BHIMART: A Smart Proximity Shopping App

M. Rafiq Raj, CEO & Co-Founder, GM, Lingaraju, Founder & Chairman,Rajiv, Co-FounderOmni-channel retail an adaptation of unorganized retail and e-Commerce is gaining momentum in India. Bangalore headquartered BHIMART aims to take a major pie in this segment by being an early entrant. The company’s niche lies in on-boarding sellers early on and providing the traditional shopping experience to buyers by connecting them with nearby local shops. “With an ever-increasing internet penetration, reduced data costs and wide reach of physical stores, the biggest revolution in the retail industry lies in the omni- channel space which BHIMART operates in,” mentions Rafiq Raj, Director. BHIMART aims to leverage this wave and have about 30000+ retailers on-boarded its platform in a year and further contribute to the growth of the retail segment in India.

From where it all Began!
A proximity-based shopping app aimed at bringing the local shops online, bhimart. com is a part of GM global which is process and managed by GM group. GM Group is one of the most respected and renowned business houses of South India. The roots of GM Group of Companies date back to 1958 when Late G. Mallikarjunappa, Member of Parliament, Davangere constituency in Central Karnataka, India laid the foundation of the Group. The group has diversified into a wide array of businesses almost 9 verticals with 21 entities into operation.

Bringing in e-Commerce in the smallest of facets of the Indian business market, BHIMART markets quality branded products which work in the true sense to support a chain of hypermarkets, discount department stores, and grocery stores. The ideation behind the company is in-line with the Indian way of shopping locally where shoppers visit a corner store, touch and feel the product and make the purchase immediately. “Interestingly out of 10 percent of the Indian population browsing products online, only about one percent end up doing an online transaction which means that a whopping share of people still prefer local shopping. Reasons inhibiting buyers to make a purchase decision range from lack of trust on e-Commerce websites, no direct physical contact of product before making a purchase, no go-to person or physical store to talk to in case of grievances. We exactly address these issues by hosting local shops online which empowers buyers to have a local shopping experience seamlessly with the click of a button,” says Raj.

Sailing against the wind, eventually BHIMART has arrived at a successful business model, pricing strategy, revenue formula and GTM strategy and is now known to spearhead the change in e-Commerce industry by blending proximity-based shopping with their business models adding value to the stakeholders – buyers & sellers.

BHIMART constantly strives to gain a stronghold in rural areas by promoting mass market features such as localization by providing multi lingual support, voice-based search, simple UI and UX design for easy navigation all optimized for the rural Indian market. Shops being the core of their value chain – location-based dependency is low as India is host to millions of shops and getting local shops online in-turn attracts customers from that locality by giving full access to local markets from home. “Amassing client data of all segments of sellers and buyers regularly for all actions done on our platform allows us to make data driven decisions for fine tuning our strategy,” he adds.

Benefitting both Buyers & Sellers
A two-sided platform, BHIMART’s target audiences are a mix of both sellers and buyers. Targeting the unorganized retail segment in India, the sellers range from traditional shop owners to institutional sellers while buyers range from regular online shoppers to hesitant newbies to online shopping. The sellers registered on the app are entitled to
a plethora of benefits – customer leads and conversions, better visibility, relevant impressions from buyers, online inventory, online orders, fulfilment and tracking solution, configurable personalized discounts and offers, customer specific ledger balance, analytics and more. The buyers on the other hand, get benefits of vast product range, product-based shopping, shop-based shopping, choice of faster delivery options – Pickup at Store & Deliver to Address, direct contact with shops nearby, offers & discounts, shop-based advance and dues, ratings and reviews.

Uniquely enhancing the retail supply chain once the products reach the shops, BHIMART forms a nexus between shops and customers online. Raj informs, “Our value proposition for buyers is hyperlocal shopping where buyers can purchase from local stores, omni-channel support where they have a physical store and an e-Store for any issue, one-stop shop where they find varied range of products as well as services. For sellers, our value proposition is Marketplace where they can list a variety of products or services, Open Inventory where they have full control of inventory, Visibility where they can reach buyers in their immediate neighborhood and receive orders.

The BHIMART sellers have a concrete e-Solution to receive orders, manage inventory, manage orders and deliveries all in one place. “Seller relevant parameters such as visibility, impressions of target audience are enhanced by setting up e-Shops and hosting products. We serve exclusively in categories such as Electronics, Grocery, Apparel, Furniture, e-Service, Building Materials, Automotive and Jewellery. We also encourage to maintain a direct contact between shops and buyers so that buyers can reach out anytime to shops through our app directly and also through chat-based negotiations,” he adds. Considering the full spectrum of seller needs, BHIMART recently has zeroed in POS solutions by providing features for billing, inventory, barcode scanning, multi-bill management and more.

The sellers are better equipped for the digital world as they are more organized in terms of business by maintaining an e-Store, an open inventory with full control, new online sales leads, better book keeping of inventory and orders, thereby achieving accelerated sales which in turn is good for the economy.

Is it Technology or the Human Mind?
BHIMART beats the industry averages of shop registration, approval and product upload times by a margin with a dedicated sales team and world class infrastructure. The platform is also facilitated with a library of 20mln standard products while uploading by sellers, thereby allowing the team to do exceedingly well in terms of product range and catalogue maintenance. “We are committed to multiple quality checks offline to ensure the trade of quality products on our platform,” he says.

The team enjoys the freedom of being one of the pioneers in the space and unlike the existing players, they offer a flat subscription plan to sellers to provide all the benefits seamlessly without compromising on the experience. This encourages more and more sellers to onboard and subsequently buyers to onboard the platform.

Encompassing all major online touch-points, the BHIMART app is available on Play store, App store and on web for both sellers as well as buyers and has flawless inventory management, order management and POS capabilities.

Seller app functions to supplement the customer app with e-Commerce and hyperlocal capabilities. The app has a highly secured IT infrastructure which is scaled for future and all the features on apps and web are also in alignment with the proximity mantra of local shopping. Latest technical trends such as cloud computing, AI enabled voice search are blended with seamless navigation and non-intrusive notifications for enhanced user experience.

BHIMART’s Growth – A Result of Forces Working Together!
Team BHIMART has undergone a full-fledged market research coupled with knowledge of consumer behaviour and industry trends and that has helped them to understand the Indian retail market better.Identification of the exact need-gap has enabled us to define
our business strategy and value proposition. Our agile company culture enabled us to adapt to the recent economic challenges such as GST. Demonetization helped us achieve the initial momentum by increasing adaptation and reducing entry barriers for the sellers to get onboard BHIMART platform,” mentions Raj.

With the current subscription model, BHIMART has made remarkable progress in terms of acquisition and retention metrics with regards to their clients. For the initial pilot testing, they had targeted select pin-codes in Bangalore from which around 85 percent sellers onboarded while the remaining 15 percent were onboarded from semi-urban and rural areas for understanding seller usage and behaviour from these locations. “Preagreed commissions on products from sellers, ad revenue for assets on website, priority listing of shops are all potential revenue sources for BHIMART. Aggressive expansion plans - 50+ cities and 1 lakh+ shops, simultaneous brand building is on the cards for BHIMART, in years to come,” he concludes.

Rafiq Raj – CEO and Co-founder of BHIMART is known for this astute wisdom in the business domains – IT, ITES, Educational Management and other industries. He successfully completed his education in Law and Business Management and worked on several socio-economic projects and led them to profits. He successfully led projects like rural BPO, learning management solutions, centralized placement cell, library digitization by addressing the gap between customer needs and technology and thereby providing a concrete solution for the same. He also held multiple key positions across domains that gave him the expertise to lead the company from the forefront.

GM Lingaraju – founder of BHIMART, Chairman of GM Group of Companies for the past 28+ years with his shrewd business acumen has played a pivotal role in establishing GM Group. With his enthusiasm for innovation, he has established nearly 15 different businesses of GM Group and led them to success. He is solely responsible for uplifting the GM Group and with his vision has actively driven the businesses of GM Group to success. His immense experience in varied business domains, go getter attitude have all become the driving force behind BHIMART.

Rajiv, Co-founder of BHIMART is a young entrepreneur who handles business areas in bhimart such as technology, product, design and marketing has evolved as a reliable supporting force for GM Global.

Why shop locally on BHIMART?
Proximity Based Shopping Bhimart is India's first proximity based shopping platform where you can find all your local shops; browse and buy from their product range

Wide Range of Products
Bhimart offers a wide range of products across various categories such as grocery, electronics, apparels, furnitures, e-Service, building material, automotive, organic products and jewellery

Bhimart is the only platform that allows customers to have a physical contact with their nearby shops which means you always have someone to turn up to in case of product quality or payment issues

Multiple Delivery Options
We offer multiple delivery options like “Pickup from Store” and “Deliver to Address” which gives buyers the flexibility to opt for whatever they are comfortable with

Fastest Delivery
Bhimart helps buyers get their purchase delivered to their address just the way they desire. One can choose the slot in which the products has to be delivered which ensures the delivery between one hour at the earliest to 12 hours at the latest

Payment Options
Bhimart enables customers to make a purchase via various secure and encrypted payment options such as credit and debit cards,net banking, e-Wallets and BHIM. People hesitant to make an online purchase can turn upto to Cash on delivery as a payment option.