Interview with FlipKart ex-employee and founder at giftxoxo - Manoj Agarwal

Interview with Manoj Agarwal-Founder of GiftXoxo


Manoj, Flipkart to entrepreneurship – How did the journey go?

It has been a great journey with challenges, success and failures. Being from a business family and having seen entrepreneurs all around me from my childhood, I have always been excited to do something of my own. My stint at Flipkart gave me some insights which helped me develop on the idea of . It has been two years now since we started. We are a team of 25+ and doing some healthy business.

How did you get the idea of Giftxoxo?

While working at Flipkart I found gifting as one of the major categories in e-commerce. At the same time, it’s a very unorganized category with lot of players but with very little differentiation or core focus. Sumit, who is one of the co-founders, also came across some interesting concepts in gifting sector which were gaining momentum in the developed countries. Two of us deliberated, researched and planned to start Giftxoxo based on some of these ideas.

Was it difficult to secure first funding to start the venture? How did you approach the funding sources?

We were quite clear from beginning that funding is not a problem as long as the business model and execution is proven. We invested our savings initially and never focussed on funding unless we got the model right. Luckily, our investors approached us when few of them heard about us and our business model. We deliberated and discussed with the investors and finally secured the first round in April 2013.

There are a number of gifting idea and gifting websites. What is that you are uniquely offering from Giftxoxo?

We focus on the problem of ‘choice and discovery’ in the gifting sector. Two of the biggest issues in gifting are – 1. What is best gift suited to a person/occasion/age etc and how do I find it? 2. Are there some smart ways to gift a thoughtful choice so that the receiver of the gift would have some flexibility in choosing the gift. Both of these are fundamental problems in gifting which were not really solved especially in India. We are solving these problems through our gift discovery platform and our in house products like Experience gift boxes, XOXO Umbrella brand voucher, Advitiya Bharat etc.

The experience gifts you are offering are offered by others under different names and different segments. Why that Giftxoxo is has such high profile clientele in the presence of heavy competition? Is marketing responsible for this?

There are few players in the experience gifting sector in India. However the way we package is very different from anyone else who is doing it. We give a choice box of experience which is very elegantly packaged. Apart from that we focus on high quality experiences and never compromise on the quality even if it comes at a higher price. Our major focus has been B2B which is organically giving us B2C transactions also.

If so, what are the marketing techniques you use for the product?

We do B2B sales through our sales team. We are working with 150+ marquee clients and 40% of them are very repeat. We keep adding new clients. We use simple and effective marketing methods like targeted emailers, targeted cold calls, B2B events participation, alternate channel alliances like weddings, travel, RnR companies etc. We also are active on social media and focus a lot on providing quality website experience with latest technological solutions.

What are your future plans for Giftxoxo?

We have some good plans in terms of product and geographical expansion. Our experience gifting is now available for more than ten major cities of India in various categories like Gourmet, Adventure, Travel, Health, Arts & Learning, and CSR. Apart from that we have built a robust gifting discovery platform which ll soon has more advanced features. We are working with lot of FMCG companies to hande their trade schemes and promotions across India.

Sravani is currently pursuing her MBA in IIM Lucknow. An engineering graduate in computer science, she worked in IT field before joining IIML. She is going to specialize in marketing and systems. She is an avid reader, reading everything under the sun and a dance enthusiast. She is currently working with IIMNet ventures as an intern.

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