Furniture works better with hyperlocal presence: Akshay Chaturvedi

Retailer Media caught up with Akshay Chaturvedi, CEO of Housefull.com to understand the concept behind his startup and the need he is addressing in the market.
Akshay Chaturvedi, CEO, Housefull.com

The future furniture market in India is set to cross $32 billion by 2019. The modern trend of taking the online route for the sale of furniture in India is worth focusing on too. Reports reveal that the online Indian furniture market is expected to reach $700 million mark by 2020.

Sensing an opportunity in the e-tailing segment for the furniture market, Housefull.com came up a vision to bring a revolution. This startup believes in lending an aesthetic touch to the houses of individuals.

Retailer Media caught up with Akshay Chaturvedi, CEO of Housefull to understand the concept behind his startup and the need he is addressing in the market.

Was entrepreneurship clearly defined in your vision?
Ever since the last stint at Times of India, I have been in entrepreneurial roles. From being involved in launching Gaana.com and Zigwheels, my ventures have been entrepreneurial in nature. The larger motivation to join HouseFull was also to scale up entrepreneurial skills to greater heights. Being an equity holder in the company adds to the value of my role as an entrepreneur.

How was the idea of your business conceptualised?
Furniture in India has always been an unorganised sector. We wanted to bring tasteful choices to the consumers at delightful prices, which is why we came up with the idea of launching business in this space.

What are your future revenue expectations?
We have aggressive plans of rapidly moving forward in our business. We are evaluating all strategic options that can lead to a rapid scale up and considering more business segments which we would like to foray in the coming time.

Have you had to pivot your business in any way that has worked for you?
When we started with large format stores with over 25,000 sq ft, we realised that that’s not working very well in reaching out to a large number of consumers. Hence, we shifted to smaller format stores widely spread across cities, thereby, moving closer to consumers. Furniture works better with hyperlocal presence. Therefore, we have now used technology to leverage the entire portfolio to a broader reach of consumers.

What has been your biggest challenge so far in scaling up? How are you addressing it?
Logistics is the biggest challenge in this category. We are getting demand from Tier II & III cities and we are currently in the middle of expanding logistics to these cities as well.

What is your business model? Share your current business size.
We are an omni-channel retailer with 40+ offline stores, and our revamped online store with nearly 20k products across furniture and marketplace for furnishings.

What is your current distribution in brick and mortar space? What are your future distribution plans?
We have expanded from 12 cities to 45 cities for furniture, and are on our way to adding more Tier 2 cities. Distribution for furnishings covers 6000 PIN codes.

What is your team size? What is your office culture like?
There are 354 employees across Mumbai and Gurgaon. Our office culture is young, energetic, and inspires mutual growth while moving towards the common business goals.

What has been your Aha Moment in the business? (The high point)
We have recently re-launched our new e-commerce with a bigger product portfolio for furniture and market place for furnishings.

How do you see growth scenario in this business? What are your future scale-up plans?

i. Continue to excel as the omni-channel furniture retailing brand

ii. Launching exclusive design range

iii. Offer a range across price brackets – Entry, Mid & Semi-Premium

iv. Foraying further into online marketplace for furnishings and augment categories

v. Design Service to be presented as a differentiated offering

vi. Bring strong investments into business

vii. Acquisition of related businesses

Akshay Chaturvedi
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