When e-commerce first made its way into this country; books, electronics and clothes were the way to go as prices were discoverable and logistics were easier. Furniture was not on top of anyone’s list at that time. But as people grew more used to buying online, furniture e-tailers also joined the bandwagon. One of the first movers in this business, Pepperfry, recently completed three years of e-tailing. Let’s take a look at how they’ve done.
The company grew by over 350 per cent last year, with a current Gross Merchandise Value run rate of Rs 400 crores. Their target is to cross 1,000 crores by the end of 2015. The average ticket size has grown to INR 12,000 for furniture while for appliances it has reached INR 4,000. The company says it sells a product every 30 seconds. At present, the most selling products on the platform are coffee tables, while their biggest chunk of revenue comes from beds and sofas. In terms of logistics, the company has shipped products in over 1000 plus cities and towns across the country.
Coming to the team size, the company has expanded to over 400 employees since they started. They plan to hire aggressively next year and are looking to expand the team to up to 750 employees by December 2015.
Branding and marketing initiatives
The company has also launched 360 degree campaigns in 2014, which included launch of their first TVC. The plan is to continue this in 2015 and launch more campaigns to focus on features and variety, service etc.
Pepperfry also launched their first experience zone called Studio Pepperfry in December in Mumbai and are planning to open more such centres in residential areas in 2015. Ashish Shah, COO and Cofounder, Pepperfry, said, "The idea is to build confidence for our products in our customers’ minds and enable them to make the right purchase decision. These centres will also help us break barriers of shopping for high-value items like furniture online. We are looking at setting up 20 such centres near upscale residential areas. For Pepperfry, these will act as a sustainable model to drive traffic to the website and eventually translate into online sales."
When it comes to sales and their target audience, over 70 per cent of sales comes from the top eight metros. The core demography is the 30-40 yrs age group. Over 65 per cent of their orders are placed over the weekend which gives an impression that most of the orders are given by couples on weekend as they have time to discuss and decide together.
In 2014, the company sold a product every 30 seconds. They shipped 75,000 items in the month of December. At present they get around 40 lakh visitors every month, and over 2.5 million registered users. Around 48 per cent of the buyers on Pepperfry are repeat buyers.
Pepperfry presently ships to over 150 cities and towns in India and plans to expand to 400 cities by the end of 2015. They are also planning to increase the number of their fulfillment centres from 11 to 24 by the year end.
Ashish says, "We are a supply chain driven company. Our core strength is providing variety and value to our customers. We also want to double our product range. Today, we have 11,000 furniture items on our site. We want to increase it to 50,000, thus increasing our supply chain 8 to 10 times. We will be expanding our supply chain and logistics to service all corners of the country."
Earlier this year Pepperfry raised $15 million from Bertelsmann India Investments and Norwest Venture Partners while Urbanladder raised $21 million in Series B funding from Steadview Capital, SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital in July 2014. With fresh funds in the pocket and an increasing number of users adopting for the online purchase model for big ticket items, the battleground has just heated up.