Touching Rs 200 cr in revenue, here’s how Bewakoof plans to grow 4x in the next 3 years
Starting out of a dorm room with an initial investment of Rs 30,000,quickly grew to become a successful business and a lifestyle brand to reckon with. In FY 2019-20, its annual turnover touched Rs 210 crore. In 2019, the startup also successfully raised Rs 70 crore in funding, with global alternative asset manager Investcorp leading the latest round.
Launched on April 1, 2012, by IITians Prabhkiran Singh and Siddharth Munot, Bewakoof’s quirky, funny, out-of-the-box messaging inspired by regional Indian language references saw it establishing an instant connect with the young India. If anything, its organic following of 5.7 million fans across Facebook and Instagram that it enjoys today is a direct indication of the popularity that the brand enjoys with its target audience. “We were one of the first fashion brands in the country to not only use India-inspired messaging on western clothing, but also regional language prints - be it in hindi, marathi, bengali and other languages. With the smaller towns of India going online in the last three years, the USP of Indian Inspiration and regional languages have helped the brand grow further,” says Prabhkiran Singh, CEO, Co-Founder - Bewakoof.com.
Prabhakaran Singh, CEO, Co-Founder - Bewakoof.com
After disrupting the market and establishing a strong foothold, the startup today is aiming towards becoming a household brand and cross the Rs 1,000 crore revenue mark in the next three years. “We plan to go full throttle with our expansion and the next three quarters will be critical in laying the foundation for the next phase of growth,” says Prabhkiran. He adds, “Here, tech is going to be a key focus so that we are well positioned to drive scale.”
Technology: a key growth lever for brand building
As a digital native D2C brand, Bewakoof has been at the forefront of leveraging technology across multiple areas - from product design to supply chain, to improving our offerings to the end consumer. Maruthy Ramgandhi, CPTO, Bewakoof, shares, “If you look at the customer acquisition side, we leverage advanced ML models to optimise our marketing campaigns, and continuously improve our customer acquisition cost (CAC). We also leverage clickstream data and product funnels to stay close to the customer during the shopping process, and launch the right offers to maximise sales and improve customer experience.”
Maruthy Ramgandhi, CPTO, Bewakoof
Maruthy explains that over the last eight years, the brand’s Monthly Active User (MAU) has grown from a few thousands to 10 million+ customers. And with this, the platform too has evolved from a monolithic setup to a microservice based modal architecture. “Today, we have more than 60 different tech-enabled applications or services that power the business from sourcing to managing the last mile deliveries. The size of the technology team and platform investments has grown by more than 10x to enable this growth.”
The move to AWS and the impact
Given the startup’s focus on business growth and scale, Bewakoof recently moved all its operations to AWS in the last quarter of 2020. “In the past, we had been running our data services on their cloud. But, given the platform’s reliability, the numerous plug and play solutions that it offers, and its efficient cost structure, the move was only natural,” says Maruthy. Today, the startup leverages the AWS cloud suite to power our platform backend, marketing tech and data services.
One immediate impact for Bewakoof was the tangible difference in the cloud’s cost. “From a short term perspective, if we were to include the free migration credits, we saw our cloud costs coming down by 30 percent. However, we were to look at it from a long term perspective, the move to AWS is likely to bring down the cost by 15-20 percent, which is a significant number.”
The move to AWS is further expected to positively drive the brands growth levers on three fronts — a platform transition, regionalisation and improving the shopping experience. “One of the goals that we are working towards is increasing the scope of its e-commerce platform, adding more capabilities and SKUs. With this we are likely to see a jump in our Monthly Active Users (MAUs) - from 10 million MAUs today to 40-50 million MAUs in the two or three years.” Regionalisation is another key immediate growth focus area for Bewakoof. “And, the way we are looking to go regional and capture the market is by designing new products that aligns with popular cultural ethos of that region and also ensure that the product recommendations are based on climate, interests or any specific developments. This will involve a lot of data streaming, analysis and decision-making to happen on the fly.” When it comes to improving the shopping experience from a technology perspective, Bewakoof is looking at bringing to the fore an enhanced user experience and enabling customisation at scale, both of which will involve usage of deep tech.
In its goals to achieve deep tech- enabled regionalisation, build a comprehensive e-commerce platform and enhance the shopping experience, Maruthy says that AWS managed services and tech support will play a vital role. “For a brand of our size, there is only a certain amount of tech investments you can do beyond the platform or fixed costs. We would need to leverage SaaS products or plug and play solutions to be cost effective and efficient. It is here we are looking at AWS cloud solutions.”
One of the AWS managed services that stands out for Maruthy is Amazon Personalize - a machine learning service that makes it easy for developers to create individualised recommendations for customers. “We generate millions of product interaction data points and other clickstream events on a daily basis. We have multiple data science applications around product ranking, recommendation and personalisation use-cases that leverage deep tech to create value for our customers and create business impact. Ever since we started investing in these areas, we have started to see steady growth in clickthrough rates and customer engagement metrics,” says Maruthy. Now the startup wants to further leverage DeepTech by exploring AWS’s expertise in the subject matter and products like Amazon Personalize.
In addition to exploring AWS’ managed services, Bewakoof is also keenly looking at connecting with AWS experts and learning from them. “We believe the conversations with the AWS experts will make way for learnings that will help us build better solutions for our customers.” In anything, the initial interaction with AWS expertise has been a testimony to the impact. “Post migration to the AWS cloud platform, we had some intermittent issues in the platform which we were not able to debug internally. The AWS experts from Seattle pitched in to help. They were also able to identify a few key issues and also share recommendations for. logging and improving the machine specification components. In addition,certain components on the Bewakoof platform were witnessing a volatile load even on Business As Usual days. This was a challenge we knew we had to address sooner or later. The AWS experts were instrumental in providing recommendations that helped to manage the machine provisioning.”
Be it the active involvement of the sales and support team to undertake the heavy lifting in terms of architecture or engineering, Maruthy says that the team’s availability and reliability stands out. While it's just a little over 100 days since Bewakoof’s journey with AWS began, Maruthy notes, “With AWS, we have begun to witness some early wins.”