How Tapas Is Trying To Disrupt $4.5 Billion Auto Aftermarket Industry

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

Next time your car/bike breaks down in the middle of the week, no need to wait for the weekend to get the spare parts from the local wholesale market. Do check out Spareshub.com (online cars parts mega store) with 30+ sellers, selling 10,000+ products offering genuine parts with best possible pricing.

Question 1 – What motivated you to start Spareshub.com and what is it all about? 

Tapas – Since my teenage I had read a lot about famous entrepreneurs like Dhirubhai Ambani, Bill Gates, Ratan Tata, Richard Branson etc.  Their success stories inspired me to have my own startup and scale it to a global level. With this in mind, I was looking for problems around me to solve. This is when I came across the problem of unavailability of automobile spare parts across the country. E-commerce is in a unique position to solve this problem and this is how I started SparesHub.com. We have are an automobile spare parts online marketplace and offer spare parts from many reputed companies. We have signed supplier agreements with spare part manufacturers and help them reach the end customers directly through our website. Our customers are a mix of end car owners as well as garage owners and spare part retailers. We are accelerated by 91Springboard Accelerator, Delhi. Varun Chawla and Pranay Gupta from 91Springboard act as advisors to the company.

Question 2 –  Could you please tell our readers what is your current team size and introduce them?

Tapas – Currently, we are a team of four at SparesHub.com working to redefine the car and spare parts sales channels in India. I am an Electronics Engineer and an MBA in Finance. I’ve previously worked with Mercedes Benz India and Crisil Ltd.

Arijit Chakraborty is also an Electronics Engineer and an MBA in Marketing with prior work experience in Tata Motors.

Diptanu Bhadra is an Automobile Engineer and he has earlier worked with Honda Cars. Naveen Gupta is a marketing executive with a field experience of 21 years. 

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All four of us share a passion for cars and bikes and we are bullish about making our mark felt in the Indian automobile industry.

Question 3 – What is the current size of the market/industry? Any projected growth rates? Who are your major competitors and how are you differentiated?

Tapas – India’s auto parts aftermarket industry is Rs. 28,000 Crores in size growing at 11%; out of this we expect 3% to shift online within the next 4 years. At my last count, there were 29 car companies in India offering 176 car models with about 800+ variants (like Vxi, Zxi etc) between them. So the market is very large, complex and unorganized.

35% of all the spare parts available in the market are spurious/duplicate. We are among the first few automobile focused e-commerce companies in India.  Our customers value the guarantee of genuine parts, large product variety and ease of online shopping. Our direct competitors are other spare parts e-commerce website and indirect competitors are the traditional physical spare part stores.

Question 4 – What is your revenue model? Would it be possible to give a ballpark figure of your current revenue? Anything in which you are comfortable with.

Tapas – SparesHub.com is a marketplace e-commerce company. We have multiple sellers of automobiles spare parts on our website. We offer all the e-commerce services to our sellers like online store, payment services, shipping and handling of the orders and marketing of their products.

We charges payment processing and marketing charges to our sellers based on how much sales SparesHub.com is able to generate for them and this is how we generate revenues. Currently we have 30+ sellers offering about 10,000+ products on SparesHub.com. We did about 400+ transactions last month and that is growing consistently.

Question 5 – How do you market Spareshub.com online/ offline? Do you use any social media platforms?

Tapas – Marketing is very important to SparesHub.com as we have to educate the customers that they can now buy car spare parts online as well. We started with online marketing activities like Search Engine Optimization, Google Adwords PPC, Facebook Ads, Email marketing.

Now we plan to start offline marketing activities as well like distributing rack cards at garages to customers, banners at trade partners, print advertising and some other options. Right now we have only used Facebook among the many social media platforms. We have plans to start using twitter in the future as well. Automobile industry focused trade magazines, trade journals are also an important component in our marketing plan.

We have also convinced our suppliers to extend offers and discounts to our online customers which would soon be launched on SparesHub.com to draw more customer traffic.

Question 6 – What are the challenges that you have faced/are facing in marketing Spareshub.com ?

Tapas – Right now our marketing approach is a experiment-measure-repeat kind of a thing wherein we test many marketing ideas and decide which idea is giving the maximum return on investment  for SparesHub.com. Sometimes measuring the ROI on the marketing spend is not that straightforward.

Marketing is as intensive and important as product development and I think many startup entrepreneurs tend to underestimate it.

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Question 7 – What advice you would give to someone starting new?

Tapas – I would advice them to dream big and go for the most ambitious idea that you have. Startup is anyway a low probability high return area, so even with a simpler and less ambitious idea the odds of success wont improve anyway, so one might as well take it a notch upward.

If with a simple idea your chances of success are say 10% then with a difficult idea it might be 8%, so there’s not much difference on a absolute level. Starting up is a long journey of hard-work and persistence and there’s definitely nothing glamorous or cool about it. So be prepared for that.

You have to completely comfortable with taking risks, going in unchartered territories and be comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty. No doubt there will be many people to guide you in the journey but at the end of the day it’s you who has to do everything.

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website: SparesHub.com

[This interview is sponsored by workspot.in , India’s leading aggregator of co-working spaces, meeting rooms and shared offices. If you have additional office space and are looking to rent it, please do list it on workspot.in. If you are looking for space for your startup, do visit workspot.in]

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