New Delhi: Pepperfry is planning to open 10 more of its concept stores called Studio Pepperfry by December as it tries to catch potential customers early on, a top official at the online furniture retailer said.
The marketplace, owned by Trendsutra Platform Services Pvt. Ltd, aims to at least double the number of orders in the next one year as it aims to break even by April-June 2018.
“Before making any purchase, the consumer would do a lot of research and consulting with friends and family. Through the studio, we enter into the consumer journey early, where they can see and feel the products. The store doesn’t have salesmen but interior designers who help the customers (to) make the right choice,” Ashish Shah, co-founder and chief operating officer, Pepperfry, said in an interview.
The company on Wednesday opened its 10th Studio Pepperfry at Kirti Nagar in Delhi. It already has similar stores in Gurgaon, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and Kolkata. The first such store was opened in 2014 in Mumbai.
The company, which positions the store as an experience studio, does not sell the products from the store or even attach price tags. Interested customers can purchase online.
Pepperfry lists products from retail brands such as Eureka Forbes and Hometown, sources furniture from small merchants, and sells in-house curated brands such as Amberville and Mintwud.
According to Sreedhar Prasad, partner, internet commerce at consultancy KPMG in India, by opening studios, “an online store like Pepperfry is able to reach (out) to those (customers) who may not necessarily always buy online and especially those who don’t buy online at all.”
Pepperfry will add more studios in existing cities and launch new ones in other cities like Ahmedabad, Kochi, Noida and Faridabad, Shah said. “The studios are located in high street areas, which already have a high footfall of people… so they (customers) are natural to walk into one,” said Shah.
The company was founded in 2012 by Shah and Ambareesh Murty.
It is backed by Goldman Sachs, Zodius Technology Fund, Bertelsmann India Investment and Norwest Ventures, Pepperfry has raised $128 million across three rounds of funding.
In the online furniture segment, the company competes with Sequoia-backed Urban Ladder Home Décor Solutions Pvt. Ltd.
Pepperfry is planning to increase margins by about 10%, reduce the current shipping cost of Rs400 per product, and increase investment in marketing, to achieve its target of breaking even by 2018.
Each studio attracts an average footfall of 35-40 customers per day and 30-40% of those walk-ins get converted into sales on a monthly basis, said Shah.
“We (Pepperfry) believe that we are the leading player in this (furniture) segment (in India), as compared to other competition. And with more players entering the market only means that the unorganised segment that furniture is, will get more organised and we’ll continue to have a large share of the market,” said Shah.
The company claims it earns 100,000 orders a month, earning margins of 35-50%. Out of all orders, 30-35% are for furniture, while the rest are for other categories. However, furniture orders, with an average ticket size of Rs16,000-18,000, bring almost 75% of the revenue.