Penetration of product-based e-commerce in India has been growing rapidly over the past three years with three digit growth in internet users. However, selling services to consumers via e-commerce has not seen significant traction yet.
Salon and spa industry is one of the fastest growing services in the lifestyle category and it’s estimated to be around USD three billion with 20 percent yearly growth.
Mumbai-based Purplle, is an online platform for beauty enthusiasts and professionals, offering personal care products, including salon and spa services. For the company, 2013 was an eventful year as it had crossed a million users mark. It also launched a spa and salon finder platform in four cities across India with 4,000 beauty businesses.
It has recently started accepting online payments for salons. The Purplle Salon and Spa Finder offers both plastic cards and convenient Cash on Delivery (COD) options for some salons in Gurgaon. “The response for the offers (attached with prepaid payment) was overwhelming and we will be coming with more such promotions through the year,” says Manish Taneja, CEO and founder, Purplle.
To push online payments feature, Purplle will lure consumers with exclusive discount and offers. “This is one step closer to our goal of becoming a one-stop shop for online beauty commerce,” adds Manish.
Non-metro cities like Chandigarh, Jaipur, Cochin and Bhubaneswar contribute around 50 percent of the business for Purplle. At present, the startup receives around 800-900 orders daily with an average ticket size of Rs. 1,000. The platform lists over 2,000 spa and salons, and charges them a fixed advertising fee.
Besides services, Purplle also offers products for men and women across categories like skin care, make-up, hair care, body care and beauty appliances. Bullish with growth, Manish claims, “As a consolidated entity, Purplle aims to turn profitable by the end of this year.”
In 2014, the company plans to add four more cities (Pune, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Chennai) to the platform before taking its footprint international. “We see immense opportunity in other Asian countries and will have our presence in at least three international cities by this year,” says Manish.
Purplle secured an undisclosed amount of investment by a consortium of Blume Ventures, Mumbai Angels and The Chennai Angels. “The last round was raised in mid 2013 and we are fairly comfortable with our cash situation right now,” he adds. However, he points out that there are ambitious growth plans for the company, and they would be looking at raising more money to meet the projections in the next few months.