Carkhana.com :- eCommerce for Auto-Enthusiasts

by · April 11, 2012

Carkhana is India’s leading E-Commerce Platform for the Automotive Industry managed by a youthful team of auto enthusiasts, based out of Delhi and Bangalore. The team believes in adding value to the automotive industry by creating a unique alternate sales and distribution networks for products which have an automotive soul.

It has wide variety of products , ranging from

  • Car Interior and Accessories,
  • Car care and utility,
  • Electronics and entertainment,
  • Bike products,
  • Engine and tire maintenance, magazine and merchandise

Carkhana, through its partnership with leading courier companies and last-mile logistics players, offers FREE SHIPPING within India. Currently they do not have cash on delivery facility, but they will be coming up with it soon.

We had the following conversation with one of their Co-Founders and asked few questions about their journey as Entrepreneurs:-

How is it different from other e-Commerce Sites?

E-commerce, the word, today in India is synonymous with E-retail of products ranging from electronics to fashion to all kinds of accessories. However, globally, it extends beyond just the retailing part to dynamic customer and business oriented services. Carkhana as a company strives to be a comprehensive e-commerce player with e-retail as the center but equal focus on offering B2C services like ticketing, motorsports events etc. This is one of the core differential factors.

Apart from focusing on improving customer service, delivery capabilities and creating a unique customer experience, Carkhana believes in creating unparalleled ‘Engagement’ with its target audience. And this is something we have invested our money and sweat over the last one and half years. We started our popular blog at Carkhana and it gained a loyal following of its own with refreshing, youth-oriented and ‘different’ style of writing. The content team was able to have interviews of industry masters like Volvo’s India MD and present it in a crisp, to-the-point manner to India’s automotive enthusiasts. We take this engagement further with our online contests, Auto Quizzes, off-line hangout partners (café stores) etc in an effort to build a community of people who can drive the evolution of automotive e-commerce in India. We are also planning to host car care workshops across key cities in India this quarter in partnership with a leading auto products company, organize a Pan-India auto quiz for young enthusiasts and partner with off-line motorsports events. All this reflects our efforts to create the right kind of engagement

When did you start Carkhana?

Carkhana’s e-retail business went live for the Indian customers from 1st Jan, 2012. But the blog and off-line efforts are more than one and half years old. We did not want Carkhana.com to just be a “nice-to-have” e-commerce portal which offers products which do not really add functional value to its customers. We wanted our products to service strong functional needs of our enthusiasts and therefore undertook a massive validation exercise (from Jan 2011 to Sep 2011) across 4 key auto hubs -Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune to meet professional bikers and riders, auto enthusiasts, motor sports lovers and others in the clan to draw up a list of products and services that will serve their needs in the long run.
Our facebook page and online blog page served as the necessary build-up efforts to the launch of portals and have received an encouraging note from the community. Over the last 8 months or so, our facebook posts have had close to 6 lakh views and 10,000 comments (feedback). Our website has had over 8,000 unique visits and 30,000 page views.

What was the motto of starting Carkhana?

The motto behind starting Carkhana.com is to offer automotive enthusiasts and customers a one-stop shop where they can have access to wide-variety of automotive products (Indian and International) and services (events ticketing, motorsports merchandize) in an engaging and technologically-driven platform. All this backed by a company which works hard each day to delight its ever-increasing audience in India and beyond.

As passionate enthusiasts ourselves, we faced this challenge to find a lot of latest, technologically advanced products by Indian and international automotive aftermarket brands in traditional sales & distribution setup. When we validated such concerns with fellow enthusiasts during our year long quest across key auto hubs, we zoomed in this market gap and thought of creating something exclusive for it.

How has been your journey till now?

The journey till date has been extremely inspiring and encouraging. We have had positive reviews from different sections of the customer base, media, industry professionals and leading automotive companies.

From 1 international brand and 30 products on 1st Jan 2012 to over 200 products from 18+ International brands, we have come a long way in establishing direct relationships with the partner brands/companies.

Our online member community is now more than 2000 members across different platforms, encouraging traffic each day to our website and around 5 shipments a day. We have seen a very pleasing buildup in our demand. Moving beyond the top metro, Tier-1 cities, we have seen strong demand emerge from tier-2 towns and cities, especially cities from Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. These signs are very encouraging for startups like ours in particular and the Indian E-commerce Industry in general.
What are your plans or anything new coming up for the customers?

Our short-term plans for the customers revolve around offering maximum depth in after-sales, performance products, accessories, branded merchandise and bike categories. In terms of the services and special partnerships, we will be shortly announcing our partnership with leading auto magazines, a premium motor sporting event and allied e-commerce players. Constantly improving delivery services and geographic reach, user interface and a dedicated customer support system are also our critical focus areas

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