Askme goes for vertical integration via acquisition

 Armed to close FY2016 with $1 billion in annualised GMV, Askme is now set to address — What next?

“Askmebazaar is now a marketplace, where over 16 million SMEs can be discovered. But, we can’t just stop at discovery. It is now time for us to present a search-plus strategy,” said Askme Group CMO and Head (Digital Strategy) Manav Sethi.

The company has clocked $800 million as of January, 2016, in annualised GMV (gross merchandise value), and is building on its two latest acquisitions across the furniture and grocery verticals to lead its future growth. 

“As we see it, grocery shopping, which is a mundane task, can be made into a popular shopping category online. Next, furniture-buying can be quite cumbersome, and online shopping fits the bill here too. On a standalone basis, both show great potential to become billion dollar businesses themselves,” he said.

As a horizontal marketplace, Askmebazaar caters to categories ranging from electronics to apparel and grocery to home interiors, among several others. However, within the year-end, the company plans pan-India launches of Askemgrocery.com and Askmefurniture.com (as the company plans to rename Mebelkart.com).

Post the acquisition of Bestatlowest.com at $10 million, about nine months ago, grocery operations for the portal have scaled from one city, Delhi NCR to 38 cities across the country. Mebelkart.com, on the other hand, which the company acquired about three months ago for $20 million, has gone to add up to 2,000 merchants to its existing 2,500 merchant base. “With Askmebazaar.com, we already have the merchants on board, so, there is no incremental cost in doing this. We have a resilient back-end in place, so, this is the logical step forward,” he asserted.

“Tier II cities will play a big role, as we expand operations this year. The basket sizes for grocery and furniture are bigger in tier II cities,” he added.

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