A Fair Chance - A’bad Company to Enable Merchants Fight Large e-tailers

DNA, 31 October, 2015
By Keyur Dhandeo

Ahmedabad: In what could give shop keepers a level playing field against giant e-commerce players, Ahmedabad-based company Cygnet Infotech Private Limited has come out with a mobile app that will put neighbourhood traders at par with multinational e-tailers. Its model will also help businessmen better monetize advertisements in print media.

Its mobile app, ‘M1-order’, available for Android, iOS and Windows operating systems, is like an online supermarket with players in food, kirana, medicine, stationary, fashion and maintenance and support amongst a host of other segments. The consumer can select a sector, then the merchant, and finally items to place an order. The items will either be delivered at home or the buyer has an option to pick up the goods.

Unlike giant e-tailers, customers here will have a familiarity with the merchant, who in turn will have an additional option to the buyer. “All e-commerce companies focus on consumers. We focus on merchants. Instead of disrupting their business, we will disrupt the way they engage their loyal customers, which are now drawn to large e-tailers,” said Tejinder PS Oberoi, executive director of Cygnet Infotech Private Limited.

The onus of providing home delivery, discounts and the discretion of levying charges on home delivery will be with the merchants. “We can connect them to logistics provider and provide them a payment gateway. But we will not take the orders. It is just like a normal transaction between a shop keeper and a buyer,” said Oberoi.

Initially it will cater to Ahmedabad, Pune, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi, from where over 1,250 shops have been listed and about 40 stores are added every day. It will charge five rupees per transaction to the buyer, irrespective of the size of the transaction.

“Traders will get rid of hefty commissions charged by large e-commerce companies. With us, their margins are protected. So more traders will join our platform,” he said.

Now print ads to generate more biz for merchants

M1-order has tried to enable advertisers better monetize their print advertisements. Through M1, there will be QR Codes (Quick Response Codes), from which the reader can directly place the order negating the necessity to go to shops. The buyer may avoid shopping from print ads. To what extent print ads are drawing buyers is a dilemma for shop keepers. But using this model, the buyers will have enhanced shopping experience and traders will get more buyers enabling better monetization,” he said.

Instead of disrupting their retailers’ business, we will disrupt the way they engage customers, which are now drawn to large e-tailers.” Tejinder PS Oberoi, Executive Director, Cygnet Infotech

This model can be a force multiplier for small traders who do not have the bandwidth to compete with ecommerce companies, which have dented significant share of the business of traditional retailers.” Jayendra Tanna, Convener, CAIT.

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