How ShopClues Gave Relevant E-Commerce Clues To A Clueless Person – Summer Intern Experience Of Anuj From IIFT Delhi
HOW IT ALL STARTED
I still remember my early days into B-school life. However nascent I may have been as far as the MBA program was concerned, I was pretty developed in my thoughts of working in E-Commerce sector and that is the mindset with which I entered IIFT Delhi. The “usual” engineer that I am, courtesy my undergraduate degree, means that I am also a technocrat and simply find it fascinating to see how technology is not only impacting lives, but also completely revolutionising the way we do pretty much everything. This forms the basis of my love and passion for E-Commerce sector. Even while I was working with my last organisation before MBA, I somewhere craved to head towards the E-Commerce sector. So it was natural that I aimed for securing an internship offer in an E-Commerce firm and I consider myself fortunate enough that not only IIFT provided me enough opportunities for the same, but also I managed to bag an internship offer with Clues Network Private Ltd. (henceforth referred to as ShopClues).
THE FEW DAYS BACK BEFORE THE INTERNSHIP
I had got over with my 3rd Trimester exams almost 5 days back and to my bewilderment, this “free” phase had started to bore me because there was literally nothing to do. It was 29th March, 2016 when I received the mail from HR at ShopClues stating that I was to join the headquarters i.e. the Gurgaon office from 4th April, 2016 for what was going to be a 8 week stint. My previous work-ex had been under a very formal work environment and I wasn’t very sure as to what could I have expected from my internship organisation. But there ended all my apprehensions with that email, which really gave a sneak peek into how ShopClues is the coolest startup of India. They truly get the Fun and Work rolling together. You know that you are in for a lot of fun too when your offer letter mentioned “anything from beachwear to casualwear” and when the letter also mentions that a Welcome Party is scheduled on the first day. I, therefore, was no less than starry-eyed !!
THE FIRST DAY
Then came the “D-Day” i.e. 4th April, 2016. Oh, and I forgot to mention, incidentally the same date also marks my birthday and thus I had the extra privilege of beginning my internship on such a beacon of positivity. the Shopclues internship program is formally known as the Management Associate Program or MAP. There I reached with a fellow IIFT batch-mate of mine at the designated venue, a very famous 4 star hotel in Gurgaon, where we discovered that we were the last ones to enter, though on time. This discovery soon made way for another discovery i.e. of lavish arrangements that were in place for the welcome of all interns and I just couldn’t be more happier relating it to arrangements for my Birthday. Jokes apart, we met our fellow interns who were from various colleges across India and soon after our formal documentation was completed, we were addressed by heads of different Business Units at ShopClues. There were the Product Management Team, Analytics Team, Category Management Team, Technology Team, Marketing Communication Team etc. The highlight of the day was a visit, address, and picture with none other than the brains behind ShopClues, CEO Mr. Sanjay Sethi and co-founder Mrs. Radhika Aggarwal. After the high tea, it was time for a grand lunch and boy, did ShopClues disappoint !! Not at all. The interaction and games formed the later part of the day as we left to join the office from next day. We were also given goodies by ShopClues which included ShopClues customised T-Shirt, a notepad, and a pen.
That’s how we defined our feelings on the first day at ShopClues
THE FIRST FEW DAYS
On the second day, I reached office and was directed to the 3rd floor till further instructions. Till the time we received instructions, I familiarised myself with other interns who had also gathered there. Over the course of next2 days, we had detailed sessions from people in charge of different BUs and we were made aware of how things work at ShopClues. They made us aware about marketing channels, about their target group, the seller commission structure, their products and services etc.The jargons of ShopClues’ daily work process were also introduced and explained to us. So each BU not only explained its work, but also the technicalities associated with it. The Analytics team session, for me personally, gave the best of the insights into the working of an E-Commerce business.
Meanwhile, each one of us was told our respective departments and given the project brief along with deliverables. I was mapped to the Category Management team and my project was for the Home and Kitchen Cluster of ShopClues. This was something that I can boast of that I got nearly a 100% marketing role which is nowadays a rare phenomenon. I was assigned 2 mentors for guidance throughout and I proceeded to meet them and discuss the project deliverables and approach. Thus we framed a timeline for each deliverable and action plan to get me started with the first objective.
My deliverables involved Category and Competitive Analysis for Home and Kitchen Cluster of ShopClues along with designing merchandising strategy, studying customer buying behaviour w.r.t. Furniture category and grocery, and studying the ShopClues customer profile and journey. The ultimate deliverable was : Suggestions for online implementation of what you witness in offline mode.
THE HEART OF THE INTERNSHIP DURATION
I got the ball rolling by identifying the top 5 leaf categories (the category level of product just before the final product) by parameters ascertained by ShopClues. This helped me narrow my focus to what was essential from ShopClues’ point of view. I then proceeded with the Pricing and Assortment analysis of identified leaf categories vis-a-vis rival E-Commerce platform of ShopClues so as to determine the loopholes in the product and brands collection. I then mapped it with the price bands to determine where was ShopClues actually strong and where it was lacking vis-a-vis its rivals.
What followed this was the most gruelling part of my internship i.e. the Market Visits, where I set out to visit both the organised shopping places such as malls and the unorganised ones as well to determine what sells and at what price in the Home and Kitchen category across all segments of market. While it wasn’t easy to get information from the sales representatives, my mentors chipped in with their invaluable experience to suggest how to get around this problem. There I realised that I wasn’t asking the right questions, so I wasn’t getting the right answers. Acting on the suggestions of my mentors, I did my homework and set out on the visits again. This time, the efforts of me and my mentors paid off. During these visits, I made note of the layouts of stores, the kind of offers that stores were running, their assortments, sales’ trends etc. By mid of my internship, I was through with a decent portion of my work and I proceeded towards designing surveys to have insights into buying behavior for Furniture and Grocery. This meant that I had to diligently work upon framing questions for 2 separate surveys meant for entirely different type of audience (given the nature of the focus product of the surveys) and made use of the Business Research Methods that we had studied. With the surveys designed, I shared it with maximum number of people (keeping in mind the kind of audience fit to respond to that survey) possible to get their responses and over the course of 10 days I collected responses and subsequently analysed them to give my insights and suggestions. Lastly, I proceeded with customer calling to those who had made a purchase on ShopClues during the Jan’16-Mar’16 quarter on ShopClues in Home and Kitchen Category. This was with the purpose of understanding the pain points of customers on ShopClues and how they make a typical purchase on ShopClues or any other E-Commerce platform. The findings from this were translated into suggestions for improvement.
Meanwhile, I had started working on my PPT by starting of 5th week as I knew that my presentation of all the insights, learnings, and suggestions would form the key aspect of my internship.
THE E-COMMERCE DAY CELEBRATIONS
ShopClues, in association with Droom, celebrated E-Commerce Day on 16 May, 2016. This was the 3rd edition of the event. It was a day that marked eminent people’s presence from both organisations on a very well arranged set-up and environment to discuss thoughts, views, trends, and future of E-Commerce. The Business Unit heads were also there and they shared their learning and experiences in the field of E-Commerce. It was a platform where budding entrepreneurs gathered to hear about the innovative business strategies and professional growth. The interns were also made a part of this celebration as key market insights were shared and we got to listen from the best in the business. This also served as a networking opportunity for all of the interns. We even got to meet our alumni in ShopClues and had a good discussion with them on life at IIFT and the experience so far at ShopClues. A tweet contest was also conducted during the day which kept the audience engaged. The event started around 4pm and there was plenty of food for the likes of me who are real foodies too.
(Pic courtesy – ShopClues’ Twitter Handle)
We also got to listen Mr Sanjay Sethi, Mrs Radhika Aggarwal, and Mr. Sandeep Aggarwal, founder Droom.
(Pic courtesy – ShopClues’ Twitter Handle)
The town hall party is another aspect of ShopClues which happens once every quarter where all the employees of ShopClues gather to celebrate every achievement and party.
THE FINAL DAY
As I inched towards the final day, I moved towards giving final touches to my PPT and on 27th May, 2016, I gave my final presentation which lasted good 30 mins and here I put forth my key findings and suggestions which I had gathered over the period of 8 weeks. My heart sure pounded a lot during those 30 minutes, but i managed to keep my calm. I found my mentors to be very happy of the work that I had managed to do. PPI or PPO, I don’t know whether I’ll get it or not, but I have definitely got a huge bunch of learning which I will carry with me for the rest of the life. E-Commerce is what I wanted to get into, and that is what I got. Everyday, I tell myself this, and inch closer towards my dream of finally getting into E-Commerce sector on permanent basis.
THE ONE LAST PARTY
Shopclues bid us adieu by a final lavish party which again gave us an opportunity to network the people at ShopClues, to celebrate our 2 months’ presence at ShopClues, and to meet the friends for one last time and relive the time we had spent in each others’ company for the internship duration. There was Mr. Sethi and Mrs Aggarwal who acknowledged the kind of work that the interns had done, and expressed their joy on having us at Shopclues. Some of us even went onto share our most wonderful moments of the internship amongst the august gathering. It was fun, music, dance, and again, lots of food to conculde what had been a very good journey.
SPECIAL MENTION – PEOPLE AT SHOPCLUES
Sometimes you come across people who work a lot, but they just work. At other times, you may meet people who have fun and frolic a lot, but they compromise on work at times. Neither of the 2 kinds were to be seen at ShopClues. At Shopclues, you’ll come across a different bunch of people, who, at first look, might seem as if they may not be hard working enough. But when you get to spend some time with them, you’ll know how they amazingly manage to pull of so much work, that too on daily basis, and still have an environment full of laughs and positivity in the office. At any time you can easily locate friends ( and not mere employees) talking to each other, having fun, but equally involved in work, devisiing strategies, deciding product catalogue, offers/promotions to be run etc. It’s one set of an amazingly efficient people who know how to maintain an air of happiness around.
THE FINAL WORDS
Practical exposure always scores over theoretical ones. My internship once again made this fact stand true in my eyes. My internship has been a good mix of fun and work. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at ShopClues as it made a lot of sense to my endeavors and learning desires. thank you ShopClues.
This article has been authored by Anuj Kansal, student of MBA (IB) 2015-17 batch at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (I.I.F.T.) Delhi