Bengaluru: Homevista Decor and Furnishing Pvt. Ltd, which runs online interior design and furniture company HomeLane, is setting up mini or pop-up experience centres at co-working spaces across India. The move enables the startup to operate diverse offline models—ranging from larger experience centres to show flats and even a mobile showroom.
Expanding its experience centre footprint at a faster clip is expected to bump up HomeLane’s average conversion rate—a measure of the number of customer visits that translate into actual orders. HomeLane’s conversion rate is currently between 20% and 25%. The target is to increase that number to between 30% and 35% over the next few quarters, top executives said.
Unlike companies that sell loose pieces of furniture, HomeLane’s average ticket size is a high ₹ 7-7.5 lakh, making it crucial for the brand to have an offline network where customers can meet designers and touch-and-feel materials before making purchase decisions.
“The average revenue-per-square-foot we can get from a smaller format pop-up store can be far greater than a destination store. And the micro-market strategy is working because the convenience angle gets addressed. At the end of the day, nobody wants to travel 10km," HomeLane’s chief executive officer Srikanth Iyer said.
HomeLane plans to have around 12 regular experience centres (2,000-4,000 sq.ft each) and around 12 show-flats—flats it rents out from consumers and uses as display centres—by the end of 2018. It is also targeting 10-12 mini or pop-up experience centres in co-working spaces such as CoWrks, The Circle and bluSPACE for these.
In the company’s homeground of Bengaluru, for instance, the customer conversion rate has grown to around 23% from 15% a year-and-a-half ago as its offline touchpoints increased.
“We had budgeted (order book) growth of 3.5 times this year. We’ve already grown 2.5 times in the last six months and we think there’s enough space to grow by another 2.5 times by the time we exit March 2019. So you’re looking at almost twice the exit expectation we had earlier in terms of order book," said Tanuj Choudhry, the company’s chief business officer.
In May, the company said it planned to invest around $5 million to expand its store footprint. The mini or pop-up experience centres were not a part of that announcement. Other furniture and interior design names like Livspace, Pepperfry and Urban Ladder have also been ramping up their offline footprint as India’s furniture market heats up with Swedish giant Ikea setting up shop in Hyderabad last month.