Swati Jindal, Co-founder and COO, EasyEcom

Prasanth Menon, IIFL | Mumbai | November 30, 2016 17:06 IST

"We see a steady growth over the next few months and e-commerce should be able to at least cater to a big portion of total retail sales in the next few years."

Swati Jindal, Co-founder and COO, EasyEcom, is a passionate entrepreneur who ensures every single customer requirement is addressed adequately. Jindal  is a doctor by qualification and entrepreneur by passion. She started her entrepreneurial journey with FabHealth, a consumer focused marketplace for healthcare services. Swati Jindal co-founded EasyEcom in early 2014 and has been leading the company from the front to greater heights every day.

EasyEcom is ERP software for online sellers, that provides seamless Payment and Returns reconciliation tool in addition to centralized inventory management, omni channel order processing and multi warehouse management to address these pain points of online sellers. EasyEcom’s core team has highly motivated members having strong technology background coupled with extensive entrepreneurship experience to solve the technology problems for SMEs. Transacting orders at a run rate of over $ 200 million per year on multiple marketplaces, their proprietary technology has helped hundreds of sellers in across India to scale their business manifolds in a short span of time. EasyEcom provides state of art inventory and warehouse management solutions with turnkey integrations with various marketplaces as well as various storefront providers integrations. Company is well positioned to upgrade the SMEs to make them more competitive and at par with their global counterparts.

EasyEcom was started in early 2014 and is integrated with the biggest players in the eCommerce industry: Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, Myntra, Jabong etc. and is growing rapidly to capture major brands and key SMEs.
Replying to Prasanth Menon of IIFL, Swati Jindal, Co-Founder and COO, EasyEcom said, "We see a steady growth over the next few months and e-commerce should be able to at least cater to a big portion of total retail sales in the next few years."
What has been the impact of demonetisation following the announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discontinue old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes?
After the announcement of demonetisation few weeks back, Cash on Delivery was halted across the entire e-commerce industry. Overnight orders were cancelled by consumers after they learned old currency won’t be accepted anymore. Many more orders could not be delivered due to this. However it came as a blessing in disguise for everyone involved. Traditionally, return ratios are high for COD orders. Orders did slow down for a few days; however the trend is already showing healthy progress that too in prepaid orders. That’s a huge advantage for the overall e-commerce industry. As the country moves towards a cashless economy, the cancellation and return rates for online shopping will go down. This is a huge positive. However in the short term, definitely the orders are impacted and volume has gone down. However, that's just a short term trend, the long term picture looks much better.
Post the launch of Digital India initiative, how has the business scenario changed in the country?
Digital India is a welcome change in the traditional business scenario in India. Now starting a company can be done much faster with monthly/quarterly filings all done online. That cuts out middle men and saves a lot of time and energy. It also brings transparency into the system and paves the way for hard working honest businessmen to thrive. Legal requirements for compliance while selling online is still unclear in a lot of areas, we are hoping those get cleared as we move along in the digital India initiative and when GST gets rolled out.
Gartner says that none of the digital commerce companies in India are profitable, mainly owing to huge discounts offered by these platforms. What measures do you have in place to mitigate such revenue impact?
Being profitable and having healthy cash flow in the business is a must for any company to survive in the long run. However many entrepreneurs and investors get into the rat race and forget the basics of business. Consequences of that are evident in the past few quarters when we have seen so many ultra-funded companies without basics figured out, shutting down. Giving a discount itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s one of the proven ways to attract customers. As long as unit economics are sound and long term customer value is meaningful, giving discount to acquire customers early on isn’t going to hurt. However, that policy isn’t followed all the time, especially when the investors start pushing entrepreneurs early in the business to “grow at any cost”. We have been lucky to have investors who understand the B2B market and have been instrumental in shaping our approach to keep our focus on key business metrics.
There is an emerging trend of online sellers shifting out of large e-commerce portals/sites to set up their own online platforms in India. Can you share your views on this. Also, do you consider these as viable business ventures or models?
Any brand needs to have a complete online strategy. Selling though large e-commerce portals such as Amazon, Flipkart is necessary to maintain the brand name. However it's not a very profitable exercise due to sheer competition and discount driven strategy adopted by these portals. On top of that, expenses such as commission, payment gateway charges, and various penalties have made it difficult to have larger margins for various brands, especially those which have traditionally been low margin. Hence every brand must have their own storefronts. Marketing for own storefronts can be expensive and brands need to get creative in utilizing their existing brand value and reach to drive traffic.
Concerns about data and information security remain a barrier to online shopping. What has been your experience while dealing with retailers?
Security is always a concern for any kind of online transaction. Financial transactions are even more prone to fraud just due to its intrinsic nature. However the technological landscape has evolved a lot to take care of basic to medium security. E-commerce companies have innovated by adopting the Cash on delivery and no questions asked return policies. That decreases the margins for the entire food chain in e-commerce. Retailers are the tail end of the chain and hence suffer the most by getting charged excessive commissions, incorrect shipping costs, bearing penalties for unnecessary returns etc. Lately retailers and online sellers have learned how to price these things to have an overall profitability. EasyEcom provides sellers tools to manage their business to improve the profit margin.
In recent times, e-commerce fraud has increased rapidly. What has been your firm’s approach in handling online frauds?
Fraud is an ongoing problem with e-commerce. It hurts all the parties involved in the game. It hurts the consumer as the e-commerce companies tend to stop deliveries to problematic areas. See the case with UP and Bihar, you cannot get anything delivered worth more than Rs 5000. It adversely affects the sellers as well, especially the ones selling expensive products such as mobile phones. EasyEcom provides a comprehensive tracking mechanism to sellers to tackle these cases. The platform enables sellers to capture the weight of the package, so that it can be compared if the package is returned and fraud is detected. Also, EasyEcom returns handling module offers an elaborate mechanism to handle frauds and filing claims for it. So the seller doesn’t have to bear the brunt of it.
In order to grow the e-commerce business, merchants and payment providers will need to work together to find a solution. How would you define your role in this ecosystem?
Merchants are the most important piece of the e-commerce puzzle after consumers. EasyEcom provides a complete end to end solution for merchants to run their online business. It includes inventory and warehouse management, automated accounting and reconciliation and readymade integrations with online storefronts and various marketplace channels. Doing all this manually is extremely time-consuming and error prone. Hence with EasyEcom, merchants are able to scale their business to new heights without having to worry about backend management.
Could you please define the journey of EasyEcom. Also, highlight some of the key milestones since inception?
EasyEcom had a modest start in early 2014 in an apartment in Bangalore. We have come a long way since then. We are now serving over thousand clients on a day-to-day basis. The first customer was signed up even before the platform was ready. The first few angel customers guided through our process in building a world class product. The product was launched in the market commercially in early 2015. Slowly we realized that handling payments and reconciling your business was a huge pain point. We launched our payment reconciliation solution in late 2015 and started marketing it. As of now, EasyEcom has helped the seller’s process with more than 5 million orders across categories and geographies. EasyEcom is an unsexy story in today’s startup world because we have growing revenues and are close to breaking even on an ongoing basis. Today’s startup world is filled with stories of millions raised and spent without thinking twice. EasyEcom has been carefully built on solid business principles and has record renewal rate from clients in the industry.
What were the biggest challenges and issues faced during the initial days of inception?
The biggest challenge with building a company ground up is to find quality talent. It’s very difficult to hire people from the market whose expectations are to work in a shiny nice office with beautiful surroundings. We realized this early on and leaned on our personal network to build the initial team. That worked for us. Our first ten employees are all from a closely knit network and that has done wonders for us in terms of growth and company culture.
What are your expansion plans? How are you planning to take this firm forward?
EasyEcom is continuously innovating and gaining popularity every day. We plan to go after the mid to large seller segment and help them in their end to end business management. We aim to have 10,000 paying customers by the end of 2017. Our top-most priority is to satisfy our customers and grow by referral. We have been successful in doing that so far.
In order to grow further, we have put together a dedicated and highly motivated team. We are also setting up a strategic partnership with key players in the market. We feel this will enable us to become one of the biggest B2B solution providers in India and similar such countries in the next few years.
What trends do you foresee in the e-commerce industry for the immediate future?
In the short term, we feel there is obviously a downward slope in the order volume. However we should see a steady growth over the next few months and e-commerce should be able to at least cater to a big portion of total retail sales in the next few years. We are also seeing a few vertical e-commerce initiatives which will become the norm over the next few quarters. India is the next Silicon Valley and we will see new technologies helping the industry grow even further.
What are the financial targets set for FY17?
We are growing 20-25% monthly on an average. That's a solid growth rate given how little we spend on advertising. We are working hard to maintain that growth rate. Currently, we are serving a little over 1,000 clients and our target is to reach 10,000 clients by the end of next year.



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