Abhinandan co-founded Browntree Retail Pvt. Ltd (along with Dinesh Kumar) in the year 2009. Having three years of experience in the retail segment, he predominantly takes charge of branding, marketing, e- commerce and also the in-store shopping experience of the customers.
“Our business is not built purely on selling organic products although the organic food sale is on the rise. We offer health food be it dry fruits, spices or organic, customers’ interest in health is growing manifolds due to the fact that no of diseases, unfortunately, are also shooting north. Organic as a segment is slow in growth but steady year-on-year. We are seeing more products being introduced in this line which is a fair indication of customers’ interests in the same,” says Abhinandan.
The focus is on health foods and Brown Tree showcases the quality dry fruits, spices, organic food, health food, sugar free, healthy beverages and roasted snacks. For those with a penchant for finer things in life, Brown Tree offers imported chocolates, biscuits, imported cheese and array of ice creams. An array of gift hampers containing dry fruits, chocolates and spices is there for those who would like the gift their loved ones and well wishers on their special occasions and festivals.
Abhinandan feels that ecommerce in India is reaching a stage of consolidation as very few e-tailers are in green and it’s only a short period that they can burn cash acquiring customers or providing hefty discounts going below the cost price. It is time when companies now look to make profits and we will see some changes in the coming future. However, he adds that, starting an ecommerce store with prominent physical presence is entirely different from pure ecommerce model.“We didn’t want to be a grocery store or a pure gourmet deli stocking premium products. We wanted to provide products that are healthy, tempting yet price sensitive. A huge range in dry fruits, spices, snacks & in-house teas on our private labels is the USP of our business. As far as supply chain goes, products are replenished every day at the store for availability of all products at any given time,” says Abhinandan.
Brown Tree is betting largely on their in-house labeled products. They have tie ups with distributors for product supply in other departmental stores due to lack of presence in certain locations. They are increasing their line of private labels so as improve upon pricing, quality and service.
Initially, they went about marketing themselves as a pure dry fruit and spice store but later they re-positioned as a health food store. For a customer looking for something related to his/her health needs, the brand recall seems far better to them now. A health food store is a segment that’s not positioned by any retailer and this sets them apart from other players.
“Opening a retail chain comes with many challenges and especially in the food sector. Staff shortages and logistics are the major issues that are faced in the food retail sector. Overcoming those challenges and improvising along the line is the key to efficiency,” says Abhinandan.
They have recently launched the online store, and have also introduced the privilege customer loyalty card. Going forward they are looking to open stores in different cities and explore new markets where demand for their products is high and availability is low.
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