Shobhit Bansal had just graduated from business school when he decided to return to his family’s decades-old textile business. “When I shared my plans to modernize the business, my ideas were dismissed,” he says. “So I branched out and started retailing fabric through an online marketplace.”
In two months, Shobhit achieved sales worth Rs 1 lakh (almost USD 1,400). This encouraged him to start an e-commerce platform for the business. Then, a family dispute resulted in him having to give away the business he had just built.
That’s when he started The Libas Store in January 2018 as an omni-channel business retailing fabric for suits and shirts.
“It had taken me four years to build an online business,” says Shobhit. “I had to start from scratch.”
In just over a year, The Libas Store achieved an annual turnover of Rs 1.4 crore (approximately USD 195,000). According to him, “Our online sales have grown five times and continue to grow rapidly.”
Shobhit believes that a platform like WhatsApp can be leveraged to his advantage.
“We use the WhatsApp Business app to connect with customers to answer queries and market our products. In fact, customer referrals through WhatsApp alone contribute to about 5 percent of the business.”
He believes the WhatsApp Business app is a blessing for small businesses.
“It helps create brand identity and authenticity by enabling users to access details on the profile. That apart, features like broadcast and quick replies are just what small businesses like ours need,” says Shobhit.
The Rohtak-based business is ramping up its operations to start selling customized stitched shirts and to expand their offline footprint. “By the end of 2020,” says Shobhit, “we want to set up an offline store in the NCR, and in the next five years, set up at least five stores across India.”