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Monday, January 1, 2001

Teacher who facilitates online shopping
by Peeyush Agnihotri

Yet another male bastion stormed? That would be too clichéd. To put it simply, Ms Madhu Sharma (36) is the only woman among the top four e-senders for Glidemart, the online shopping site in Chandigarh.

Ms Madhu SharmaGlidemart, which started business in the region some nine months ago, mainly operates through e-centres, kiosks and telephone call centres. The e-centres are managed by e-senders who book orders and get 5 per cent commission on each order executed.

The site has more than 100 e-centres at Chandigarh and its satellite towns. Today, out of Rs 30 lakh of sales done online, e-centres help execute more than Rs 8 lakh worth of it. For being an e-sender, all one has to have is a computer with a Net connection. Though a lot of persons registered themselves as e-senders initially, only a few managed to sustain.


 Madhu Sharma, a lecturer in S.D. College, Sector 32, Chandigarh, has remained ahead of the pack. She went into this side-business out of curiosity. "Earlier, I was just computer-savvy and had no formal kind of training, whatsoever. I had used the Net but was not very confident. Then in February 2000, I underwent two months of training," she says.

"Everyone was apprehensive at first. But it’s so easy that even my 13-year-old son is able to send orders on the Net. All one has to do is punch his or her ID and password. We either receive orders on phone or in writing," she says and adds that the best part is that the territory is not defined.

E-centres at Chandigarh have a tactical advantage because sales tax in on the higher side at Panchkula and SAS Nagar. Glidemart gets more than 60 per cent of orders, through the Net, and the rest of it is taken through telephones.

Madhu gets 30 queries a day and 50 per cent of them are repeat orders. As far as her earnings go, she books Rs 25,000 to 30,000 of sales orders per month. The wife of an engineer, who is M.Phil in English, says it is a good option for housewives.

E-centres are basically meant for those persons who, otherwise, do not have access to the Net. Recently the site has given an incentive of 30 to 40 hours of free surfing for a fixed quantity of items purchased from them.

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