Imagine procuring all your grocery at the click of a button. It’s exactly what Charles Sasi Paul and Rekha Potluri did when they launched Galaxilocal, an e-supermarket
How convenient would it be to place an order for all your groceries online, have them delivered at your doorstep and all for a discounted price? What’s more this also means avoiding traffic snarls and serpentine queues at billing counters of otherwise busy supermarkets. This convenience is now a reality thanks to Galaxilocal.com, an e-commerce supermarket, that provides services to areas within a 15 kilometre radius around Hitec City and will soon be extended to Secunderabad and other suburbs. The company, a brainchild of Charles Sasi Paul and Rekha Potluri, was launched in January 2012, when the duo quit their well paying IT jobs to start something of their own.
However, the move to quit their stable jobs was not an easy one. Sasi says, “Rekha was a technical architect and I was heading the engineering (product development) team at our company. However, we both wanted to start something of our own. But the decision to quit our jobs, that were not just well paying but also comfortable, was not an easy one. A start-up needs a lot of energy and effort. But we realised that if we didn’t venture out on our own now, it would only get more difficult with time. The ideation process evolved over six months prior to quitting our job.”
Speaking about the business idea itself, Rekha says, “The idea is to give our customers value addition and retain some margins for us. The trade is simple as it does not need huge investment like a manufacturing business. The cash cycle is also much better in a B2C scenario compared to B2B where one gets stuck for months to get bills cleared and reinvest in the company. We can also add value to the business with our technological experience. These factors made us choose this idea and start Galaxilocal.com,” says Rekha.
E-commerce is not just about building an effective website. The duo has put in a lot of effort in building the backend process by talking to suppliers, building warehouse, enabling card payment on delivery, putting up the site on cloud and also to enable effective CRM (to maintain contact details of customers). They have also enabled recording voice calls to ensure faultless delivery.
The 10-employee company is now planning to start small stores in different parts of the City to create an efficient supply chain and also offer services around the City in the next six months. “These will act as connecting hubs for retail stores and also warehouses for us to deliver goods to even remote places in the City. We are also facilitating multi-channel commerce. Although, we have a strong website, 50 per cent of orders are placed on the phone. The service is welcomed by customers who find it difficult to go to a crowded supermarket and negotiating traffic on a precious weekend,” says Sasi.
The discounts are an added attraction. “Our operating costs are lower compared to retail shops. We decided to pass on part of these savings to customers by giving them a 5 to 15 per cent discount on MRPs,” he said.
The company has 70 suppliers for different products. It offers around 5,000 different products and has plans to offer around 20,000 products over time and create an online hypermarket. The company has raised around Rs.2 crore as a seed capital from friends and family and spent around Rs.80 lakh building the business. “We have sufficient funds for the next six months and will only look for more investments after that to take the company to the next level. We aim to get a monthly break-even in the next six months by managing our operating costs with our profits,” says Sasi.
But it’s not just all work for the duo. Sasi loves spending time with his six-year-old daughter and is a voracious reader. Some of his favourite books include Jim Collins’ Built to Last, Good to great and Nandan Nilekani’s Imagining India. Rekha, on the other hand, loves to unwind by painting.