How StayHappi Pharmacy opened 279 outlets in just a year to provide affordable medicines across India

StayHappi was founded in 2018 in New Delhi with an aim to ensure that everyone in the country gets quality medicine at an affordable price. Founder Arushi Jain explains how they are able to provide pills that are way cheaper than the ones available in other pharmacies.
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Arushi Jain, Founder, StayHappi with brand ambassador Sourav Ganguly

Arushi Jain was 23 years old when she spotted the gap in the pharmaceutical industry. She was working at Ernst & Young as an internal auditor and while auditing the reports of various pharmaceutical companies she wondered why medicines are not sold at more economical prices in the market. 

Arushi has a family background in the pharmaceuticals industry, with experience in retail, distribution, and manufacturing. Hence, she understand the industry gap and the need for affordable medicines in the country. 

She founded StayHappi in January 2018 in New Delhi with an aim to ensure that everyone in the country gets quality medicine at an affordable price.

If we could get luxury items at an affordable price, then why not life-saving medicines? There are brands selling affordable medicines but the majority of them focus on profits. I wanted to open an entrepreneurial venture that looks way beyond generating revenues and aims at benefitting the society,” Arushi tells SMBStory.

In a conversation with SMBStory, she delves into the StayHappi journey so far and how the company is using digital channels to mark its presence.

Edited excerpts of the interview:

SMBStory: How did you start StayHappi? What is the business?

Arushi Jain: The idea behind starting StayHappi Pharmacy was to ensure that everyone in the country gets quality medicine at an affordable price. The brand aims to serve humanity and build its offline channels where it could reach consumers/patients and provide them with the authority to make a smart choice and choose the right medicine at a reasonable cost.

It is a noble initiative, effectively marrying business acumen with human compassion. It is directed at one of the most pressing concerns of the society today, ie., availability of affordable and quality medication to all those are in need; a true societal cause to it very core. 

SMBS: How are the medicines manufactured?

AJ: StayHappi has partnered with India’s leading pharmaceutical manufacturing companies and is working towards maintaining the highest standards of quality medicines.

One of our contract manufacturers is AKUMS, an internationally recognised WHO-GMP certified manufacturing unit in Haridwar from where we source medicines. The drug formulas and R&D is done by the contract unit itself. We have a team of quality auditors who frequently visit these units to supervise on the quality parameters. 

StayHappi has a product basket expanding to 550+ medicines targetting 70-80 percent of India's overall consumption, almost across all therapeutic segments, excluding oncology and tuberculosis. 

StayHappi medicines

SMBS: What is the market size of your sector and how are you differentiating from the competition?

 

AJ: The entire pharmaceutical market is estimated at Rs 1,15,000 crore, of which the organised pharmaceutical retail market size in India is estimated to be Rs 2,600 crore.

 

A Mint analysis of data from the last National Sample Survey Office health survey conducted in 2013-14 shows that 36 million households incurred health expenses that exceeded the annual per capita consumption of those households.

 

Rural India accounted for 25 million of the 36 million households, which faced catastrophic health shocks, while urban India accounted for the remaining 11 million. I think these data points are enough to get this unique and different concept to roll in the country to offer high-quality generic medicines at a real value than continuing with branded drugs that are prevalent in the Indian market since ages.

 

This is a clear gap and StayHappi intends to address the disheartening parity between the purchasing power of the citizen and the prices of medicines in our country. StayHappi is different from its competitors in its vision as well as intention to serve while earning.

 

SMBS: What is your business model? How are you able to sell medicines at competitive prices with existing brands?

 

AJ: At StayHappi, I do not believe in implying Medical Representative (MR) business model. Our business model follows ethical trading medium where we focus on our retail outlets. Since the inception, we focussed on opening our own stores to sell the medicines. We also follow franchise and store-in-store model where we set up a kiosk in an existing outlet introducing customers to our medicines. 

 

This business model saves a huge amount on promotional costs, thus eliminating the MRs. We are hence able to cut down the costs. Also, we order bulk medicines in bulk, and this too reduces the overall cost of the product.

 

With StayHappi Pharmacy, patients can buy high-quality generic medicines manufactured with world accredited experts at prices that are 30-90 percent less than the commonly retailed price of the same medicine in India. To cite an example, a diabetic patient, who consumes Glimepiride 2mg every day, will save around 75 percent on his monthly medical expenditure by purchasing annual supply at Rs 540 from StayHappi Pharmacy against an average retail price of Rs 2,175 from other brands in the market.

The brand opened its first store in May 2018 and in just one year, the brand has been able to open its stores 279 locations across 67 cities in 12 states including Delhi/NCR, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and more. The brand plans to have 1,000 stores within 2019-20 and has brand ambassadors like Sourav Ganguly and Vidya Balan.

StayHappi brand ambassadors Sourav Ganguly and Vidya Balan

SMBS: How are you using digital in your business?

 

AJ: We are using both digital technology and digital marketing in our business journey. Our ERP-cum-retail billing software is highly evolved and aids customer data capturing, management, and mining in the most organised way. This helps us provide customised offers, discounts, and packages based on the demography, location, customer preferences, and other criteria. 

 

It also helps us support our business partners in their day-to-day operations, such as warehousing, stock, sales reports, purchase reports, accounts management, and more.

 

SMBS: What are the future plans of the company?

 

AJ: We are planning to open around 2,000 more stores in different locations by 2020. As our aim is to offer medicines to the people across India at affordable prices without compromising on the quality of the products, we will continue to strengthen this business model.