We got more than 500 B2B online orders worth Rs 1 million in the first three months of switching to Zoho. There are now more than 5,000 customers on board and more than 2,000 active customers regularly placing order with us. In the last year, we have been consistently adding around 300 new online users every month. We are now able to automate workflows, which we had never done before, which is bringing efficiency and productivity to our system. With this combination of ZohoOne and Zoho Commerce, I am now able to think of going global.
- Sushil Sharma
Since 2001, Sushil Sharma, the founder of New Delhi-based PartsBaba, has been in the business of IT hardware components. Way back in 2003, he made a foray into ecommerce, but it did not take off. He resumed his usual offline business, but by 2015, it was at the brink of closure. A discussion with his friend gave Sushil a revelation.
“With a population of 1.3 billion, the market is huge in India, and we just need to facilitate the consumption," Sushil says. "We started a marketplace on Magento but realized after six months that the game was bigger than we thought.”
The foray into ecommerce was not a smooth one. Sushil built over five websites, one after the other, and each time, he had to start from scratch.
“We did not have the money required to keep them going," Sushil says. "We then built an ecommerce portal on Magento itself but it didn’t work for me. I then tried Wordpress, X-Cart, StoreHippo, and Shopify. With each migration, I lost data. For accounting purposes, we used Tally. We had multiple warehouses. We were unable to find a solution which could help us manage the inventory of our offline and online business and also give access to our partners for online pricing. It didn't seem possible to scale up at this rate. I was a non-techie and was on the lookout for something better.”
In April 2020, Sushil came across Zoho. He was elated to see that he could go live with his store in just three days.
“We were struggling to find a solution like Zoho," Sushil says. "We have multiple warehouses, but with Zoho, we can manage our inventory, not only offline, but also on the ecommerce platform. Also, with online presence, we can apply differential pricing for our products in different warehouses.”
Sushil saw quick improvements in his business in the first few months after changing platforms.
“We got more than 500 B2B online orders worth Rs 1 million in the first three months of switching to Zoho. There are now more than 5,000 customers on board and more than 2000 active customers regularly placing order with us. In the last one year, we have been consistently adding around 300 new online users every month. We were now able to automate workflows, which we had never done before, which is bringing efficiency and productivity to our system
Globally, the computer hardware market made a quick rebound from the initial dip after the pandemic broke out. Revenue from the sale of computer hardware was estimated at around $850 billion USD in 2020, which was a significant decline from 2019. The figures are expected to shoot up to $950 billion USD in 2021.
In 2020-21, despite the lockdown, PartsBaba grew by 20% and are on course to grow by approximately 25% this year. They even hope to double those figures next year. Sushil cites several reasons for the boost they saw in their business after the pandemic.
“People have been working from home and kids are attending online classes, which means an average household now has three or four laptops or mobile phones," he says. "They even have a printer now, which was not the case a year back. Their IT requirements have grown at home, and so have the requirements of these products to be serviced."
Benefits and ROI
By using the Zoho Inventory price list and activating the partner portal, PartsBaba's partners can now access special pricing with inventory access, which has increased repeat purchase from the partners.
“But the interesting part is that we have used only 10 per cent of the products in the basket of Zoho One," Sushil says. "We still have to put CRM and Connect to proper use. There are a lot of good things waiting to happen. Also, earlier, we did a lot of our business on credit. But today, with our customers growing, thanks to our online presence, we are receiving payments in advance, which means we can use our cash in an optimized manner.”
PartsBaba has also started exploring social media to expand their business in the last few months.
“We have around 17,500 subscribers on Youtube, and we are going to run campaigns along the themes of ‘Vocal for Local' and ‘Make in India’ and will focus on digital marketing," Sushil says. "At the end of the day, we want to ensure that people who deal with us are making money in their business as well."
Today, PartsBaba is primarily in the B2B segment, though they're still in the B2C segment with select products such as toner cartridges and IT accessories. Sushil wants to create a hybrid model with both online and offline businesses, where the process is automated as they keep evolving and bringing new opportunities with minimal operational cost.
“We also have an in-house brand called Yonkx," he says. "For products under our brand, we will be directly dealing with partners across India without having distributors and dealers. We can put the same partner network to use for other brands, creating new opportunities for our partners.”
PartsBaba has plans to ride the global wave of growth in the computer hardware market and build a dense network of partners across India. Even as they eye expansion within the country, enquiries have started coming from across the globe, and they are in talks for funding. Sushil expects to increase his customer base to 10,000 by March 2022. He aspires to make PartsBaba the backbone of the hardware service industry in India.
“Availability and accessibility are two vital components in our industry," Sushil says. "Our USP is that we will not only make the IT parts available, but will also provide online technical solutions using the Zoho TrainerCentral app, which will help us create skill-based technical manpower as per industry parameters. We are hoping that the PartsBaba partner family grows to over 25,000 partners globally by 2025, which will help us to push the Make in India products globally."
Sushil lays down this plan with a great deal of confidence.
“We are shrewd marketers," he says. "Lead generation is not tough for us. We can pitch any product and have the zeal to achieve any number.”
As he eyes the opportunities abroad, Sushil strongly feels that the conventional way of working will not last long; one will need to switch to an online model or hybrid model to sustain and scale up the business.
"Even your neighborhood grocer will have to adapt to online options to sustain his business. But implementing a hybrid model is not as easy as it seems. The more you expand, you will need tools like CRM, Sales IQ, and analytics. It is not just about a website—it is the whole mode of working, vision, and implementation that matter."