In an exclusive interview with IndianRetailer.com, Vikram Chopra, Managing Director, Fab Furnish, share his views on omni-channel retailing in India.
You said in a statement earlier, 'Brick & Mortar and e-commerce will move hand in hand' Kindly elaborate.
Absolutely. I will give you an example of the US as it is one of the most organised offline retail market, where modern retailers have a huge penetration. People buy products, both online as well as offline as shopping is not always about price and convenience, but it’s also about the experience. And I think, shopping is way more than just convenience and pricing, so both the models will co-exist.
You are of the view that online and offline stores provide extra conversion. Are you moving towards Omni-channel retailing?
Definitely. I believe that online provide extra conversion, as online give consumers an additional advantage to plan. We are into furniture retailing and we have observed that people want to do a lot of research before they come and buy the product. Fabfurnish.com became a great platform to research and discuss with family members before investing money in anything expensive. This in turn motivates them to come and purchase the product from the store or vice versa. So, it’s a part of buying process. That is why, we believe in the omni-channel model.
How do you see the changing retail scenario in the country?
Organised retail in India is very small, and the offline has struggled to organise the retail scenario in the country. Thus, modern retail is yet to happen in the offline format. I think online is going to revolutionise the modern retail.
Nowadays, the trend of mobile commerce is growing rapidly and most of the online retailing is happening through mobile. Especially in corporate, where it is impossible to place an order from any other device. Even for us, 40 per cent of the revenue is coming from mobile commerce. So, that's the kind of power mobile has, and a lot of innovation is expected to happen. I believe the future of shopping is mobile.
How do you plan to expand your reach to the consumers through online?
Online gives us a great reach and consumer conversion as compared to that of a physical store. Besides, we use it as a marketing platform. I think, online is the perfect platform to promote and cross promote brands. We are using Fab Furniture as a platform to get in touch with small entrepreneurs dealing in homeware and furnitures. Moreover, we are looking for stores that are famous in the local markets, but do not have a proper range and have a limited geographical reach. So, we are trying to empower those entrepreneurs by bringing them online.
What are your expansion plans in India and overseas?
Currently, we are focusing on the Indian market, which itself is very huge. Of late, we have made progress in many things like - we have expanded our shipping base in over 5,000 towns and cities in India from 1,000 cities earlier. We have rapidly increased our presence in the Indian market. Besides, we already have four online stores, which we are planning to increase to 15 by the end of the next year across major tier I and tier II cities. Basically, we are focusing on reaching out to more and more consumers in India. I think, there are a lot of business opportunities in metros as well as in tier I and tier II cities.
Do you plan to merge with any existing eCommerce players like Flipkart-Myntra?
No, I don't think so. We already have a very strong online presence. Besides, we always engage in cross promotions. For instance, if there is a fashion player who is not competing with us and is in the luxury segment, we cross promote our products through each other's website. This helps us in gaining more traction and consumers at the same time.