India's ace tennis star Mahesh Bhupathi Friday stepped into the e-commerce world by unveiling an online portal to sell sports merchandise, including equipment, accessories, apparel and footwear.
As one of its kind in the burgeoning e-commerce market, the website aims to be the first port of call for sports and fitness related needs of customers by providing quality service at affordable prices through latest technology, he said.
"The merchandise portal caters to sports practitioners of all ages and skills. We have already uploaded on the website over 8,000 sports and fitness products of renowned global brands, including Yonex, Head, Wilson, Babolat, Puma, Adidas, Prince, GM, Arena, Donic, Tunturi and Body Sculpture."
"This kind of initiative was over due for sports enthusiasts and players. Often, sports aficionados buy equipment with no guidance. Sometimes, equipment is ill-suited, not genuine or of poor quality. We strive to provide them with best products and service that will give them a lot of customer satisfaction," Bhupathi said at the launch event here.
Bhupathi roped in Vishal Gupta and Chandra Sekhar Reddy as co-founders to set up the venture -- LiveSports365 e-retail Ltd -- as a professionally managed sports solutions provider to individuals and institutions across the country.
"To be in touch with our patrons, we are also present on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter for comments and feedback. We look forward to interact with our customers and their valuable suggestions to make the portal more lively, interactive and informative," Bhupathi said.
Growing at 30 percent average annually, the sports market in India, comprising sports goods and accessories, fitness equipment, apparel, footwear and nutrition is projected to cross Rs.300 billion (Rs.30,000 crore) by 2015 from Rs.138 billion (Rs.13,800 crore), while the overall e-commerce market is estimated to grow 39 percent per annum to Rs.1,078 billion from Rs.285 billion in 2011.
"The venture is an endeavour to provide a suitable platform to sport and fitness enthusiasts. We are not here to simply sell great equipment. We have live chat with experts and purchase guides to help our patrons make an informed decision on what equipment is best for them. We are backing our portal with delivery logistics based on industry best practices," Reddy asserted.
The website also offers sport and fitness equipment and infrastructure related services to sports academies, corporates, schools, hotels, fitness centres and housing developers.