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There but not there! i2cook

Hello Friends,

I would like to thank TRHS for giving me an opportunity to present in front of an awesome audience. It was my first time presenting a PPT on stage and I must confess that I was a bit frightened and nervous. TRHS is a great platform and I love the positive energy at the open house! 🙂

The Blog – Early Beginnings

i2cook started as a food blog. Now that I had informed people that I 2 can cook. I decided to go retail with my first product ‘Peanut Butter’. Hence, I envisioned that I will have a processing unit for organic food and sold my first peanut butter to a store in Mumbai. We have close to 50 stores! Stocking i2cook peanut butter, pink mustard, honey mustard, coconut sugar, liquid jaggery and newly introduced sugar free muesli. 

From Blog to E-commerce website

The natural progression forward was to set up a store, hence we decided to start an e commerce website to help sell unique organic products sourced from lesser known parts of India. 

So how do we go about it?

We decided to open a brick and mortar store first because if you want to understand really you must live it! We completed our testing and decided to begin work on the online store. We had a sizable audience on the blog and decided to sell first here, while the back-end work commenced. We tried magento, shopify and were still looking for something cheaper. We finally closed in on zepo which fit our budget of less than half a shoe string! We added 30 products and received one order per week and sometimes none!  

Work, Work and still not there

But, there was still a lot of work to be done. Add the next 100 products, move from hand deliveries to courier services ( we were initially servicing only 3 cities – Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune), setup payment gateway so that COD (cash on delivery) was not the only option, extend our reach outside Mumbai and procure more unique products.

Breaking Even

Now that we had setup the store, tied up with courier services and set up a payment gateway to reach across India. We now had a fully functional e commerce website. We broke even last month with 30 transactions a month!

Our Challenges

Dealing with farmers, small time producers and large scale manufactures may sound like a lot of fun but it can sometimes get funny when one papad can taste different from the next or a 50gms pack comes in a 100gms packaging and the customer has to wait for another week. 

Large Company vs Small Company

We thought dealing with large courier companies would be more professional but we forgot that as a small company we could keep screaming about poor service but our voices would not reach over the Ganapati festival din.

An incident that I would like to share:: 3 deliveries were delayed by a week without any information or help on why they were stuck. The tracking number just kept telling us in transit. Another three days passed without any solution from blue dart staff. So the issue was taken up my co-founder, Pawan. He sent a mail to the CEO’s desk with the complete report. That is when a solution came through. The packages were delivered and we got a waiver on the charges for these deliveries after two weeks of constant war against blue dart. 

The biggest challenge that lies in front of us is to go from 30 to 1000 transactions a month with zero paid advertising. 

Please share and like us on FB or follow us @i2cook on twitter. Most important do visit our webstore: www.i2cook.com 🙂

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. megha….

    for a debut presenter you’ve done well!!!!!!!

    next time, ensure you have an element of surprise – (for your products are such that one needs to see it, feel it, experience it and of course sample it!) – with prior permission from the organisers, i would suggest you simply place some jars below some random seats and tell everyone to look under their seats!!! do you know how amazing it is to win something out of the blue?! a simple gesture would make your presentation memorable and quotable!!

    i shall ping our social commerce rockstar nameet potnis of sellmojo to be in touch with you. i think a facebook store would help you to achieve far more transactions at chicken feed cost.

    http://therodinhoods.com/profile/NameetPotnis

    also, pls check out this post – a huge learning on customer delight!!! 

    http://therodinhoods.com/forum/topics/falafel-s-you-did-it-right

    all the best. will come back with more suggestions at a later date…

  2. Thanks Asha! I love you’re ideas. Maybe next time I can place some tasters at the next open house 😉

  3. don’t think they allow sampling there megha. but g2w cafe is another place you can target with tasters :))) 

  4. Hi Megha,
    I usually write about how to utilise Facebook to sell. 🙂 You can check out this blog post http://sellmojo.com/blog/drive-insane-traffic-to-your-facebook-page/

    Go ahead and promote your page on your wall. Consider doing some giveaways or contests to get people interested.Since you are starting out, this might help too – http://sellmojo.com/blog/facebook-page-problems-and-solutions/

    If you need help with Fcommerce, you can drop me a line on hello@sellmojo.com.

    Hope this helps 🙂

  5. Thanks Nameet. Going through your post right now 🙂

  6. Asha, there should be a button trhs to like comments posted, I just so liked the comment you posted here!.:)

  7. 🙂

    unfortunately NING doesn’t have a LIKE or UPVOTE feature prashant….!

  8. hey megha,

    you must update all of us with i2cook and the fact that you’ve shifted base!

    eager to hear what’s happening at your end… stay in touch!!

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