Suplimart is a Delhi-based e-commerce startup that focuses on providing the best health and wellness products online.
“Sports nutrition is no longer the domain of athletes; it continues to move to the mainstream, largely driven by the focus on protein for both sports performance and weight management,” claims a report by KPMG. In the US alone, the supplements industry is believed to be close to $37 billion, according to an NBJ report.
Needless to say, the market is rich. Taking note of the opportunity that has opened up with the rise of e-commerce, Vipin Tyagi, who was working at Askme Grocery, decided to start an e-commerce portal for health supplements. He, along with his colleagues Ankit Singh, Rohit Pratap Singh, Sanjay Choudhary and Aakash Vashishtha, started Suplimart last year in Delhi NCR.
The initial stages
With this idea in mind, the five friends first worked on a prototype for the business model with a low-cost workable plan, and soon began the work. Rohit says that Suplimart was born with a vision of making a dent in the health and fitness e-commerce industry.
The team claims to source the best health and wellness products from across the globe and provide them to everyone via online shopping. The idea for tying up with different kinds of sellers, not just in India but across the globe, came from their experience at Askme.
The platform provides whey proteins, sports nutrition, weight loss, health and wellness, baby care, skin care, herbal hair supplement, beauty, skin care, ayurvedic products, parenting and health services. To ensure strict quality control, the team ensured that they tested the products and marketplaces, and sourced them only from those they were sure were genuine distributors.
Working towards a plan
Like in any e-commerce startup, the Suplimart team found that logistics and finance management wasn’t easy. However, since the founders had worked with Askme, they had an idea of how to go about building the backend systems and structuring the workings of the company. Rohit explains,
“Somewhere, we all knew and understood the power of e-commerce and the scope of it. We looked at this industry as a revolution, where we were just a part of it and had a chance to make a difference. So, while working and through discussions over coffee, we thought of something that, while not new, still had great scope as there were not so many competitors as far as product line was concerned.”
Over the past few months, there are questions being raised on the business models of most e-commerce giants. Recent troubles at Snapdeal, and the shutdown of PepperTap last year point to the flaws in the system that even established players have yet to tackle. Another concern for Suplimart to take notice of is the presence of established and deeply funded players like Amazon and Flipkart in their space, in direct competition with them on the fitness and wellness front.
Growth and market space
However, in these past few months, the team has made a revenue of Rs 3.75 million rupees, and has over 100,000 visitors every day. Rohit also adds that they are not only focused on providing health and fitness supplements, but are also going to be a one-stop solution for all the health and fitness needs of the individual, with products ranging from the edible to the non-edible.
Many health and fitness startups, both in India and around the world, are looking to improve the lives of people by leveraging technology. Today, apart from e-commerce players venturing into the space, there are also many apps and destinations like Cult and The Tribe that are focused on getting people involved with fitness.
MyFitnessPal, which was acquired by Under Armour in 2015, is a well-known player globally in this space. Closer home, we have GOQii, which raised a $13.4 million Series A funding led by NEA and then brought onboard Ratan Tata as an investor in October 2016. Mukesh Bansal and Ankit Nagori’s CureFit raised $15 million from Accel, IDG, and Kalaari in July 2016. TrueWeight, which aims to help people lose weight through super foods, raised an undisclosed Series A round from Kalaari Capital in 2015.
Looking ahead, Suplimart aims to increase its online sales by 100 percent by the end of the year with the help of influencer and social media marketing. It also intends to partner with additional local high-end gyms and health clubs for crowd pull and with three importers per city and direct brand tie-ups with shared values for distribution channels.
They are also looking to participate in health events like bodybuilding championships, sports tournaments and other health events for brand awareness and promotions. For the longer term, the team is looking at category increment as per different age groups, expansion of the business across regions, and service provider tie-ups for personal training.