Indian Express October 2016
First-of-its-kind: E-commerce project brings Bohri Ali shops under one platform
Brainchild of three brothers, though not even a month into the launch, the e-commerce store has received bookings from Ghaziabad, Chennai, Mumbai and Jamnagar.
Every Puneite who has ever visited the Bohri Ali market in the city would know that if it’s a struggle to drive in the area amid heavy traffic and narrow lanes, it’s a greater struggle to find parking space for one’s vehicle. The market has nearly 200 shops that stock up every possible item a buyer can think of and is touted the most busy markets in the city.
To simplify things for customers, a unique pilot project has been launched to bring shops of Bohri Ali under one platform http://www.bohriali.com.
The brainchild of city-based youngsters — Yusuf Hakim, Huzefa Hakim and Burhanuddin Hakim who are also brothers —the e-commerce store was launched on July 19.
“Most of these shops have been in business since the time of Independence and have a strong foothold and reputation in the market, especially the hardware and paint shops. However, travelling and shopping in this market is not an easy task with heavy traffic flow and crowd,” says Yusuf.
The idea struck the trio around a year ago.
“We felt that if these shops have such good foothold in the market, they should also join the e-commerce trend alongside their brick-and-mortar shops as it will boost their reach. Besides, the regular customers can order items sitting at home,” says Yusuf who did his degree in mechanical engineering and worked for Atlas Copco for around two years.
Huzefa is a commerce graduate and Burhanuddin is pursuing engineering. The brothers belong to a business family that is into business of paints and runs a shop in Bohri Ali since 1885.
At present, five shops that offer a wide range of products are a part of http://www.bohriali.com. Since the launch just over a year ago, orders have been shipped to over 700 unique locations across India. The online store carries over 5000 lines with 10 businesses participating.
“A customer from Ghaziabad told us that since his daughter is a fine arts student, he had to visit Sadar Bazaar in Ghaziabad every week. Now, he can order all the material online and will be saved from all the physical effort. While there are plans to include more shops in future, we have not set a target as such,” said Yusuf.
Yusuf added that beside going online, the shops aim to change the way products are sold – by marketing them in new avatars such as Do-it-Yourself (DIY) kits.
“Their argument is that with the shortage of labour and security concerns, the DIY culture in India will pick up. Working professionals cannot go to office just because a plumber is visiting home. These DIY kits can be very useful for such people and provides a very good opportunity for an entire family to come together and execute a certain project,” he says, adding the website gives detailed information and videos on executing a task using the right tools.
In future, says Yusuf, the project plans to include paint services and flooring equipment also.