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Interview: Praveen Sinha, Co-founder & Managing Director,

“Jabong has chosen its territory and has defined its goals to be the one-stop shop destination for all fashion needs. This focus brings with it a tremendous passion which differentiates us from many others who are mass merchandisers”

Sarmistha Neogy | Mumbai | June 9, 2014

Praveen Sinha Praveen Sinha

Owing to technological advancement and change in purchasing behaviour, today more and more people are hooked to online buying sites. As a result, there has been an explosion of e-commerce portals in India, with each one trying to infuse newness to stay in this competitive race.

This year been in the news for a host of offline activities it has been undertaking. With the FIFA World Cup round the corner, Jabong has undertaken an exciting initiative to ignite the football fever. It has made available the Nike ‘Magista’ football boots for pre-order in partnership with Nike. It has also recently tied up with National Basketball Association (NBA) to become the only online portal in India to be selling NBA merchandise. The aim has been to build a sports portfolio at

Jabong has also partnered with Lakme Fashion Week to give young and emerging designers the ‘Jabong stage’ to showcase their cutting-edge styles. UK-based brands Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridges have made their entry into the Indian market with the help of Jabong. The e-tailer has also tied up with designer Rohit Bal to let customers have easy access at affordable prices his signature designs. The portal has also launched a fashion and lifestyle magazine, ‘The Juice’.

So, why is an online portal, which figures among the top four e-commerce sites in India, changing its focus by shifting offline? spoke to Praveen Sinha, Co-founder and Managing Director of Jabong, to understand the rationale behind these moves and other marketing strategies taking place at Jabong. Excerpts:

In spite of being an online portal, you have been doing a lot of offline activity lately. What is the gameplan behind these activities?

Jabong stands for being young, vibrant and fashionable. Therefore, all our actions and initiatives are always aimed at achieving these. I feel that engaging in offline activities in Tier I cities gives us a platform to provide a wholesome experience of brands to the mass influencers and trendsetters. Our offline activities in tier 2 and 3 cities, on the other hand, are done mainly to educate them about e-commerce and allay their fears about online shopping.

How do these offline activities help the brand to grow?

We hope that in the near future, a time comes when you think of fashion, you come to We want to connect with our target customers through various platforms/collaborations possible to satiate their fashion curiosities. Our main aim is to cater to the needs and the desires of all income groups of the society so that every person can invest in fashion without burning holes in their pockets!

How much do you depend on social media for marketing?

Our presence in social media has always been the strongest with around 2 million fans. Effective affiliate, targeted marketing and adopting global best practices of SEO, SEMs are done to proactively engage with customers. Apart from hosting various marketing campaigns and contests in social media, we have launched an online blog, ‘Juice’, which talks about fashion, lifestyle, food, beauty, interviews and celebrities. Regular Twitter feeds, blog posts help our customers to remain abreast with the fashion world and, most importantly, we get an opportunity to understand their requirements as well. We have also established a robust online support to cater to various queries, concerns and to effectively engage with our customers through one of our official blogs which focuses on customer experience – ‘Jabong Loves You Back’ (JYLB).

How has been the response from Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets? What challenges do you face there?

Tier 1 cities are the first ones to adopt any fashion trend. They not only lead fashion but also heavily influence the trends followed by the rest of the country. We currently get around 50% of our sales from these cities. Thanks to media, which has ensured that fashion has no boundaries, the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities form the remaining half of our sales turnover.

One of the challenges faced in these cities is that many of the pin codes/cities are not covered by any of the courier services. We are trying to overcome this obstacle by tying up with Indian Postal Service to ensure we can reach out to all the corners of the country. In fact, you will be surprised to know that Jabong has received phenomenal response from very remote locations in the North-East and also Jammu & Kashmir.

How much do you spend on marketing on an average annually?

I would be unable to quote exact numbers here; however, we are a value driven company. Our decision to spend or retreat from a given marketing channel is entirely driven by the returns we generate from the investment made.

How much importance does Jabong give to the digital, outdoor and television advertising?

We give a lot of importance to all forms of digital marketing as we believe that, being an online player, our digital presence needs to be the strongest and the most effective, because this is where our target segment lies.

We have launched multiple television ads. The most recent one was the “Bank Robbery” ad last year, where we received a tremendous response. Apart from this, we keep on engaging in a variety of activities, be it collaboration with Bollywood movies (Mai Tera Hero, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani) or running sports campaigns like bringing Chitrangada on board.

How many orders do you ship in a day comparing 2014 against 2012, when you had just started?

It has been a wonderful journey ever since the inception. I believe that having a vision to be the market leader since the very first day has helped us become one of the top online ventures in India within a short span of two years. We overtook most of the prominent players in terms of traffic and orders by 2012 itself.

Why should a person come to Jabong when there are several others offering the same services?

I feel that Jabong has chosen its territory and has defined its goals to be the one-stop shop destination for all fashion needs. This focus brings with it a tremendous passion which differentiates us from many others who are mass merchandisers.

Secondly, we offer the widest assortment with over 1,400 brands and 150,000 products. Our customer will always have far more options for a certain product type on our website than our nearest competitor.

And, lastly, we ensure that we provide our customers with the best of delivery services possible. We have been the pioneers of various services in the industry – open delivery, same day delivery, next day delivery, which were launched in 2012 and that too for free. Some of our competitors have come up with these services only now. Recently, we piloted a real time order tracking using which our customer can see the courier movement on a map. In our relentless effort to create a great last-mile experience, we recently hosted a Design Hackathon, which attempted to disrupt the mundane courier bags. This initiative is the first or its kind by an Indian online retail firm.

How do you add a new section to your website? Do you conduct any research for that?

Any section which goes into the website has to be in alignment with our strategy first. In our endeavour to be the fashion leaders, our buying team ensures that we satisfy our customer’s fashion needs at all points of time. At the same time, we have a very strong feedback loop ensuring every customer’s voice is heard. We frequently engage with our customers over coffee chats and offline events.

We at Jabong have cultivated a collaborative culture, wherein every employee feels he/she is the custodian of customers’ needs/desires. The suggestions received from all the above mentioned stakeholders are further refined by various proactive surveys.

We always try to always remain connected with our customers, fashion connoisseurs and trend setters.

How do you infuse newness to your portal? How frequently do you do it?

There are some changes which are conducted very frequently, like changing the look and feel of the website, informing customers of new offers and new services. These changes are reflected in the central space of our homepage. It is responsible for bringing all the relevant, new and fresh information to our customers at the blink of an eye. Every change incorporated on the website goes through an extensive AB testing.

We also keep infusing fresh stocks every day and to give you some sense of the numbers, there are more than 1,000 new options that go live every day on at the start of every season.

However, we believe that our customers should be at so much ease and comfort while shopping that they can create a basket of their favourite items even in darkness. We therefore do not prefer making drastic changes to the product selecting areas to avoid hampering the buying experience as we treasure every repeat customer on our website. Again, being a customer-centric company, we want to incorporate everything, which will enhance the shopping experience and above all make it convenient for our shoppers.

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