Ibibo Group has been one of the early starters in the Indian internet space and is today an established brand in the area of e-ticketing across platforms. Ashish Kashyap, Founder & CEO of ibibo Group shares the recent plans of the company, views on the ecommerce industry and Brand India in an exclusive interview with IBEF. Edited excerpts:
Can you throw some light on the road ahead for the ecommerce industry in India?
In my view e-commerce industry in India is going to disrupt the offline retail. In fact India is going to be one of the unique countries where e-commerce will be bigger than organised offline retail. The inefficiency of the offline retail in India is even more pronounced than any other country. Unviable real estate costs, inefficient warehousing, pilferage, energy costs etc are at least 2X more inefficient than any other country. Indian product e-commerce stands at US$ 3 billion today and is clearly expected to explode to US$ 30 billion. We are already seeing brands coming into India and selling purely online. A clear trend which is in fact not even that prevalent in mature e-commerce economies. In the online travel e-commerce space, almost 45 per cent of air ticketing market has moved online ; about 10 per cent of hotel bookings is conducted online while 12 per cent of bus ticketing is conducted online.
The only way for offline retailers to survive is to embrace e-commerce. This is exactly what happened with online travel 5 to 7 years ago. Mom and pop agents that embraced technology survived and grew while thousands of others got extinct. Even the large format travel companies (don’t want to name) who could not quickly embrace online travel, were disrupted by various technology drive online travel aggregators. The similar story is going to repeat for product e-commerce!
What are the recent initiatives at ibibo Group and its impact?
ibiboGroup's core focus is to organise the transportation and lodging industry and connect it with travellers. We own scaled online travel assets such as Goibibo.com (OTA), redBus.in (No 1 bus ticketing platform), YourBus (vehicle tracking) and TBOGroup (Enabling mom and pop shops). Mobile has been the most critical and transformational initiative for ibiboGroup. Our mobile apps of redBus and goibibo are top ranked across iOS, Android and Windows. We are clearly the biggest travel based mobile commerce app in the country. Mobile apps of ibibo have created a strong impact amongst the Indian travellers: Enabling them to make both advance and last minute bookings for bus, hotels etc. Last minute being a big use case on mobile. Besides this our mobile apps enable users to track vehicles and buses and personalise their trips. Things which travellers could not achieve on their desktops.
Besides mobile, we are delivering technologies and platforms to thousands of small and medium companies in the travel space. Be it bus operators, hotels, mom and pop travel agents. I personally believe strongly in the power of SMEs in India!
What does Brand India mean to you?
Brand India for me signifies: Energy, Execution and Excitement. I am a total believer in Made in India! philosophy. Ibibo Group is 100 per cent made in India. Every piece of code and technology has been "Made in India".