eCommerce entrepreneurs have realized that niche is the way to go and we've seen a host of companies coming up trying to target a specific market. The online “pet lifestyle” stores are not alien to this trend. We have seen Dogspot, Urban Brat, Heads Up for Tails, AskforPets, Tupples, and now we have Woofilicious, that caters to the pet products industry.
From the consumer side as well, a general observation will reveal that people have started splurging more on their pets than ever before: my neighbor’s pug gets to wear a superman sweater in winter. For the totally uninitiated, you’d be surprised to see that there are a lot more dog grooming parlors, dog parties and events, and doggie day cares now than there were 2 years ago.
People tend to build a very strong emotional connect with pets and many a times you'll see that this connection overpowers a human to human connect. So was he case with Swaty Chandel who started up Woofilicious in 2011. Swaty has a Master's degree in Engineering from US and was working in the field of education and instructional design prior to starting Woofilicious. “Monk, my pug puppy was the motivation behind Woofilicious. After he came into our life, he became the center of our universe. I wanted the best things for him, and was utterly disappointed at the lack of good quality accessories in the market. My experience abroad gave me the idea to bring all those lovely goods for the Indian pets, and the motivation to reach to not just metros but tier-2 cities as well, gave me the idea of starting an online portal,” says Swaty.
Swaty is assisted by Swati Ramnath, an avid writer and ex-social media marketer for different companies who manages the online promotions and content management, and Rohini Manyam, who helps her with website management and everyday operations. Rohini has also been working with rescue and rehabilitation of abandoned pets and Indian dogs for the past 2 years and is a big part of the Precious Paws Foundation.
Today, Woofilicious sells designer labels to personalized products, luxurious handcrafted collars to casual accessories, grooming needs to toys and treats, everything one needs to pamper your “furry kid”. There are 200+ products on offer. And, besides the regulars like collars, harnesses, grooming accessories, toys etc, it stores jackets, sweaters, and hoodies for winters, raincoats and booties for monsoons, mesh and cotton tees for braving the summer. The casual cotton dogtees with captions, dog shoes, and Puppia body harnesses are some of the best selling products on Woofilicious.
Since most of the products are directly imported by Woofilicious, they’re stocked at their warehouse, and shipped directly from there. A small percentage of the locally procured products are on drop-ship basis, where the inventory is maintained at the vendor’s end.
Talking about the traction, Swaty says, “In the last 6 months we have seen some real growth in terms of registered users on our website as well as the revenue from the e-store. Right now we have 30-40 new users signing up every month. Average order value has also gone up to Rs.1500 -1800.”
Quality comes with a price. Woofilicious imports most of its products and hence the prices tend to be above par. However, they are planning to include some of the home grown brands as well to maintain a range of prices. Currently, brands like Ruff Ruff and Meow from US and Puppia mark their presence on Woofilicious.
Woofilicious sends weekly DIY articles where one can learn fun stuff like making homemade treats and toys for pets to the more serious like making an emergency/first-aid kit for dogs at home. Woofilicious also works closely with Precious Paws Foundation which is an NGO working towards the rescue and welfare of Indian breeds and abandoned dogs in Bangalore. One can buy PPF merchandise from Woofilicious to support fund raising and get to know about the upcoming adoption camps from the newsletters and event announcements.
Are you game for treating your pet with some international goodies?