It has been one of the toughest year for small businesses. Since the start of the pandemic a year ago, many of them are closed for good and others who survived had to pivot and change gears to exist. On the flip side, bigger players like Amazon and Walmart had one of their best year. For an online marketplace like desiclik.com; it was no smooth sailing during this pandemic year.
Desiclik.com is a niche online e-commerce marketplace that specializes in catering to the growing demand of Indian Products in the USA. Started in 2014 by an Indian couple, desiclik.com is a women led small business that is completely bootstrapped and has been growing organically. As the pandemic started to peak between March thru June in 2020 and the demand for essential items like Indian grocery and traditional Indian cookware was growing; many Indian stores who sell online thru desiclik.com online marketplace portal had to temporarily shut down their operations due to lockdown, safety of their workers, surge in online demand and lack of supply from India.
As more and more people were working from home, restaurants were closed; people not venturing out due to lockdown; the demand for grocery, cookware or anything that helps family’s bond together like carrom board peaked since more families were cooking at home and spending more time together.
With many of the physical Indian grocery stores closed or had limited operating hours, online demand for Indian grocery delivery were surging and they too were running out of goods with empty virtual shelves. As prices were rising thru the roof due to shortage in supply and suppliers, desiclik.com was trying to locate and add new grocery suppliers to its Indian marketplace to meet the surging demand from customers. They were able to join hands with some wholesale distributors who specialize on grocery items like lentils, atta, mixed flour, spices and snacks; were more family-based businesses and still operating from their warehouses for deliveries. This helped them with coping up with the demand.
When asked about the secret of growth, future plan and share some experience during the pandemic; the owner Sadhana Bothra mentioned – The secret sauce is to be able to find a way out when times are tough. Connecting with customers at a personal level and provide them with exceptional service goes a long way in turning visitors into customers. She recalled an incident when a lady called in during the peak of the pandemic in May 2020 for wholewheat flour to make roti (Indian bread) for her kids. Even though we were completely sold out, we were able to meet the request thru new partners. Our phones would ring over 100 times every day and we tried to answer every call. Many of those customers we served during the crunch time are now our regular customers. I am really happy that we have also helped many stay at home moms who sell with us were able to keep their business open during the pandemic and generate good sale as more customers were buying online.
In next five years, we plan to become the Amazon for ethnic Indian products outside of India.
We see an incredible growth potential for this business, both among Indians and mainstream Americans. Thousands of Indians / South Asians migrate to USA every year either for study, research or work, thereby constituting over 1% of the total US population which means there is a palpable demand for Indian grocery, traditional Indian clothes, handicrafts, cookware and so many other Indian products in America. The vibrant culture of India, Bollywood Movies, Indian cuisine and globalization has had a significant impact on traditional Indian products in making them popular across the globe. We are also increasing our footprint in reverse gifting area by partnering with some vendors in India who can directly deliver gifts on any occasions like festival, birthday or anniversary to family and friends back in India.
DesiClik is a NY based niche e-commerce marketplace specializing in Indian products that span across 150+ categories. Some of the most popular categories are Indian grocery, kitchenware, traditional Indian clothes, ethnic jewelry, handicraft, gifts, furniture, restaurant equipment, religious puja items, festive goods and household items. The company was formed in 2014 by an Indian couple and is a bootstrapped woman led venture started by Sadhana Bothra who gave up her wall street IT carrier in 2000 to raise her kids.