Worried approximately what to wear at your friend’s wedding ceremony? Tired of surfing the Internet to find the modern fashion traits? If sure, then you definitely aren't alone – that is all of us’s tale. In a in no way-finishing competition to appearance clever by following the continuing fashion traits, human beings commonly grow to be following either clothes worn by way of celebrities or shopping for costly fashion labels.
And this changed into the catch 22 situation faced by Sujayath Ali, who used to listen a variety of criticism about his fashion sense from his father which led him on his entrepreneurial journey. “As a boy, I had grown up hearing loads of grievance from my dad about my dressing feel or lack thereof. I thought luxurious manufacturers and paying extra for garments will be the key to my outside transformation however that method didn’t seem to assist,” begins Sujayath.
This changed into the instant when Sujayath asked himself – if he doesn’t need to be a geek to buy a pc, then why should he recognize approximately style to buy garments?
He then pitched his idea of creating a brand new manner of shopping to his engineering classmate, Navaneetha Krishnan, who later give up his role at FreshDesk to join him. Sujayath who had put in time in groups consisting of Amazon, Visa also back to India to get their arms grimy and start their own entrepreneurial journey with fashion discovery platform Voonik in 2013.
Now after nearly 3 years of operations with a complete of close to $27 Mn funding from traders like Sequoia Capital, Times Internet, Seedfund, Beenos, BEENEXT, Parkwood Bespin, Tancom Investments, and Kunal Shah, Voonik is growing sturdy in a market wherein set up unicorns like Flipkart and Snapdeal are having valuation troubles.
Bengaluru-primarily based Voonik is currently operating to make style private and reachable thru its hyper-enticing app. The app allows its customers to seize customers’ possibilities inclusive of fashion, body kind, and skin tone and then show them the goods that are proper for them. As Sujayath says,
“We commenced our journey with an MVP after three months of starting off. We have been having stylists manually do the recommendations and the MVP become required to build an automated personalisation platform later.”
Business Model: A ‘Lean’ Marketplace
Voonik follows an interesting enterprise version. It has a scalable ‘lean’ marketplace business model in which it operates without inventory and fulfilment centres. The organization expenses 18-20% commission on every product it sells. The engine takes into account stylist tips in creating a customized feed. On the supply side, it reaches out to the manufacturers and brings a large collection of favor ahead products at ordinary low prices.
As Sujayath explains,
“By getting rid of the middlemen, we are capable of deliver very competitive prices, accordingly removing any need for discounting etc. Also, we maintain feeding market intelligence to our dealers, assisting them in knowing the present day fashion tendencies and in developing styles for this reason. Thus, we're shifting swiftly in the direction of our dream of turning into the united states of america’s largest on-line fashion enterprise.”
Furthermore, Sujayath emphasises on the importance laid on ‘first-class checks and warranty’ of the dispatched merchandise. “We do monitor high-quality for brand new sellers via regular physical first-rate check. But for the relaxation of the products from hooked up dealers, we permit our algorithms to take care. Product feed is extraordinarily receptive to product overall performance. If we receive nice grievance about any product or the return percentage increases for any SKU, the vendor overall performance score reduces and subsequently the visibility of the product on the feed is going down,” says Sujayath.
As Sujayath believes, this is a self-fuelling version which inspires sellers to ensure suitable quality and rewards those products that get better patron engagement.
Discovering The White Space Of Unorganised Fashion
For Sujayath, the release of the cellular app in 2014 and including unbranded categories within the app became one vital tipping point in the growth tale. This led the Voonik team to find out the white space of unorganised fashion.
Apart from Voonik, they have got also launched two different systems – MrVoonik and Vilara. Vilara is a top rate presenting of manufacturers and boutiques that's presently in beta form, whereas Mr Voonik claims to have crossed five,000 day by day shipments inside a month of release.
“We are presently in the method of growing our catalogue on Vilara and get new manufacturers on board. Initial reaction for designers and boutiques is phenomenal. I am happy that we've got created a vibrant platform for customers who're brand conscious,” says Sujayath.
Ecommerce in India nowadays is taken into consideration the maximum challenging sector but Sujayath doesn’t consider this. For him, ecommerce is the very best area to enter if you have a sturdy commercial enterprise model which has a worthwhile direction. According to him, speedy scaling with cash burn is the essential motive for ecommerce not developing and players in this space want to apprehend this.
According to Sujayath, Voonik is producing revenue and that too without burning cash and this makes them extraordinary from other players.
Competing with businesses like Zivame, Limeroad, Roposo, Voonik claims to have the best engagement in purchasing through apps in India and it has grown especially over time. Its awareness is on cellular but it similarly allocates adequate resources for the internet as nicely.
“We are an app-first corporation. In our new tech traits the app continually gets a priority. Ninety% of our customers come thru cellular. But the internet is equally critical for us as we get a better percent of prepaid orders and more engagement such as creating want lists etc.,” opines Sujayath.
20 Mn Users, 17 Mn App Downloads, 22K Sellers
Voonik claims to be developing at an increased tempo. According to Sujayath, it has an annual GMV charge of over $120 Mn. The platform (app and website) claims to have over 20 Mn registered customers, with 17 Mn app downloads.
Within a time span of 3 years, the organisation has built a personalisation generation that seems to have made it the maximum enticing ecommerce app in India.
According to an legit statement, at the supply side, it has over 15 Lakh products from extra than 22,000 dealers. On asking Sujayath from wherein they get their essential traction, he says, “Proof of our concept is a big following in the Tier II and Tier III cities of India, in which a patron’s pleasant style buying alternative is to sieve thru crowded offline shops. And if we communicate in numbers, greater than 50% of our clients’ hail from non-metro towns.”
Not most effective this, Voonik has acqui-hired startups like TrialKart in 2015, Getsty in Feburary 2016, Picksilk in June 2016. It additionally took on Styl and Zohraa to reinforce its technology and construct the ecommerce platform.
“I recognize the entrepreneurial spirit in human beings. Through acqui-hires we have now not simplest obtained a skilled group with a selected ability set, however additionally humans who've the courage to take dangers and the ardour to create patron centric products,” says Sujayath.
On asking Sujayath, how those acqui-hires have benefited the business enterprise, he explains,
“Acqui-hires have given us a gap purchaser and supplier base and new tech platforms. Our key tasks – MrVoonik and Vilara were built and released within 90 days, all way to the acqui-hired groups. Capital allocation is a key pastime for founders and acqui-hires are an powerful device there.”
The crew has also accelerated the range of pin codes in phrases of reach along with integrating online wallets to surge ease of charge and inspire pre-paid order placing. With their recognition on operational efficiency, the startup is looking ahead to four.Five x growth inside the close to destiny.
The ecommerce market is growing as consistent with expectations, but, finally all gamers are focussing on profitability as opposed to customer acquisition. Therefore, corporations are locating ways to transport the customers away from discount-led searches. Funding reductions over a prolonged length is pretty negative in constructing a legitimate enterprise. With the recent demonetisation, ecommerce businesses have also visible a consistent motion towards prepaid orders that enabled them in turning in better client revel in.
In quick, ecommerce in India now has the desired infrastructure and consumer education, to pivot into the following section of increase and price constructing – with agencies inclusive of Voonik, Roposo, Limeroad leading the manner. But in the marathon race to be topped the winner, will Voonik – with thousands and thousands in funding, patron-friendly tech, and a lean commercial enterprise model take the rostrum? That remains to be seen.