Powering the E-Commerce Revolution
Not many entrepreneurs know the art of turning their passion into business. Naveen Pamnani, Director, 24×7 Mercantile House Private Limited, is one of those lucky few, who turned his passion for restoring vintage bikes into a booming enterprise. His story begins in 2005, when he travelled extensively to the UK and other European markets for promoting Indian handicrafts to global buyers, thanks to his stint with Rural Bazaar. On these trips, while interacting with international buyers, he realized that customers prefer to shop in the comfort and convenience of their homes. And, it is this insight that prompted him to explore the e-commerce platform.
Pamnani’s interest in restoring vintage vehicles began since his early teenage years, when in class IX he restored an old Vespa. By the time he was in college he had restored a vintage Fiat! Realizing that the internet would allow him to reach a wide audience of global buyers looking for vintage parts, he decided to leverage his interest and knowledge in the field into a viable business proposition. In 2009, he finally quit his job to start his own e-commerce venture.
Pamnani’s mission was to deliver high quality spare parts and accessories to vintage vehicle enthusiasts at reasonable prices coupled with top-notch service. However, the idea of selling vintage spare parts seemed absurd to some industry veterans. He contacted several manufacturers in India but nobody seemed to be convinced with the idea. Nonetheless, going against traditional wisdom, he went ahead with his proposition by listing his products on eBay. While eBay gave him the platform to display his products, it was PayPal that enabled him to build trust with prospective customers by providing a safe and secure payment channel. The initial results were overwhelming – and Pamnani quip, “Some men love their vintage bikes more than their wives!”
After his initial success with eBay, he further launched four other websites in quick succession – Bulletwala.com (US), ClassicSpares.com (Australia), RoyalSpares.co.uk (UK) and VintageAutoSpares.com (North America), targeted to vintage enthusiasts across various markets. Realizing that customers are more comfortable using a well-recognized and trusted payment gateway to transact online, Pamnani integrated PayPal on each of his other websites too. With an e-tailing model combined with PayPal as the online payment gateway, Pamnani has been able to save on margins by cutting out middlemen and saving on other operational and marketing costs.
Speaking about his experience of using PayPal Pamnani says, “Consumers are often wary of sharing their financial details online for fear of frauds. This is especially heightened when they are transacting with a seller who is based in another continent altogether! However, PayPal enjoys the trust of buyers’ world over and after having integrated PayPal on my websites, I saw a sudden boost in customer confidence. In the first month alone, my company clocked sales of over $10,000.”
Pamnani claims that though he had the marketing expertise, the use of robust technologies such as PayPal gave him the platform to sell his products successfully.
Today, the company specializes in customized body parts for vintage British Bikes like Royal Enfield, BSA, Triumph, Norton, AJS, Lambretta and Vespas and also specializes in restoration of vintage bikes. Today, the company has over 1,000 customers from around the globe from Australia, Europe, Israel, U.S., U.K., Israel and even Uruguay and is set to traverse the fast track lane further.