Pepperfry.com’s Founder and CEO Ambareesh Murthy could hit the wave of news before he launched his venture in 2012. The former India Country Manager of eBay, Murthy could fetch a funding of US$ 5 million ‘Series A’ funding from Norwest Venture Partners and that made him an admired entrepreneur in the start-up world. His vision was clear as he wanted the modern Indian consumers to indulge in shopping related to lifestyle products. However, since 2013, the company pivoted to sell only furniture and home décor products sourced from SMEs, artisans and large brands in multiple cities across India.
Present Business model
Pepperfry operates on a 'Managed Marketplace' model. Currently, the website has over a 1,000 plus merchant partners, who can showcase their design skills, craftsmanship and service orientation to customers across India and the world. It also provides carpenters to assemble furniture items in major cities on the same day. In December 2014, the company launched its first concept store 'Studio Pepperfry' in Mumbai. This was followed by a similar Studio opening in Bengaluru, Gurgaon, Mumbai, Kolkata and in Pune. These Studios have been conceived as experience zone to showcase a curated range of furniture from Pepperfry’s online portfolio and provide design consultancy.
During these years, Pepperfry has become a household name for offering differentiated product range across categories like Furniture, Home Décor, Furnishings, Lamps & Lighting, Kitchen & Dining, Appliances, Bath, and Housekeeping. The company recently launched its app in June 2015 to assist millions of Android and iOS users to make their decisions in a more informed manner using the enhanced ‘Augmented Reality’ features.
The idea to Pivot
As per Murthy, Furniture and Home Products constitute a large US 30 billion market segment. He said, “The long tail nature (large variety driven by multiple merchants) of these categories synced well with our marketplace business model. Strong margins and good unit economics in this segment also helped create a strong foundation for building a profitable business.”
Post their pivot on 1st April 2013, Pepperfry has earned tripled gross margins with close to 3 x top line growth year-on-year. He adds further, “We’ve built a differentiated business based on a core large item logistics backbone, solid brand recall and the largest collection of Furniture and Home merchandise in India.”
The company has tied-up with HomeStop to launch the first Shop-in-Shop concept store in the category called 'Pepperfry Live' at their Ahmedabad, Chennai and Mumbai outlets with similar store openings at various other HomeStop outlets. It also has pop-up stores at Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru airports.
Pepperfry recently introduced ‘Pepperfry Bespoke’ which allows customers to shop for curated design ideas across any room, style and budget on the portal. These designs have been created by in-house designers who also assist in customising the products.