Ramakrishna Math uses Zoho Commerce to reach new-age readers

People are increasingly supportive of local businesses today. So even when they buy online, they want to buy it from the online store of a local business. The interest shown by people in our ecommerce store is proof of that. 

- Web Admin, Ramakrishna Math

The Organization

Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission are non-political, non-sectarian spiritual organizations run by monastics. They have been engaged in various forms of humanitarian and social service activities for more than a century across the world. The twin organizations offer philanthropic services in the fields of disaster/pandemic relief, rural welfare, medicine, and education through 220+ branch centers in India and abroad.

The Challenge

In 1998, Ramakrishna Math started its first website, and a few years later, it built an online bookstore using HTML/ASP. Over the years, the transition happened by designing websites using CMS tools such as Joomla and Wordpress. Servers were set up and they were also installing and managing site themes and plugins. “As the number of plugins increased across CMS due to increasing requirements,” says Web Admin, a monk of Ramakrishna Math, “we found that we spent at least 60% of our time in non-content areas such as website security, performance, and theme/plugin updates. The sheer number of plugins was a nightmare, and it became impossible to maintain them after a point.”

Solution and Benefits

The reduction in personnel during the pandemic brought various difficulties in maintaining their existing online bookstore. They decided to switch from a CMS platform to SaaS platform, and Zoho Commerce seemed to be a promising solution because of the integration of multiple apps (Desk, Sales IQ, Invoice, Inventory) with Zoho Commerce.

"Initially, Zoho Commerce had only met 50% of our requirements derived from the implementation of our online store using CMS platforms," says Web Admin. "We had an online meeting with the Commerce team and told them what exactly we wanted to adopt the Zoho Commerce platform. The Zoho team delivered 90% of our requirements within a year. Today, our maintenance efforts are nil, and the support has been great from the Zoho team."

He believes customer expectations have risen when it comes to an ecommerce store in the last few years. "The end-to-end processes have to be automated when you run an online store as people expect high levels of efficiency when it comes to aspects like receiving regular tracking updates from packing until delivery. Automation is important while running an online store, and we started using Zoho Desk and Sales IQ to complement ours."

Looking Ahead

While the ebooks store has gained significance over the years, Ramakrishna Math is giving equal importance to the physical book stores as well. They also plan to implement audiobooks using various other Zoho apps and then integrating them with the Commerce platform.

There is another reason an online store is important in today's world for an organization. Ironic as it may sound, with increased globalization, people are conscious of supporting homegrown businesses rather than buying from bigger marketplaces. "People are also increasingly supportive of local businesses," says Web Admin. "So even when they buy online, they want to buy it from the online store of a local business. The interest shown by people in our ecommerce store is proof of that."

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