Tuesday 17 January 2017

Urban Ladder keeps its word, announces plans to open physical stores by end of year

Following the footsteps of arch rival Pepperfry, leading online furniture Urban Ladder has announced plans to open brand experience physical stores. It is following up with its plans to establish stores to assist its buyers. The company aims to have ten stores in Mumbai, Delhi, and home base Bangalore by the end of this year.
Going offline is an attempt to increase sales, says Rajiv Srivatsa, co-founder and COO, Urban Ladder. He said,
“Beds, sofas and dining furniture are our core products from range, pricing and value proposition perspectives. However, only 40-50 per cent of our sales comes from these three core products, whereas, for many of our competitors that percentage is closer to 60-70 per cent. Since these core categories are higher-ticket items, having more of an offline presence would have helped us sell more. Also, we now know what gaps need to be filled from the selection and pricing perspective.”

The long trek towards profitability

Urban Ladder has said that it intends to turn profitable by 2018. The company has moved to a single brand model from a marketplace, opened a store in Amazon, had a brand refresh, and reduced its expenses by cutting down ads.
It has been plagued by increasing losses due to rising costs, for which it has taken suitable steps. Srivastava says,
“The last 12 months was spent removing all inefficiencies from the system – we froze recruitment and back-filled voluntary exits from our internal team, cut down on wasteful spend by stopping TV ads since last February, and drastically reduced our product range.”
He claims that the hard work has paid off, and the company is setting its sights on the next milestone,
“We are now looking to achieve 60 per cent YoY growth on the back of the savings that we achieved last year.”

Physical stores a common thread

Most etailers are realising that having a physical presence will help their brand. Amazon had set the ball rolling. In the recent past, Yepme and Myntra have launched their physical stores, pushing Flipkart to consider stores of its own. Others like Zivame and PepperFry had also established their physical presence.
Hybrid retailing is a healthy balance between etail and retail. Ecommerce is slowly warming to the prospects of a combination to ensure a good growth. 

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