Autogully is an online store made for automobile enthusiasts by automobile enthusiasts. It’s India’s only store that provides high quality, affordable and unique modified headlights, taillights, projector lamps and other accessories. At Autogully, you can expect the best prices for your favorite automobile accessories. Save on each product, with up to 40% savings on some items and with free home delivery – anywhere in India, you don’t need to worry about the drive, traffic, pollution, irritating car part vendors and the uncertainty of quality.
Delhi based Autogully is the brainchild of a trio of friends that share a common passion for automobiles. Abhishek Hota and Ahuti Hota, both share a degree in engineering while Deepak Chopra is a budding Interior Designer and CEO of Autogully. Startoholics caught up with Abhishek to uncover more about Autogully and the intriguing stories behind it.
Tell us a bit about your background and the path that ultimately led you towards Autogully.
I always faced trouble getting spare parts for my car. Every time I drove our local vendor, he would end up arguing and would show us low quality products. There was no innovation. Same old hideous looking headlights and dusty car parts. Even when big garages came in the scene, the situation did not improve. Also, I have been always passionate about the automobile industry, it is exciting to be in an industry which is booming & I wanted to start something related to cars. When we discussed the idea of an online automobile store, I jumped at it. I knew exactly why it would click.
How does it differentiate from other such platforms?
Autogully follows just ‘In Time’ delivery where we aggregate orders on the site and buy parts and deliver them on the same or next day. We have less than 1% returns. In addition to headlights, taillights and projector lamps autogully also sells unique items like grills, micro fiber gloves, logo lights, perfumes and 3D mats. Besides accessories, autogully also offers customized car washes on call. We have far more focus on what a customer needs, an attractive and uncluttered web design, which makes us a very user friendly site.
What is the biggest hurdle you have faced or are still facing?
Two main challenges- money and supplies. Since majority of our items is imported, sometimes there is a delay in the arrival of products and this causes a delay in our deliverance. Money, initially, was scarce. Because we have CCAvenue payment gateway we receive payment after every 2 weeks, so in between those 14 days there is a lot of panic.
What is the hardest part about your job?
Negotiating with the local vendors. In our line of business, we need to deal with local shop owners who quote high rates and sometimes are pretty arrogant. They never allowed credit and kept calling us and asking for more time. With lots of time and patience, we made them our friends. This taught us a lot about how to build business relationships and only make promises that we can keep.
What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?
Like every other startup, we made our fair share of mistakes. While making the site, we had trouble getting a developer. People made promises and then broke them. Except this and the usual initial cash scarcity, we have had a smooth sailing. And we did learn a few things. We learnt that customers must come first. Making them happy is the only thing that counts. We learnt to recognize good suppliers and associates, and we now take the trouble to hold on to those we value. And finally, we learnt that nothing is worth doing unless it is done well.
Who would you say is your biggest competitor?
Since we are a catering to a niche market, we don’t have many competitors. There are some online automobile accessory stores which look really bad and their phone numbers do not work. So at present we are working really hard to increase our market, taking out competitors is not our primary focus right now.
What do you think is the most effective way of getting clients?
We have a three prone way of acquiring new clients; Word- of- mouth, social marketing and advertising in newspapers and applications like Justdial etc.
I have found that the most effective way is by delivering the best possible customer support and quality products and never making false promises. If we satisfy one customer a day we consider ourselves successful in our mission. Word of mouth does the rest.
Has Autogully got the feedback and growth you expected since launch?
It has gotten much more than what I had expected! We started with around a few products and a couple of suppliers. Today, we have more than 200 products and more than 10 suppliers. We receive many queries every day, and we try to help each of them. We have been clocking very healthy revenues. But the most important part is making customers smile, this are what defines Autogully’s success.
What’s your funding, marketing and team building strategy?
For marketing we are planning to use social media aggressively, we have opted a promotion plan of Facebook and are posting new deals and related articles. We have submitted our stories to various startup websites like yours to increase our presence in the start up community. We are planning a series of information workshops in auto shows and college fests. Initially we tried for seed funding but investors were more interested in the profits than the business plan. We are planning to approach VCs and angel investors once we develop our infrastructure to the required level. We are a small team and this makes us quick and strong. We have been receiving CVs of many engineers from reputed colleges seeking to work under us. We will build a team only if we need it. For now we three are enough.
Who inspires you?
The huge potential in the automotive sector and the passion for automobiles. And Mark Zuckerberg’s quote, “Move fast and break things, unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough”
What one piece of advice would you give to soon to be startup founders?
Never give up on your dreams and always be self-reliant. People make tons of promises and they rarely keep them. Learn to do maximum things by yourself, be a one man army. Be a gladiator in flip-flops. And have fun, otherwise what’s the use?
Thanks, Abhishek! Don’t forget to check out Autogully and the plethora of automobile accessories it offers.