The semi-urban and rural parts of India are far behind its metropolitan cities in terms of development and urbanization. In this era of everything digital, the residents in these under-developed regions yet lack to use the advantages of the Internet to the full extent. One such advantage is online shopping. Women in these sections especially don’t feel secure in shopping online. They also don’t get the choice of buying their preferred products or brands from their local market.
These issues also came into attention to the team of Hundred Plus. And on that account, they came up with an online shopping platform dedicated to these women wherein they will get assistance from local women in online shopping. They established e-shops (Virtual Retail Outlets) in India, where local women act as Franchise Partners, helping customers buy products online via 100PlusMall.
“WHAT MAKES IT UNIQUE IS THAT IT PROVIDES ASSISTANCE TO PEOPLE IN A SIMILAR WAY AS WE DO TO OUR PARENTS BY SHOPPING ON BEHALF OF THEM”Gaurav BAnsal
From their survey of over 300 women, they concluded that having woman sellers create ease for the women shopper. Moreover, appointing local women as ‘Franchise Partners’ helps women customers buy from the comforts of their home without having to travel long distances. So far, over 250 franchise partners have assisted semi-urban and rural women in online shopping of various brands.
However, any woman who joins them as a franchise partner doesn’t have to invest in buying shops or goods. “The website acts as a shop, and the stock of 100 PLUS MALL becomes the stock for the Franchise Partner,” the founder tells us. All these partners have to do is assist the customer in every transaction cycle, and Hundred Plus takes care of the rest of it.
“THE BEST PART WITH 100 PLUS MALL, UNLIKE OTHER SHOPPING PLATFORMS IS WE DO NOT HAVE AN OPEN MARKETPLACE, WHEREIN ANY SELLER CAN SELL GOODS TO THE BUYER”gaurav bansal
The concept of no marketplace in 100 Plus Mall has let them tie-up with the brands or their authorized partners and source goods from them directly. This choice gives the guarantee to the customers that the goods this online platform sells are all genuine and original. It also results in generating the invoice/bill in the name of their company – Huplus Market Innovations Pvt Ltd- rather than the in the name of the sellers that, in return, builds a lot of trust and confidence in this e-commerce platform.
“MY UPBRINGING HAS BEEN IN A SEMI-URBAN AREA, AND I HAVE TRAVELED EXTENSIVELY TO THE RURAL CORNERS OF UP. SINCE MY BEGINNING, I ALWAYS WANTED TO START A VENTURE WHICH HAS A DEEP IMPACT ON A LARGE SCALE ON MY BHARAT”gaurav bansal
Gaurav Bansal is the CEO and Founder of 100PlusMall. He is a man who has bagged many titles and achievements throughout his career- Mentor, Author, and Entrepreneur. He has been selected as India’s Top 30 promising youth leader by Indo American Centre. He is also a member of an Honorary Panel of Mentors- Naman Angels India Foundation- in Mumbai. Before launching 100PlusMall, he also created a common application platform where students could apply to any member colleges.
The other team members of 100PlusMall include Manjula Bansal, the first Director and first investor in 100 Plus Mall; Santosh Singh, the tech vendor; and Dinson David Kurian, the Technology Advisor. Besides, they have a small full-time team of fewer than five employees, but so far, more than 350 interns have worked and completed their internship with them.
“THOUGH WE ARE AN EARLY-STAGE STARTUP, WE ARE CONFIDENT TO RETAIN THE USPS IN THE GROWTH STAGE TOO, AS WE HAVE PLANNED OUR FORWARD AND GROWTH STRATEGY”gaurav bansal
Launched on 29th September 2019, they can be new in the field of e-commerce platforms, but their USPs give them many advantages to stand out from the major online shopping platforms. Strong focus on women’s customer needs, rural and Semi-Urban areas, no sellers/resellers, the assistance of online shopping from local women are some of the benefits that this startup gives.
Their vision is ‘To increase the Happiness index of Bharat.’ And they achieve it by reaching the corners of India and giving it access to unlimited solutions (Retail Products/Brands/Services) with knowledge and ease of shopping and installing necessary enablers in the retail eco-system.
“YOU MAKE A MISTAKE, AND YOU MAY BE OUT OF THE GAME”gaurav bansal
Social media can both grow your business and make it go downhill at the same time. It all depends on the use of it. Being a startup, Gaurav reveals that they work with many fresh interns. And one time by mistake, one of their posts on Facebook got marked with spam, and the appeal was not accepted. “The entire page with >700 followers was taken down,” Gaurav tells us the consequence of that one small misunderstanding.
However, he also reveals that through social media, they can directly communicate with their customers, and at present, it is the closest possible medium to get to know them.
“I REALIZED PEOPLE IN URBAN AREAS HAVE WRONG PERCEPTIONS AND KNOWLEDGE OF RURAL INDIA. THERE IS A LOT OF DISCONNECT BETWEEN INDIA AND BHARAT”gaurav bansal
In the initial phase of their launching, the company struggled with making friends and investors in urban areas believe that 100PlusMall can work in the era of Amazon and Flipkart. Their USPs were questioned and weren’t believed to be able to make a presence in the era of Amazon and Flipkart. However, the founder doesn’t call these as challenges as he knows that the company’s facts were rock solid and were confident of their strategy and business proposition.
But during the lockdown, they faced their biggest challenge. They started having zero sales during this period. “But that acted as a boon and allowed us to build resources and capacities,” Gaurav tells us, adding that this was, in fact, the time when more than 250 interns were working with them.