Urban Ladder plans offline push, new brand identity

The online furniture store is also awaiting approval from the department of industrial policy and promotion for a single-brand retail licence


Urban Ladder Home Décor Solutions Pvt. Ltd will launch a new brand identity, widen offline distribution channels beyond company-owned centres and streamline product offerings as the Bengaluru-based start -up aspires to evolve from an online furniture store into a brand.

The company is awaiting approval from the department of industrial policy and promotion for its single-brand retail licence, said Ashish Goel, Urban Ladder’s co-founder and chief executive.

Urban Ladder, which is already listed on online marketplaces Amazon India (Amazon Seller Services Pvt. Ltd) and Flipkart, plans to launch at least three experience centres over the next 8-12 months in Bengaluru, as well as explore large format retail stores by setting up pop-up stalls.

The company also has its eyes set on local furniture stores, where it might take the assisted commerce route through kiosks displaying the Urban Ladder catalogue. It will also explore partnerships with paints and white goods appliances brands among others, which may involve cross-selling.

“Multiple customer segment identification is the key. Somebody else can own the distribution channel—for instance Amazon and Flipkart. There are also a few things we are trying to do offline, beyond the experience stores, say pop-up stores among others,” Goel said. “One piece is partnering with product brands which are operating in the broader space that we are operating. The other is point of sale partnerships with retail stores,” he added.

According to Goel, Urban Ladder has trimmed the number of products sold on its platform from about 5,000 a year ago to about 4,000 and aims to prune the list further to about 3,000-3,500 units in the next 12 months, a move that he says would give the firm more bandwidth to focus on quality and customer service.

Urban Ladder has also initiated a branding overhaul with the creation of a new logo and tag line to support its transition from an online furniture store to a brand.

Called Let’s Create, the new identity is expected to help the company retain its premium positioning despite its presence on multiple e-commerce marketplaces.

The new logo will have an empty box, which symbolizes an empty room, with the text below it. Besides, the company has changed the colour of its logo to orange from a combination of orange and grey earlier.

With a greater focus on merchandise visualization, the brand will also revive the Look Creator app that will enable consumers to drag and drop merchandise available on Urban Ladder to view a desired look for their homes before ordering. The app was launched in March last year and discarded within three months.

“The idea is to convey the message that Urban ladder will bring back the joy of creating, starting with your homes. We call it Let’s Create, where we create homes that reflect the consumer as an individual,” said chief marketing officer Sanjay Gupta.

Urban Ladder is one of the most well-capitalized online furniture businesses, backed by TR Capital, Sequoia Capital, Steadview Capital, SAIF Partners and Kalaari Capital. The company has raised about $77 million so far in private equity, the last being a $50 million round in April 2015, apart from a venture debt of $3 million from Trifecta Capital in August.

Urban Ladder competes with Pepperfry (Trendsutra Platform Services Pvt. Ltd), which has so far raised more than $160 million from Goldman Sachs, Norwest Venture Partners and Bertelsmann India Investments among others, and Bessemer Venture Partners-backed Livspace, which has so far raised about $28 million.

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