Struggling with consumer-facing business, fashion and lifestyle e-tailer Club Factory has silently launched a B2B platform – KartIndian. It lets merchants buy inventories across three categories including electronics, home furnishing, jewellery, and accessories.
While a couple of Entrackr sources emphasised that KartIndian is a Club Factory-owned entity, a corrigendum on the website also validates its connection with the Singapore-based firm. At the footer of the website, the platform reveals that inventory is powered by Club Factory suppliers.
The launch of B2B business has come at a time when Club Factory is downscaling B2C unit in India. The firm which used to splurge on marketing and promotion had cut such expenses over 75-80% in the past six months.
An Entrackr‘s query to Club Factory regarding the launch of KartIndian did not elicit an immediate response.
Presently, KartIndian largely deals in lifestyle and accessories (personal as well as home essentials) in low-ticket size range (between Rs 200 to 2,500).
Interest of Club Factory throngs towards B2B after SoftBank and Alibaba funded horizontal e-commerce platform – Paytm Mall is also heading in the same segment. The Noida-based company has been struggling to find foot in Indian e-commerce segment even after splurging over half a billion USD.
Club Factory had a good start in India and the country quickly became the largest market for the IDG Capital-backed company. However, poor consumer experience and massive cut in the marketing budget had eroded its market share.
The firm’s monthly volume was down by about 80% in India. It used to ship 1.5 million orders 8-9 months back but it’s down to below 3,00,000 a month, for the past 6-7 months.
While no startup is close to cracking B2B segment yet, competition has been heating up as several firms have jumped in to capitalise the huge market potential. The overall B2B market is going to be worth $700 billion by 2020, much bigger than the $50-100 billion estimates for consumer Internet during the same time frame.
Since the market is huge, a significant amount of capital has also flown into startups solving procuring pain of wholesale merchants. Last September, Udaan had surprised many by raising staggering $225 million and becoming the fastest Unicorn in the Indian startup history.
Club Factory would compete with a slew of players including Udaan, ShopX and OfBusiness. While time will tell whether Club Factory will be successful in cracking B2B or not, certainly – it won’t be an easy ride for the former to keep deep-pocketed competitors who are also leveraging fintech (lending etc.) to encompass a larger opportunity.