Wanting to tap into the rising wi-fi audio products with Samsung’s entry into the category, Rohit Nandwani launched HAMMER in January 2019
The brand began out with outsourcing its manufacturing but later received an eight,000 sq. Ft. Facility to lessen operational prices and scale its production
The enterprise clocked a revenue of INR 6 Cr in FY20 and noticed one hundred% YoY increase in FY21 because of a surge in call for at some point of the pandemic
Move over, stressed out audio (and accessories). The world has long gone wi-fi, throwing open lifetime possibilities for the likes of Rohit Nandwani. Panipat-based Nandwani set up his cellular accent distribution enterprise Ringtel Marketing in June 2016 and ran it online. But years later, he had insider data that Samsung might ditch the three.5 mm earphone jack and go wi-fi. (Samsung announced the equal in August 2019).
Apple did it in 2016, but the Android market chief’s circulate to wi-fi audio indicated a big pivot as other Android manufacturers have been anticipated to comply with in shape. Besides, the Android OS holds round seventy one% marketplace percentage global and 96% in India, because of this developing demand throughout an expansive market for learners getting into the space.
Keen to tap into this opportunity without further put off, Nandwani released Hammer in January 2019, claimed to be India’s first athleisure wi-fi earbuds. To make certain short sources, he positioned INR 30 Lakh into the undertaking, the cash that his father had saved for his MBA.
Even then, he was past due to the birthday party as Delhi-primarily based boAt, Gurugram-primarily based Noise and Hyderabad-primarily based MiVi had been already running in that space. Despite the competition, he changed into undaunted and in addition diversified the product line to provide wireless chargers, smartwatches and electric toothbrushes.
What Mattered Most: Price Bracket And The Rollout Gap
Nandwani’s idea for the direct-to-customer (D2C) logo came from the statement that consumers seeking out pocket-pleasant products frequently frequented nearby electronics markets and looked for what’s new. This indicated a loss of organised players who might goal low-price range customers. In truth, a huge a part of this demographic turned into underserved, and rollouts of low cost products had been few and a ways between.
So, he determined to come out with a logo that might no longer cognizance on a inflexible product time-frame like its competitors. Instead, he calls his merchandise fast-shifting patron durables (FMCD) and focusses on increasing the class-agnostic basket of products. The brand releases a new product each three months to make sure multiple purchases in one pass in addition to income from repeat customers.
To avoid product pileups, the business enterprise initially does a gentle launch with a small percent of the deliberate stock up on the market. If these are offered inside a specific period, the enterprise begins huge-scale production
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“We perform in a specific niche. From a style attitude, we're an athleisure audio emblem, this means that our merchandise are used at the cross/pastime cause (together with smartwatches, wireless earphones) and additionally for relaxation. On the tech facet, we manufacture simplest wireless devices. Building this area of interest enables us differentiate from the opposition and fulfil the necessities of our audience,” said Nandwani.
The growth of the global wearable generation market reaffirms this scope. According to a file by means of Markets and Markets, the wearable tech marketplace size changed into predicted at $116.2 Bn in 2021 and is anticipated to reach $265.Four Bn with the aid of 2026, developing at a CAGR of 18%.
Of Teething Troubles And Quick Solutions
Although Nandwani is the sole founding father of Hammer, his love for operations and strategies led him to select the designation of COO. The corporation is presently looking out to hire an experienced professional for the role of cofounder and CEO.
The challenges had been many at some stage in the preliminary months as Nandwani couldn't begin in-residence production because of paucity of finances, loss of revel in in product development and a completely small crew. He could not construct a internet site both to create patron touchpoints. So a lot of those middle operations had been outsourced with out compromising on product pleasant.
Hammer partnered with German audio agency Sennheiser for agreement production of its merchandise. The organisation shared its personal design templates and had them manufactured by way of the audio massive. On the retail give up, it took the ecommerce route and listed its merchandise on third-birthday party marketplaces which include Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, Nykaa and others.
The organization started with earphones and other wireless audio accessories but fast improved its categories to wi-fi chargers, smartwatches and electric toothbrushes in sync with its various product growth approach. Hammer has an SKU of 15 categories, and charges range between INR 1K and INR 4K, putting them in the mass-top class phase.
As it does now not intend to exceed SKUs past 15 and constantly rolls out new products, older ones have a confined shelf lifestyles. According to Nandwani, this frequently pushes clients to shop for merchandise faster as there's a timeline for availability.
The method has worked nicely, and the company clocked a sales of INR 6 Cr in FY20. But whilst the Covid-19 lockdowns hit the business in March remaining 12 months and operations were halted, the organization decided to construct a dedicated internet site for higher customer engagement and extra sales. But with an inexperienced team in vicinity, it faced new challenges.
Built on Shopify, Hammer’s internet site turned into released in April 2020, and clocked five-10k traffic consistent with month. But whilst the lockdowns have been lifted, a surge in demand noticed the range of traffic skyrocket to greater than 2 Lakh. Caught unprepared by means of the excessive online site visitors, the website saw frequent downtimes, and the commercial enterprise suffered. But it allowed Nandwani to assume on his feet, and he stepped up tech hiring to improve the website’s average performance.
“It continues to be a learning manner for us. Every new day comes with new demanding situations that we try to solve as satisfactory as we can. It is important to have those challenges to research and grow,” he stated.
The founder-COO’s process-orientated questioning and trouble-solving skills did pay off, and in FY21, the organization recorded one hundred% YoY boom by clocking INR 12 Cr in revenue.
Optimising The Assembly Line
The next intention for Nandwani became to lessen lengthy-time period operational costs via assembling the goods independently. The agency began its meeting-line operations in February 2021 after shopping an 8,000 sq. Ft facility in Panipat. Hammer has already completed seven-8 manufacturing cycles.
“Beginning our meeting line is a herbal evolution. It additionally makes experience logistically as close to 50-60% of the components used in our products are already manufactured in India. We only import positive chipsets from Taiwan,” stated Nandwani.
After the agency started out its very own production, it stopped its agreement production from Sennheiser, accomplishing its independent production.
It become simpler stated than completed. Assembling merchandise, just like walking a internet site, turned into uncharted territory for the athleisure business enterprise. Due to many technicalities related to manufacturing, in its preliminary months, the corporation struggled in bringing both the velocity and nice up to the mark. Quick hiring got here to the rescue once more because the D2C brand delivered in five sound engineers and a product supervisor to optimise its manufacturing techniques.
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As of now, Hammer’s assembly line has an standard production capacity of 10-12K gadgets in line with month. It has additionally commenced manufacturing LED bulbs for Philips. The organization has currently purchased every other production unit to further scale up its production.
A adventure enriched by means of mastering curves has helped Hammer make some particular and not-so-precise branding selections. For starters, the athleisure logo has partnered with an Israel-based totally records analytics firm to apprehend purchaser behaviour on its website and tune the drop-off points earlier than potentialities reach the shopping cart. The records is likewise used to create client profiles and recognize the necessities of its goal demographic. Together, those measures have helped the business enterprise enhance its conversions by way of 2X.
Then once more, after some difficult-hitting analysis, it made a formidable preference and left the popular product platform Instagram from its advertising budget in April this yr. The decision was taken after paid advertising and marketing campaigns on Instagram gave a under 1% person engagement charge. The emblem has additionally strayed faraway from influencer advertising and marketing because of a lack of transparency in engagement and conversions.
According to Nandwani, Snapchat, LinkedIn and YouTube Shorts (the Google-owned streaming large’s quick video format) have labored pleasant for the emblem. The organisation claims to clock a median of 8,000 orders in keeping with month. Out of these, 20% are generated thru its internet site and 70% through marketplaces. The final 10% come from offline channels.
The founder thinks Hammer is but to find the product-market match, and rigorous facts analytics will make certain that by using FY22. It plans to raise the first spherical of investment in 12-15 months and scale aggressively afterwards. The brand is also targeting a sales aim of INR forty Cr by means of FY24.
Barring a few tech behemoths, incremental innovation has come to be pretty common in recent times, and private devices brands lean closely on finding the proper niche to stay sustainable. And Hammer’s journey proves carving a new niche in a densely crowded marketplace is possible.