selling Overseas with Online Marketplaces

An easy way out of most of the issues mentioned above is selling overseas through online marketplaces. This is good news especially for Indian sellers because of the recent efforts by companies like Amazon India, Alibaba and eBay to localise a move towards allowing sellers to list their products abroad. With an online marketplace, most of the problems regarding listing, shipping and logistics are solved.

Indigenous products like spices, handicrafts and handmade items already have an established overseas market. We have written about the top five online marketplaces that let you sell abroad before. Countries like China are already taking an active interest in the economic power of cross border ecommerce and crafting policy to reflect it.

To know more about cross border ecommerce, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading e-commerce solutions experts, and we are always happy to help!

Working capital assistance from online marketplaces: What are your options?

The Indian online marketplace has become a battleground for some big names. With e-retail and m-retail growing at an astounding rate, the Indian e-commerce industry is all set to hit the $100 billion mark by 2020. A few names stand out with respect to online retail, in terms of their sheer market size and growth rate. These are Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. According to a 2014 report by Morgan-Stanley, these three players have shot ahead of the competition. In 2014, Flipkart led with a whopping 44% market share, Snapdeal followed with 32% while Amazon was at number 3 with a 15% market share.

Naturally, these three players are doing everything within their power to one-up each other in the market. This might be some mildly interesting Twitter banter between Flipkart and Amazon, or the coinciding sales that these companies partake in (case in point, the upcoming Amazon sale from 10th to 12th August and the Snapdeal sale from 10th to 16th.) One more area where these three are heavily competing is capital financing for their sellers. Since this is a really important issue for most sellers who subscribe on these marketplaces, we are dedicating this article towards discussing the nuances of the capital financing plans offered by these three.

Flipkart Vs Amazon Vs Snapdeal: Capital Financing

Let us first understand the importance of capital financing. One of the biggest advantages of online retail is the low working capital required to start up. Although this might be true, a seller might be in need of capital to expand their business as they grow. Capital financing is a good way for online marketplaces to assist sellers in business expansion. Each of our three competitors offers comprehensive capital financing plans. Let us look at them individually.

Flipkart

Flipkart has partnered with five financial institutions including Axis Bank, Capital Float, LendingKart and Bajaj Finserv Ltd. to offer financing services to its sellers. Sellers can get loans of amounts starting from Rs. 1 Lakhs to Rs. 2 Crore. The interest rates for the loans are between 11.99% and 12.99% and do not require sellers to put up collaterals. Although all sellers can apply for a loan through this service, Flipkart will choose which sellers to award the loans to. These are line of credit type loans with a 12-month tenure.

Snapdeal

Snapdeal managed to raise over Rs.50 crore through its Capital Assist program. To do this, they have partnered with over 12 banks and NBFCs including Axis Bank, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Religare and L&T Finance. Snapdeal has clearly defined eligibility criteria and selection procedures for its sellers, although applications are open for all sellers.  Tying up with Tata Capital, Snapdeal offers loans starting from Rs.5 Lakhs to Rs.2 Crore at competitive rates and flexible tenures.

Amazon India

Amazon has also recognized that credit is the key factor when it comes to the Indian market. Recently, it introduced its loan program for sellers in 8 countries including India. These short-term working capital loans are offered to selected sellers on an invite-only basis. Amazon cites the high failure rate of small businesses in India and China as the reason behind this strategy. The loans will range from $1,000 to $600,000 (Rs.64, 000 to Rs. 3.8 Crore approximately) and will be offered for a tenure of six months. Amazon plans to make money through the interest on the loans and sale commissions.

This is what we have on capital funding for sellers. To know more, get in touch with Browntape. We are always happy to help!

Top 5 Online Marketplaces in India compared

If you’re looking to get into online retail, subscribing to an online marketplace is arguably the quickest way to do so. The market for online retail in India has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few years. In fact, this Nasscom report says that the Indian e-commerce industry will touch the $100 billion figure by 2020. It is no wonder that there are innumerable online marketplaces for a retailer to choose from. There are online megamalls that let you sell virtually anything under the sun, and there are niche marketplaces like this one that lets you sell only socks. Each marketplace has its own pros and cons, and in this post we are going to compare the top 5 largest marketplaces in India.

Every retailer has a basic set of queries before subscribing to a marketplace. In fact, we have written about the things you need to consider before subscribing to a marketplace right here. There’s subscription fees, packaging and logistics support, payout periods, popular product categories, size of the marketplace, competition, etc. Here, we’ve done a hands on comparison between Flipkart, Amazon, eBay, Snapdeal and ShopClues. These five online sales channels eat up a lion’s share of the Indian online retail market. So let’s see how they match up against each other.

Indian Online Marketplaces: A Head-to-Head Comparison

  • Basic Comparison

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Although eBay is the oldest player in the Indian market among the ones that we are looking at, it is Flipkart and Amazon that are the most popular marketplaces in terms of the number of sellers. A common trend can be seen while analyzing the most popular product categories – apparel, footwear, mobile and consumer electronics seem to be the most sought after products in the Indian marketplace.

  • Pricing

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Flipkart, Snapdeal and Shopclues do not ask for subscription, listing or payment gateway fees. While eBay looks expensive as compared to its competitors, it makes up for this by offering really low commission rates on sales.

  • Logistics

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All the marketplaces that we are considering offer shipping assistance, although only Amazon and eBay allow self-shipping. While Flipkart does not offer packaging assistance, its shipping charges are slightly lower than the rest of the competition.

  • Miscellaneous

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Flipkart seems to be running the game when it comes to social media presence an m-commerce. With m-commerce slated to be the future of online retail in India, these numbers become extremely important.

To know more about these online sales channels or in case of any other query, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading e-commerce solutions experts, and we are always happy to help!

How to Choose the Right Marketplace for Your Products

Once you decide that you want to sell online, the first question that you have to answer is where. There are a lot of options. You can either go for one or more of the innumerable sales channels that make up the online retail horizon, or fly solo and open up your own online store. Also, if you do go for the sales channels option, which ones do you subscribe to? And how many of them? These are tough decisions, and we are here to help you with them.

Let’s understand first what an online marketplace offers you. An online marketplace is your virtual store – your customers will be able to browse through your products here and make purchases. What online sales channels do is they assist you in this process in the following ways –

  1. They let you create product catalogs and list them on their virtual real estate
  2. They provide you with a customer base
  3. They act as middlemen during the transaction
  4. They assist you with the logistics part of the process

In return, they take a certain percentage commission from each sale. You also have to adhere to their rules and policies, and they have the power to penalise you if you don’t. Essentially, the store might be yours, but it’s their mall. As opposed to this, having your own online store gives you back your sovereignty in the virtual world. Let us look at the pros and cons a little more deeply.

How to Choose Where to Sell Online

  • Analyze Your Product

If you are just a retailer, it does not make much sense for you to open your own online store, especially in popular product categories like electronics and apparel. These are high volume markets, with a massive demand and a supply that just barely matches it. As opposed to that, if you are a manufacturer too, or are selling a niche product, you can really develop your brand from ground up in the online world. Subscribe to a marketplace which is popular for selling products in your category.

  • Logistics Support

Think about logistics before subscribing to marketplaces. If a particular sales channel is inept in providing logistical assistance around the area where your warehouses are situated, you will be in a tight spot. If you plan to start your own marketplace, study logistics providers carefully. We have already written extensively about logistics providers here and here.

  • Marketplace Popularity

Sales channels like Amazon and Flipkart are pretty much synonymous to online retail in today’s market. The top few sales channels generally are the consumers’ first choice when it comes to shopping online. Subscribing with one or more of them means you get access to that big a customer base. Having your own online store means starting from scratch.

  • Competition

The other side of the coin is the immense competition that one finds on these huge online sales channels. There are multiple sellers jostling together for the same product, differentiated only by little things like product descriptions, photographs and seller ratings. It sure is a tough market.

  • Brand Image

Subscribing to an online sales channel doesn’t give you much room in terms of growth. Here, people don’t buy products from ‘seller123’; they buy products from Flipkart or Amazon. You are reduced to a nameless provisioner. This is bad because this way, you cannot grow your brand image. On the other hand, on a dedicated store, you can carefully tailor your brand image by harnessing the power of social media. Amazon recently started allowing sellers to use their dedicated website to funnel transactions through their Amazon accounts. This way, you get all the benefits of subscribing to an online store while preserving your brand image.

  • Subscription Cost

Different sales channels have different subscription costs and commission plans. In return, they also offer different essential and optional services. It is better to shortlist a few channels and then carefully go through their specific plans to choose the ones that you want to go for.

For any more information about sales channels and online retail in general, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading e-commerce solutions experts, and we are always happy to help!

Tier 2, 3 Cities as Potential Markets for Online Retail

India’s online retail market can be subdivided into two parts in terms of the geography – the so called tier 1 cities, which include the metropolises and the highly developed industrial and cultural hubs and the tier 2 and 3 cities which include the so called developing regions around the country.

The disparity between these two parts is pretty blatant – tier 1 cities are prioritized in terms of most amenities, they are valued more within a state since they contribute more to the economy and thus they also tend to be more glamorous. In fact, until recently it was thought that the online retail business wouldn’t have much support outside the tier 1 cities. Turns out this is a gross misconception. Although it is true that the online retail business has a huge market in tier 1 cities, the contribution of tier 2 and 3 cities can scarcely be ignored.

Why Should You Focus on Tier 2, 3 Cities for Online Retail?

  • United They Stand

As of the 2011 census, there are 8 tier 1 cities in India – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. As compared to these, there are as many as 3,133 tier 2 and 3 cities and more than 1,233 rural hubs. While one third of India’s 1.2 billion population lives in tier 1 through 4 cities, only 8% of these reside in tier 1 cities. This means that, an online seller cannot ignore the combined volume of the more than 4,500 cities and hubs that make up the rest of India.

  • Mobile Power

Mobile technology is revolutionizing the tier 2 and 3 markets, according to this Forrester report. Half the shoppers in tier 3 cities are already on mobile, as compared to the one third from tier 1 cities. Cheaper smartphone technology and the growing range of connectivity in Indian towns seem to be the root cause of these figures, and an online retailer must not ignore them. In fact, the m-commerce market in India is slated to reach $19 billion by 2019.

  • Women are the Dominant Force

The same Forrester report further asserts that women are the driving force in tier 2 and 3 online retail markets. In fact, they spend more than twice as much money online as men from the same geographical markets do. This is an important piece of information for online retailers to consider while building a sales and marketing strategy.

  • Indian Online Retail Market Geography

According to this Accel Report, the top three markets for online retail in India are –

  1. Delhi-NCR
  2. Karnataka
  3. Maharashtra

Similarly, the markets with very little e-commerce presence are –

  1. Bihar
  2. Uttarakhand
  3. Chhattisgarh
  • New Buyers

In 2011, the cities of Pune and Ahmedabad were upgraded to receive the tier 1 status. As more and more cities develop, their markets will grow. In fact, many tier 2 and 3 cities are growing at an unprecedented rate. It has been estimated that 70% people from tier 1 and 2 cities who do not currently make online purchases will do so in the next 12 months. As services like internet become more and more available to newer areas around India, tier 2 and 3 markets – unsaturated by over competition and having room to breathe, are the real markets to watch out for.

To know more about tier 2 and 3 markets, or in case of queries, get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s leading e-commerce solution experts and we are always happy to help!