Ecommerce firm Dealshare has hired former Big Bazaar chief executive Kamaldeep Singh as president of its retail business.
Singh will head the company’s online and offline business and will report to Vineet Rao, cofounder and chief executive of Dealshare, the company said.
“Kamaldeep has been in the space for the last 20 years and he has built Big Bazaar from scratch and he has been the leader in the space, understanding the brands, understanding the consumer, understanding the demand…this is going to be an important augmentation of our overall solution thereby leading us to build a profitable organisation,” Rao told ET.
The development comes at a time when Dealshare is increasingly focusing on becoming a distribution channel for regional brands for low-income consumers, both online and offline, moving away from its initial model of selling through a group buying model.
Rao said the idea is to make Dealshare a household brand name for low-income, working-class consumers of India.
“I have spent most of my time in grocery and retail and if you go back to the history of what I have been involved in, we really created the mass market of modern trade in India,” said Singh. “But we also understand India is a much more layered market, there are the super rich in India, the middle class and then there is the working class, which is a huge market to be tapped. I think Dealshare is trying to create a model for the masses of India to give them good products at affordable prices.”
The company has a business-to-consumer (B2C) model whereby it delivers goods directly to consumers through its own delivery partner.
It also supplies goods to kirana (corner) stores, while it is also building out a B2B2C model whereby customers can purchase whatever goods they find online at a nearest offline kirana store that the company has partnered with.
“While online will keep growing there is a sizable need to go offline as well and that is why we have a successful B2C model, warehouses, and community leaders who deliver goods home,” said Rao. “We have a sizable B2B2C business where we supply to kirana stores in areas where we don’t have the online reach to the customers…Going forward, we will have the whole thing come together where we will have a network of partnered kirana stores, we already have been running some experiments and we have been delivering fruitful results.”
Sources have told ET that the company fired employees recently.
Rao denied this, saying it has not had layoffs but there have been some performance-based exits.
He said the company pulled out of Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh markets to cut cash burn and focus on achieving profitability.
“We expanded into lots of newer cities. In the early years we were still in Jaipur and last year we expanded into 150 newer cities and towns across ten states,” said Rao. “We consolidated and whatever 20% bottom cities which were recent and burning a lot of money we have paused, and we probably picked it up after we are unit level profitable across all the cities we are present in. That is our strategy.”
He said the company is aiming to achieve profitability in the older cities in the first three months, and then achieve profitability across all cities by the end of the year.
Dealshare has always been frugal and never had the luxury of burning money on marketing like other ecommerce players in the market as it serves the low-income households, he added.
“We cannot have a high consumer acquisition cost because the lifetime value of our consumers may not be as high,” said Rao.
He said Dealshare does about 400,000 orders per day with an annualised revenue of over $1 billion. The company is also increasingly focussed on building out its private label business.
Founded in 2018 by Rao, Sourjyendu Medda, Rajat Shikhar and Sankar Bora, Dealshare has raised about $393 million till date and is valued at about $1.7 billion.