CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Narendra Firodia – Co Founder, You Care Lifestyle
- What does e – mandis mean? How did this evolution take place in e-commerce?
A mandi means a big market and it mostly exists at a village level. Traditionally it was controlled by a few big sellers who were also in a position to dictate prices and other terms and conditions. The advent of technology in the mandi space has opened up new possibilities for farmers. The Indian government launched National Agricultural Market (eNAM) in 2016 and today it has thousands of mandis associated with it; opening up a unified market for farmers across India. We at You Care Lifestyle decided to be part of this movement two years ago with the view to bring the best of nutrition and chemical-free products along with connecting farmers who practiced ethical farming with their audience at a click of a button.
- Is this trend gaining prominence in Tier 2 and 3 cities along with Tier 1 cities?
The spending power and overall awareness about health and wellbeing has certainly increased in smaller towns. The demand and access to organic and healthy products from all over the country is more than ever. Leveraging technology and necessary infrastructure will boost the e-mandis in tier 2 and 3 cities. Thousands of new rural mandis are already joining the centralized portal and a stronger implementation is possible in the near future. There are farmers from different states doing fantastic work in enhancing the quality of organic produce and an e-market like You Care Lifestyle acts as a bridge connecting them directly to consumers.
- What are the five consumer centric trends that can be witnessed in the next 5 years?
The competition in any business is fierce than ever before, so companies that will adopt consumer-centric practices will definitely be a step ahead than the ones that stick to traditional practices. The biggest consumer centric trend the companies have started adopting is excellent service and a customer forward approach. The companies will be spending more than ever on gaining a 360-degree view of customers in the quest to gain news customers and retain the existing ones. The focus is increasingly shifting to delightful experiences and winning trust of customers. Artificial Intelligence, data, and personalization will be used to enable marketing technology platforms provide better analysis of the future markets and customer requirements.
- Will clean label and organic foods gain traction and dominate this space? Comment.
With the advent of e-mandis, the farmers are in direct connect with their consumers. The digitalization of agriculture allows the farmers across the country to showcase their high quality and organic produce to the people living in any corner of the country. With increased exposure and availability of nutritious and organic farm produce, there is a shift in the eating habits of consumers. Within a year of the launch of our digital wellness market, You Care Lifestyle, we saw 35 percent return audience, which is a proof that the awareness and demand for organic and healthy options has gained momentum and will increase in the years to come.
- Will it also support the farmers for a fair trade practice to boost this segment?
E-Mandis increase the pool of buyers for farmers’ produce. Instead of dealing only with local traders in the farmers’ mandi, a farmer can theoretically buy and sell with the entire country. This improves prices because farmers have more people to sell to; and the unscrupulous local traders cannot take advantage of the farmers. Removing the middle-man, like we have at You Care Lifestyle, also ensures that there is no compromise on the quality of goods. There is transparency in the entire process because farmers can see all the prices across the electronic market. Electronic markets benefit buyers also as the common platform reduces the cost of searching for sellers.
- What are technological innovations that will help to boost this (e- mandis) segment?
Mobile apps, GPS support and smart machines are some of the ways in which farmers are finding support to make Indian agriculture tech savvy. Digital mandis is one of the largest ways in which the digitalization of agriculture is making a difference. Going beyond geographical borders, the farmers are selling their produce at the best prices. Removal of the middleman, allows the farmers get direct access to consumers, regardless of their location. Slowly, but surely the profit ratio and consumer base is increasing.