Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Leaping up the learning curve

Akshat has been transforming the Cosmeceutical, Derma & Nutraceutical online business enhancing the reach of the pharma industry

Published: Nov 18, 2019 10:17:50 AM IST
Updated: Nov 20, 2019 03:16:32 PM IST

Leaping up the learning curve
Akshat Malik, Founder & CEO, started an online sales enterprise, (COC), under a proprietorship format, in 2013. After trying out a market place model, he quickly iterated to close in on a niche market in the wellness space, with Cosmeceuticals, Derma Care and Nutrition products. Today, the company is a market leader in terms of sales in its domain. Bootstrapped and profitable, the company has a full-time employee strength of around a 100 people.

An avid golfer, a national level shooter and a HAM radio enthusiast. Akshat has been transforming the Cosmeceutical, Derma & Nutraceutical online business enhancing the reach of the pharma industry. Currently, alongside ClickOnCare, he holds non-functional management roles with PRAN, a content management house and Dravina Invest, a firm specializing in wealth management and family office businesses. Akshat takes us through his eventful journey, which represents a veritable case study in the Speciality Personal Care Industry in India.

Q. After a career with ING Vysya Bank, what motivated you to get into the online retailing of Cosmeceuticals, Derma Care and Nutrition products, without any background in sales or e-commerce?
A. I started off my career with ING Vysya Bank, looking after the liabilities section. But in my spare time, I would help out with counter sales and billing at a local pharmacy. That made me realise the potential of pharma-related retail and I started out as a seller on Ebay and Facebook, with a few wellness products - Glucometers, Digital BP Monitors and Whey Supplements. I explored various aspects of the business – right from the impact of the macro economy and logistics to how to optimize Data & Content for Customer Acquisition. The selling experience on Ebay and Facebook, especially the response I received from Facebook, made me realise the potential in this space.

Q: Tell us about the early years of ClickOnCare. What was the model you followed then?
A: In 2013, I launched COC out of a 1BHK residential office cum warehouse. While testing the waters and exploring various consumer segments, I had about 500 personal care and wellness products from the FMCG industry. Within a year, the product count increased to 3000 SKUs with an expansion under the Personal Care Segment and by 2015, it crossed 25k. This marked the inception of the marketplace model, i.e., we had a number of sellers on board and we were listing their products. We even introduced a line of clothing, furniture and books on COC and established our 1st brand association. Over the next year, the marketplace model was established and growing with a product count that crossed 1 lakh.

Q: How did you come to the current niche model from the marketplace model?
A: We realised that the marketplace model came with a number of operational & commercial issues, logistical and reconciliation complications. We wanted a more sustainable model, even if it meant less customers to begin with. Also, by 2016, I had adequate data on consumer behavior on which I began doing my research. By then, I understood the market very well and had more or less identified a niche. So, 2017 was a landmark year for us. We also began trimming out FMCG products. At the same time, healthcare products saw a deeper penetration and COC’s niche started shaping up. We established our first internship program with India’s leading technical university. Then, in 2018, we consolidated further and completely discontinued the marketplace model, shutting down non-performing categories. We even became discerning within healthcare products, focusing on COC’s niche, i.e. Cosmeceuticals, Derma Care & Nutrition and our product count optimized to 5k. We are adding products to our basket, but very selectively and strategically.

Q: What is the current Infrastructure at ClickOnCare?
A: Departmentalization started for us in 2018; currently with 8 broad departments in addition to Legal & Administrative wings, even a team just for data crunching and analytics. A Team Strength of around 100 Employees, our office space spans over 4000+ Square feet.

Q: How well are you funded?
A: With a growth rate of 1054% in 2018-19, ClickOnCare is Bootstrapped + Profitable. When I entered the business, it was with the aim of being profitable in the e-commerce industry. Between 2013 and 2018, we were in the red. Since 2018, we found a niche for ourselves in a growing industry. Now that we have found our feet, the Company would start Pitching!

Q: What do you feel about “Giving back to the Society”?
A: ClickOnCare has a strategic tie up with Yuvraj Singh’s Cancer Foundation: YOUWECAN which helps spread awareness and fight against the stigma associated with Cancer.

Q: What is your current focus on and where do you see ClickOnCare headed from here?
A: ClickOnCare would continue to focus on Cosmeceuticals, Derma and Nutraceutical Segment in 2019-20 with International Delivery recently launched.

Source: DigPu

Disclaimer: This content is distributed by Digpu. No Forbes India journalist is involved in the creation of this content.