Question (Q): Tell us something about your entrepreneurship journey? And the challenges that you faced while starting 'Greenrock'?
Manas Chugh (MC): After completing my education I had been handling Operations and delivery for a number of companies when my friend Chetan came up with the idea of starting a venture catered to fan-art merchandise. The official merchandise available was too expensive and rest were most of it on roadside stall. Being a Movie and Superhero fan I liked the idea and decided to go with it.
Q: How different is 'Greenrock' e-commerce model from the other e-commerce ventures in India?
Manas: The foremost difference is that we are not a marketplace model . We make our own products and sell them. Also we can list ourselves on other sites as a seller. Along with that we are planning to introduce commission based model for amateur and freelancer designers where we will upload their designs, put it on pre-order and print the number of pieces ordered. That way we are promoting new talent and also minimizing our risk .
Q: How do you get these funky and out-of-the-box ideas? Do you have a separate designing team for this?
Manas: Most of them have come out of personal observation. We have seen almost all the series and cult movies. We have a team of designers who themselves are TV series junkies, we usually watch the series ourselves, discuss various quotes, twist them and then tell our designers to make them look funky. We also take inputs from our friends who are sports buff or movie buffs. Initially we faced some problem with what designs would appeal to audience but now have a fair idea by hit and trial experiments.
Q: You have said that, you customize the product according to the customers need. So, how you manage to do so?
Manas: Customization happens in bulk orders. We take orders from corporates, schools, colleges, groups who want a particular design in all their t-shirts or hoodies. We help them in designing and then according to the size specifications given by them print those many items. The minimum order required for this is 10 pieces. We have made customized tees and hoodies for Hindu, Venky, SRCC , DU Beat and various societies of colleges.
Q: Do you also cater to demands from abroad? If not, are there any expansion plans to reach out to overseas market?
Manas: We do send products abroad but at the shipping charges have to be borne by the customer. Then it makes sense only if the number of pieces is high as then the shipping costs divide. We advise this to all the queries we get from abroad.
Q: How do you see the future of online retailing in India?
Manas: E-commerce is here to stay. Online retailing is in the booming stage currently and I see that it will grow at least for next ten years. The recent funding of Flipkart is an example. As the computer literacy and proficiency will increase similarly there will be a rise in e-commerce sector. Online shopping saves your time and gives you the ease of choosing from various kinds of products. Perishable products like fruits and vegetables are being sold online, this shows that how far we have come in online retailing.
Q: Do you think the e-commerce industry is saturating with more players coming in?
Manas: Not at all, the market is huge and there are all kinds of customers. Moreover the players coming in are not selling the same product. The huge population of the country is serving as a big hunting ground. Online industry is just an extended arm of offline industry and since we have so many players selling offline the similar strategy can be applied to online as well.
Q: In your opinion what are the major challenges in the way of e-commerce industry?
Manas: I think the biggest challenge is reaching out to the right kind of audience. Also delivery and customer relationship management are the areas which provide major challenges. Since e-commerce is in nascent stage in this country so people are not aware of what would work or what not eg. nobody would have thought that PCO's would become extinct. So one needs to be updated with time and industry changes and change oneself accordingly.