Online trade has established a flourishing marketplace in India. With online platforms offering high-end electronic gadgets to the basic everyday groceries delivered at your doorstep, the offline retail trade has seen a significant setback with traditional retail contributing to only 9%, whereas e-commerce contributing to 88% of sector composition according to segmental share estimates for FY’17 by IBEF.
Yashraj Bhatia, a Delhi University graduate, is set to change the offline retail game with his startup Bajar, a platform for retailers in the offline markets. Bajar offers retailers the ability to showcase their products on the online markets with all its comforts and benefits, but rather than promoting e-commerce, they purchase the available items from their nearest local trader. The firm aims at creating a retailer-centric platform rather than a product-centric platform. ac
Creation of the retailer-centric platform
Bhatia, while going to a seldom-visited mall, realized that the people are often ill-equipped to know what the shops around them are selling. They usually depend on word of mouth for suggestions and answers to questions like “Hey, where can I buy furniture?” “Do you know someone who sells Laptops?” “Is this retailer any good?” from friends and family.
In January 2019, Bhatia sketched out the entire app and the screens on his iPad and began scouting for developers to turn his dream into a reality.
The biggest hurdle faced by the firm was to explain the new concept to retailers as well as end-users. He believes people usually take time to adapt to new changes, and the idea will take some time to settle amongst its users.
On asking Yashraj, what, according to him, was the first milestone for the company, he said,
“The first 100 retailers felt so great.. for a day. Only to set the target to 1000.”
Currently, the firm has over 4,000 retailers listed on their app from the major markets of New Delhi, including Rajouri Garden, Kirti Nagar, South Extension, Model Town, Connaught Place, Karol Bagh, etc. ranging from big, small, chains as well as standalone stores. The firm has over 3,500 registered users, growing by 100s every day. The users are split between Android (65%) and iOS (35%).
Bhatia visions Bajar to be the top name in shopping in the future and wants to solve the fundamental consumer-retailer question-answer problems. Expansion into a selling platform would empower the retailers, while each locality would have its market catering to the residents/visitors. Bajar aims at localizing the needs of its consumers and retailers. For example, if a customer from West Delhi wants to buy a new phone, through Bajar, they buy it from a retailer in West Delhi, rather than sending that order through a platform to a seller in, say, Bangalore.