April 16, 2021
The CBS Post

THE VOICE OF CBS

Nishant Mohan’s Journey to Indian Verse

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Back in March, the nation started a war with the global pandemic COVID-19. I was wandering around search engine sites to find some courses for enhancing my skill, but soon I realized that the lockdown will go long and it’s the best time to work on my side hustles. I started exploring some trending jobs in the digital world, saw some ads for business courses on how to make money and build a brand and got inclined to the e-commerce world. 

“Who is selling on Amazon?”

“Why are customers getting products at cheaper prices?”

 All these questions started making me explore over Google. It is said that self-study is the best learning and that’s what I started doing. 

After months of research and study, I finally started my first e-commerce store which was launched in the US, targeting markets of US, Canada and Europe. I approached suppliers who were ready to ship my product. 

The most important part of any business is marketing the product, reaching potential customers, making customers realise the utility of the product. For this, we started advertising using Google ads and FB ads. We started getting sales and sold our first product at $39.99 which was available easily on Amazon and Walmart at $15.99. This showed us that anything can be sold here given the right product is shown to the right customer at the right time. 

However, the advertising costs in the international market were very high and my store wasn’t able to break-even despite a workable business model. Finally, my first store failed in June. I tried two more websites in other countries but I was operating there in losses too. I decided to opt out of the international market.

I approached many entrepreneurs, business developers and marketing agencies to learn and evaluate what was going wrong with my store. I had already lost hundreds of dollars. Many people suggested that I start it in the Indian market. Marketing fees are lower as compared to Big 4 countries and conversion is easily available since  I can offer my customers a ‘Cash on Delivery’ option which results in 88% of total Indian orders made online. 

In July, I reconstructed my ecom store with new products that were problem-solvers, not easily available and with high perceived value. This time I was left with 10k bucks as I had already lost a lot in international markets. Because of limited capital to invest here, I started with a single product store. I branded my store as a niche one that was untapped and underrated. 

Within 5 days, I made Rs. 65,000 in sales but soon I was forced to stop advertising because the product was out of stock and wasn’t even available with the manufacturers. This is a common phenomenon in India: product availability, RTO rates and fake orders will always disturb you. I continued with ups and downs and finally crossed Rs. 1 Lakh in sales by last week of August. Right now I have two stores running which have generated approx Rs. 1.83 Lakhs in sales. Probably not a huge achievement. But for me, being a student, learning each and everything on my own and making my 10k bucks to give ROAS of 15x was a huge deal. Proper marketing, advertising and web designing plays a very important role in E-commerce, especially when you want to convince customers to buy from you rather than going to Amazon and Flipkart. I was the happiest person since I managed all departments on my own. I failed several times but didn’t give up and that’s what is required when you want to try entrepreneurship. 

Right now I am working towards breaking-even but also looking to expand my venture and re-enter the Big 4’s international market. E-Commerce is full of opportunities and I guess we all have seen its utility during the lockdown. I lack investment as of now and looking for some incubation support. I’m pretty sure that I shall be able to raise some funds for my model. 

This experience did not just help me in the monetary aspect of it but also with respect to the knowledge that I gained. I’m sure all this will help me a lot in whatever I do in the field of Marketing and Business Development.

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