Unicommerce: changing the way of doing business
The recent developments in the technology and digital world compelled brands and small businesses to adopt advanced digital solutions to provide solutions to complex supply chain issues. Unicommerce is such a leading global Ecommerce Supply Chain Solution which enables Manufacturers, Wholesalers, Distributors, Retail Chains, Individual Store owners and Ecommerce sellers to automate their supply chain operations for online and offline business to sell more. It helps small sellers and large retail brands to sell at multiple marketplaces more efficiently. Currently, the company has pre-integrated with 100+ leading marketplaces, couriers/shipping companies, accounting, and ERP softwares.
Our editorial team spoke to Kapil Makhija, the CEO of Unicommerce. Here are the edited excerpts.
How has the business grown over the years and how does it sit within the entrepreneurial ecosystem of India?
The business has been growing steadily and healthily with profitable PAT margins of 20-25% over the last 18 months. The firm has managed to expand internationally in the Middle East, and is now looking to expand into other geographies such as Southeast Asia and Australia. The company provides technology solutions for ecommerce supply chains and continues to evolve its offerings across omnichannel commerce and warehouse management. We are a partner of choice for startups looking to venture in ecommerce as they get a ready product suite which can help them launch faster in the market. We also serve large retail brands such as House of Anita Dongre, Forever New, and Chumbak to help them scale their ecommerce operations.
How is it different from other company?
We have the largest number of integrations with ecommerce marketplaces and logistics providers in India. This helps sellers connect with multiple marketplaces and manage orders and inventory in a single panel. The robustness and scalabilty of our solutions is evident from the fact that almost 20% of overall India's ecommerce transactions get managed through our platform.
Challenges faced as a company
Like any other start-up, Unicommerce has gone through its share of challenges, in its journey towards growth and profitability. The first challenge was to grow the business beyond the first few clients (large marketplaces like Snapdeal, Lenskart) and that was achieved by devising multichannel solutions for the fast-growing community of sellers on e-commerce marketplaces. In this manner, Unicommerce achieved rapid scale to became the solution of choice for thousands of online sellers.
The other challenge was to boost revenue realization from large brands by ensuring a deeper integration with them. Towards this, Unicommerce launched multiple solutions such as omnichannel, warehouse management etc. to cater to the demands of the large brands and marketplaces.
Thus, Unicommerce has been successful in growing the market for its solutions and has also forged valuable linkages with large clients, which has enabled it to acquire both scale and profitability in a relatively short period.
What is the corporate culture in your firm, how do you motivate others and how do you deal with the issues like gender sensitivity?
Our culture is driven by 3 key values – Collaboration, Transparency and Openness. We ensure that the teams collaborate through formal (regular sync ups across teams) and informal (office parties, Friday fun) means ensuring that we continue to operate in a very close knit fashion. We maintain transparency by ensuring that regular updates are shared with the larger teams through town halls and regular email communications. Moreover, the company believes in the culture of openness. Our managers are always stationed along with the team to ensure they are there to support the teams whenever required. The management often shares desks with the team members. Closed door or cabin culture is generally discouraged.
We are a 120 member team and we strive to make our work place fun. Besides regular team parties and outings, we also have recreation zone with indoor games to ensure the teams can relax and bond over such activities.
Unicommerce strongly believes in providing equal opportunities to all. Due to our culture, we have been able to maintain a very healthy gender diversity over the years. Almost 40% of our workforce consists of females, and many of them have been with us for 3+ years.
What are your plans for the future?
The plan is to grow aggressively and sustainably. We want to evolve our product to cater to the complete ecommerce needs of retail brands. We are planning to have deep penetration across multiple geographies such as Middle East, Southeast Asia and Australia.
How do you learn in your life and what is your biggest dream?
Learning is a continuous journey, and we tend to learn the most from the people surrounding us. I learn every day from my young and energetic team, which is always brimming with ideas. I also like to read and engage with external stakeholders to stay abreast with all the recent happenings.
My biggest dream is to make Unicommerce the biggest success story in the ecommerce technology space. Unicommerce has immense potential and with the right direction and investment, we can become a large global SaaS solution provider.
In this hitherto journey you must have faced failures and success, so tell us about your failures?
We believe in the principle of "fail fast and learn faster." Our team is encouraged to try multiple things, record failures, learn from those failures, and repeat. We also expect the team to avoid making the same mistakes again. This lays the foundation for a successful future. For example, when we launched chat support for our customers, many of our clients were unhappy and chose to leave the platform. However, with constant training, both internally and externally, we were able to ensure that the customers realised the benefits of chat support, and continued to be on our platform.
What is the message for the young entrepreneurs?
My advice would be to have a lot of perseverance. Entrepreneurship is not easy, and will throw many challenges at you, but you need to believe in your dreams. In some cases, the desired success or outcome may take longer than expected, but I have seen the resilient stand their ground till they are successful.
Besides this, it is important to be quick to adapt to change. Keep your eyes and ears open to the market feedback and ensure that you are able to provide what the market demands, and get to a product market fit soon.
A combination of perseverance and being true to the market will definitely bring success.
Kapil Makhija, CEO
A computer science engineer from IIT Delhi and postgraduate from IIM Bangalore, Kapil is a seasoned management professional with 12+ years of experience across ecommerce, management consulting and technology in both B2B and B2C companies. Kapil's deep expertise is in growth strategy, go-to-market strategy, business planning, market assessment, customer service improvement, cost reduction, supply chain transformation and operational efficiency improvement across multiple industries. He has significant global in-market experience across diverse geographies. Kapil joined Unicommerce as a Director and soon got the mandate to step up to the CEO's role. As strategist of Unicommerce, he successfully took Unicommerce to new heights and opened the gates for new dimensions and global expansions. He brings an infectious energy to work each day, defining company strategy and direction, gaining alignment and ensuring each team has what it needs to execute. His vision is to make the firm a pioneer in supply chain automation industry by providing a robust and simplified solution.