SchoolBasix's digital solution helps small retailers take their schooling inventory online

ANI | Updated: Mar 03, 2021 14:07 IST

Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) [India], March 3 (ANI/PRNewswire): When COVID-19 struck the world, its brunt was felt across all sectors. For the first time, shops and businesses downed their shutters, and people shivered with fear at the thought of walking into a store and touching its merchandise before buying.
While adults had a tough time dealing with the many chores around the house, and work-from-home became the new reality, children found it very hard to deal with the ennui. Schools closed their gates, and a new arena opened up in the form of online classes. The sheer joy of going to school in a new uniform and running their hands over new stationery and books now evaded them.
Retailers also had it difficult. With most people avoiding shops and digital becoming a new normal, it was now the only way to sell. When many were looking for a partner to take their business online, a solution came in the form of SchoolBasix.
Founded by Swathy Rohit, SchoolBasix is based in Coimbatore, India. A mechanical engineer by profession with two decades of experience in the healthcare and education sector.
SchoolBasix is a platform that helps school retailers do business online. There are 1.3 billion children globally, but the company currently focuses on 3,00,000 retailers who serve about 100 million children in India's private schools.
With its fast-growing youth population, India has a thriving market for schooling products, which grows from 10 per cent to 12 per cent year-on-year. Indian education is organized, with 93% of the back-to-school market lying in the hands of mom & pop retailers.
A great example of SchoolBasix's success is Venkat, one of the company's first retailers. With a storefront in a crowded marketplace, visibility was always a problem, and he would end up making about Rs 12,000 per month through selling uniforms, books, shoes, and stationery out of his physical store.
This brings us to a pertinent question. Why does a retailer like Venkat, who already has his store, need something like SchoolBasix? When one walks into his store, within a few minutes, one will be able to point out the huge amount of inefficiencies. When SchoolBasix looks at it from the customer's point of view, he is walking into a shop that is about 100 square feet or less, very cramped with inventory, and cannot accommodate more than three people, including the store manager. Stocking is usually done ad hoc, from memory, and there is a lot of deadstock, which results in loss of capital. This is not an ideal situation.
When COVID-19 hit, this small retailer had no means to run his business. He did not have a website nor a dedicated home delivery system. This means he can't upsell or cross-sell any of his wares or services to increase income. This is where comes in.

SchoolBasix Online Platform for School Retailers
SchoolBasix's free online platform helps a retailer take care of customers and provide doorstep delivery. He gets access to SchoolBasix's extensive catalog and software for inventory management, which helps him keep a tab on his stock, customer data, and the means to sell his services in a more organized way. After Venkat joined the platform, which took him only five minutes, he was able to sell via all social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, or Instagram. The perks do not end here. SchoolBasix also helps retailers get working capital loans through third-party NFBCs.
"Our mission at SchoolBasix is to build India's largest online products' platform. We aim to transform 3,00,000 unorganized retailers into superstores. We have also managed to double the retailer's revenue in our first year of partnership with them," said Anmol Vij, Co-founder of School Basix.
* There are several players in single-product categories like Mafatlals for uniforms, Wildcraft for bags, and Amazon for generic categories. But SchoolBasix happens to be the only one who has the expertise to cater to school retailers specifically. It is also the only platform with a comprehensive solution for school retailers digitally.
The company is growing at 2.5x year-on-year, with 162 active retail partners on the platform.
"We are bootstrapped, cash-positive, and are growing aggressively. We are acquiring more retailers post the pandemic and also increasing our share in the wallet of the back-to-school supplies with brand partnerships. We also plan to introduce more categories in ed-tech, like school counseling and online school clinics," said Swathy.
SchoolBasix has been giving retailers like Venkat a firm footing and churning out a very positive belief system. It is helping small businesses survive by expanding across state borders with a virtual push. It has lovely stories of vendors who could double their income and communicate with their customers.
SchoolBasix is also sustainable. As most of the schooling products end up in landfills, the company has teamed up with Goonj, an NGO that collects used-uniforms and donates them to underprivileged kids. Thus, this is the new-age solution for small school-product retailers who want to make it big.
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