Toolkit

As part of our #Outlook16 series, we asked services marketplace companies – EasyFix, LocalOye and Fixy about their focus areas for 2016, and the challenges that the sector needs to address. Answers have been edited for brevity.

Which were the top developments in the sector? How has the sector changed between 2014 and 2015?

Shaifali Holani

Shaifali Holani

Shaifali Holani, EasyFix

2015 was a boon for the service industry with multiple entrepreneurs starting this business and some also securing funding. As all companies are trying to work towards the common goal of organising the unorganised/fragmented market, it’s effort’s ripple effect will provide benefit to all players.

Aditya Rao, LocalOye

The one major change that we saw in 2015 is an influx of funds from angel investors and institutional investors alike in this sector. The industry still remains at a nascent stage and will witness a lot of consolidation going forward.

Nabeel and Tufayl Merchant, Fixy

– Increase in competition
– Acceptance from servicemen like your electrician, plumbers to the digital entity
– Growing demand from consumers who seek professionalism as part of the service delivery

What were the biggest challenges with respect to the services sector in 2015?

Shaifali Holani, EasyFix

2015 brought some structure to the service industry. While on one side the customer’s mindset is changing as he now knows he can get a plumber from a company (vs when we started) and alongside, the unprofessional plumber is learning the importance of customer service.

Aditya Rao, LocalOye

The biggest challenge which needs to be solved is the convenience of quality service delivery to the customer. Organising this huge industry is the next big thing happening in India.

Nabeel and Tufayl Merchant, Fixy

The sector continues to be highly unorganised.

What were the most popular services among customers in 2015? Why?

Aditya Rao, LocalOye

Our services in home, beauty and health & fitness witnessed more traction with our repeat customers.

Shaifali Holani, EasyFix

Carpentry services, thanks to online furniture sellers, have shaped up in past 2 years and the next 2 years sanitary and hardware manufacturers may also start delivering free installation service to their customer. As the service industry is shaping up, the customer’s expectation to get hassle free installation when buying other products (refrigerator to geyser to chimney) from dealers or online is also increasing.

What were the trends in the sector that surprised you in 2015?

Shaifali Holani, EasyFix

Government did roll out many schemes for labour laws, ITI institutes, NSDC initiatives etc but sadly nothing significant has been seen so far. By 2017, we think much will be done for this genre and we will be able to contribute to government initiatives towards bringing a difference to the way ITIs are run and construction is done in India.

Aditya Rao, LocalOye

We were amazed at the number of start-ups propping up in this space, thereby reiterating our belief in this space.

Nabeel and Tufayl Merchant, Fixy

– Demand was upwards through the year and not just during the festive times
– Quick adoption of the business model by handymen and vendors

What was the split for traffic for mobile and web in 2015? Additionally, what is the split for traffic for mobile app and mobile web during the year?

Shaifali Holani, EasyFix

A customer doesn’t have to click to download an app or fill details. Instead our agent enquires details about the problem so that technicians with appropriate tools can be sent. Website bookings are 30% of total volume and remaining 70% are via call center.

Aditya Rao, LocalOye

Mobile: 70%
Web: 30%

Nabeel and Tufayl Merchant, Fixy

Traffic from mobile and website is split equally.

What are the challenges that you are facing while expanding into different areas?

Shaifali Holani, EasyFix

– Standardization in operations
– Language barrier
– City offices
– A copy paste of EasyFix’s brand awareness in new city.

Aditya Rao, LocalOye

The services industry faces one major challenge of quality. The challenge is to build a robust network of qualified, reliable and assured service partners which will ensure that customer keeps on returning to your platform.

Nabeel and Tufayl Merchant, Fixy

– Building stickiness with supply in a particular area
– Consumer mindset and behaviour
– Pricing

What are the likely trends that you expect to see in 2016? Why?

Shaifali Holani, EasyFix

In 2015 we saw multiple startups pop up and in 2016, I am expecting some mergers along with or takeovers & winding up.

Aditya Rao, LocalOye

This space will see the same activity that e-commerce segment in India is currently seeing with 1 or 2 players emerging as clear market leaders and 2016 will witness the initial signals of that.

Nabeel and Tufayl Merchant, Fixy

– Increase in incentivising the customer to use services will see a rise
– The segment will be more professionalized in terms of the services provided

What do you intend to focus on in 2016 and why?

Aditya Rao

Aditya Rao

Aditya Rao, LocalOye

Our focus is currently to expand our palette of services. We want to offer services which are not only useful but are also extremely unique — niche but have genuine demand in the market. We currently offer more than 100 services on our platform and our aim is to reach 250 services in 2016.

Nabeel and Tufayl Merchant, Fixy

– Business expansion in Mumbai is a priority, we see a rise in demand from locations like Thane and Navi Mumbai
– Focus would also be on automation of the supply side management and operations

What categories and sub-categories will drive the growth of the sector in 2016? Why?

Shaifali Holani, EasyFix

From services we provide – plumbing, electrical and carpentry as customers will demand for hassle free installation service after buying the product.

Aditya Rao, LocalOye

Some categories see a huge spike during a particular time frame. For eg: our home cleaning services see a huge demand during important festivals like Ganesh Chathurthi and Diwali, Our beauty services see a huge demand during the wedding season, etc.

How many requests did you get on an average in a week in 2015? How has it changed since 2014 and why? What are your expectations for 2016?

Shaifali Holani, EasyFix

2014: 20
2015: 450
2016: 1,000 (projected)

Aditya Rao, LocalOye

We currently get close to 2,500 – 3,000 service requests per day. This is a significant increase from our numbers in 2014, when we used to get close to 400 service requests per day.

Nabeel and Tufayl Merchant, Fixy

On an average we receive 2,000-2,500 requests a month.

What trends have you noticed in terms of the mode of payment used by customers? How have they changed since 2014?

Shaifali Holani, EasyFix

We collect cash on delivery and all our customers are comfortable paying cash. We have seen 0.1% customers asking for payment gateway option to whom we ask to pay via Paytm or NEFT.

Aditya Rao, LocalOye

Our customers pay our service partners directly after the service has been delivered. We are in the process of integrating online wallets on our platform very soon.

Nabeel Merchant and Tufayl Merchant, Fixy

Customers prefer CoD mode but increasingly payments through wallets are picking up.

What are the challenges related to access to trusted service providers in 2015? How were they different from 2014? How do you expect things to change in 2016?

Nabeel Merchant and Tufayl Merchant

Nabeel Merchant and Tufayl Merchant

Nabeel Merchant and Tufayl Merchant, Fixy

– Verified and trusted service providers
– The quality still remains a challenge as the market is very unorganised

Image Source: Janne Moren under CC BY SA 2.0