Tuesday 11 July 2017

Urban Ladder sets aside $15 million for offline store; Pepperfry to open 46 experience studios by 2018

In April 2017, IOS informed its readers about Urban Ladder’s plan to go offline by the end of this year. But the furniture etailer has made this transition before the deadline.

Urban Ladder launches brand new experience store

Urban Ladder opened its first offline store last week in Bengaluru. As omni-channel retail strategy gains momentum, many ecommerce players are pouring money into brick-and-mortar outlets. The online furniture player has also kept aside $10-15 million to fund its offline expansion in the next year and a half. The company expects that its offline business would account for nearly 25-30% business in less than a year.
Ashish Goel, co-founder & CEO of Urban Ladder shared,
“Right now a large majority (of sales) comes from urbanladder.com and we expect that to continue to do very well. That’ll continue to grow at a 35-40% growth rate. The additional 20-25% growth we are expecting for the year will come from new channels.”
The CEO also revealed that the decision to open its offline store was based on consumers’ feedback. Customers had communicated to Urban Ladder that they need an engaging offline platform besides the online portal.

Meanwhile, Pepperfry’s target is to open 46 studios

While Urban Ladder just took its first step by launching its Bengaluru store, rival Pepperfry already has 21 experience studios across the country. The Mumbai-based company plans to open 46 Pepperfry studios by March 2018.
“Pepperfry sees a huge opportunity to lead this growth. Onmichannel is going to be a key growth driver for improving the customer experience. Pepperfry is geared towards scaling the Studio presence from present 21 and has recently rolled out a franchise model with an aim to build the largest Omni-channel network in the country. We will open 46 studios by March 2018,” stated Pepperfry’s founder and COO Ashish Shah.
When asked about the reason behind opening these stores, Shah explained that in the last two years, their studios have acted as a great platform for consumer engagement and marketing channel. The conversion rates of sales are high too (20-25%). But he also asserted that their online platform supports these stores by acting as a virtual catalogue for customers.

Online home and furniture to grow by 300% YoY

In his recent interview, Shah shared some of the industry trends related to the online & offline furniture industry. Some of the key things Pepperfry’s founder said are:
  • Home furniture is $32 billion market which is expected to reach $71 billion by 2020
  • The offline market is growing at 10-15% YoY
  • The online market is growing at 300% YoY
  • In the next few years, home and furniture would account for 9% of overall Indian e-commerce industry and 6% of the home and furniture market
  • Demand for ancillary services like designing and consulting would grow as well
The online furniture industry is indeed growing. The ecommerce furniture category registered growth even after GST implementation, which is surprising because critics say that customers don’t buy big ticket items online. Small & niche players in this category are growing as well. Interior design platform Design Café has witnessed 300% growth in revenue in the last one year. On the other hand, online furniture rental start-up Furlenco is confident about breaking even by March 2018.

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