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Selling A Product Is Dhandha And Treat It The Desi Way: Abhishek Ranjan

In conversation with Abhishek Ranjan, Founder, We Source, who talks about his unique business idea and his way forward.

Tags: We Source, Startup, e-tailing, FDDI, Footwear Design & Development Institute, Not Available, trading industry, B2B, Home & Kitchen product

BY Zarafshan Shiraz  |  November 13, 2017  |  comments ( 0 )  | 

Abhishek Ranjan

With start-ups pouring into e-commerce business like never before, the fight to make it stand apart from the rest and keep the business original in the face of cut throat competition is heightening. In a casual chit-chat with Abhishek Ranjan, founder of We Source, Zarafshan Shiraz finds out what new does he bring into e-tailing and what feeds his pulse of originality in business.

How and when was the idea behind this incepted?
In the words of Sam Walton (Founder of Walmart) – “Maybe I was born to be a merchant, maybe it was fate. I don’t know about that. But I know this for sure, I loved retail from the very beginning.”  I am a hardcore retail guy and even had my education in Retail Management from FDDI (Footwear Design & Development Institute), Noida. While working for 3 companies in 7 years I got fair experience of all channels of retail from a vendor perspective and then as a Buyer/Category Head managing categories and their P&L, so this sourcing is something I call my passion. While attending various national and international trade fairs and studying about Costco and its business model, I got this business idea, and as a result of which in July 2016 “We Source” started and I registered a brand in the name of “Not Available”

What were the challenges faced and lessons learnt?
The first challenge was to decide whether to pursue own business, leaving a very well-paid job and then convincing parents, because not only emotional quotient rather rational factors needs to be taken into account.  But I always believe we need to get out of our comfort zone, grow our wings and chase our dreams, with continuous effort and strong dedication & determination. Money was, and I would say still is a concern but my family and friends have been supportive enough to help me sail through the tides. With limited resource at disposal I have picked up cartons and loaded/unloaded trucks as well and went myself to deliver at client location.

Lessons learnt are too many, and the most important learning is keep your basics strong. Second don’t infuse too many processes and system, selling a product is a dhandha and treat it the desi way. Be good at observing things around yourself, consider your work as your baby and nurture it.

What originality do you bring with this in the trading and sourcing industry?
Our idea is based on principles of how Costco works and we want to bring the best utility driven products in the market at the best possible prices. I still consider myself a Buyer and I mean “A Buyer is version 2.0 of a consumer” so we need to think from a consumer’s perspective first. You will see each of my products being used in my family because unless we are not sure about the product we will not offer it ahead, because I believe that it will be flagrantly dishonest for me to sell a product which I will not allow my own family to buy.  I use all my learning and skill sets in creating a value model. There is a saying “If beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder, then value lies in the mind of the consumer.” I also need to add – It’s not just your clothes or footwear which is statement of your personality , the products you use too defines  you, so why restrict yourself to boring stuffs, when utility is ready to turn awesome and cool. We just don’t want to sell products, rather we want to build relations, make stories and create magic with our product offerings. This will suffice the motto of our brand “Not Available” that the products and at the prices at which we are available, it’s not available anywhere else.

What's your product offering? On what criteria do you select the products for your B2B?
Basically we deal in more of Home & Kitchen products and few products like wine bottle umbrella, laptop bag or any such product which will be need based and also a sense of styling will be added in the line.

Criteria for products to qualify for B2B are, it should have mass appeal and customer centric, something which you see and a sense of need develops or something from your need you see and a wow factors sets in. Matching the expectations in terms of price is a big gap to fill. So ‘We Source’ tries to create a synergy between Need, Want and Influence for purchase to happen.

Who is your target audience?
The target market of ‘We Source” is middle class and upper middle class, but we will be looking forward to penetrate lower middle class as that is a huge potential market. Second, tier 2 and tier 3 cities are something on my mind because I want to bring them on same level of product selection like a tier 1 city’s customer.

What is your pricing strategy for the products you offer?
Pricing is crucial for any part of the world, discounts, low price lure every customers irrespective of social strata, ethnicity or country. So based on cost-value gap, and as stated earlier my pricing will be like, “Seriously is this the price you are saying? wow! I expected it to be more.” So price should justify the offering and customer should feel that it’s a deal worth to steal.

What sets you apart in the retail market?
If you ask our stakeholders be it the modern retail clients or even people who buy from us and sell on various e-commerce portals, one thing they will all reiterate is quality is one factor you should be assured of while dealing with ‘We Source’. Secondly I prefer playing on an open costing and even advise our channel partners on what price they should charge from end customer, not just this, even I am personally involved with such stakeholders and monitor the sales and customer response, because I feel bigger responsibility starts with the sale of the product.

How do you intend to power your growth in future?
The business that I have ventured into requires more investments to give it the dimensions I have envisaged for it. I intend to raise further capital and infuse into this venture as we tread on our path of fulfilling the dreams we have set out to achieve.

We are planning to venture into general trade and appoint distributors in UP and Bihar to begin with and also open stores as an extension to our plans. I will sum up with the famous words of Robert Frost

“I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”

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