The Indian healthcare sector is one of the fastest-growing sectors with a high contribution not only in terms of revenue but also employment. Healthcare has been at the epicenter for the past few months. The Indian healthcare sector is growing at a brisk pace due to its strengthening coverage, services, and increasing expenditure by public as well private players.
The Indian market has always been in a dire need of innovative, sustainable, and scalable healthcare technologies to improve lives, owing to the vast inequalities in healthcare distribution, lack of trained healthcare clinicians, and related infrastructure gaps, further compounded by the low allocation of government funds. India has a population of over a billion, with a vast majority of people connected via a smartphone, yet the impact of digital healthcare technologies hasn’t had a significant impact; until this year when numbers surged mostly because of COVID-induced consumer and behavioral changes. This trend towards digitally augmented healthcare, compounded by government spending, better access to healthcare information, and increased awareness towards preventive health measures are all signs of an industry under transformation.
There are lots of healthcare marketplaces available which offer a vast variety of healthcare products but when it comes to authenticity, a major percentage of consumers find it difficult to rely on them. In the post-pandemic world, people are now more aware and worried about their health regimes. They want to order the products from the comforts of their homes, by minimizing the risks of getting in contact with anything. Some of the major concerns of a consumer when he/she scrolls the marketplaces are authenticity, availability, delivery time, services offered, post-delivery experience, etc.
Clearing all the misconceptions, issues and becoming a one-stop-shop for the consumers, Cora Health and Wellness has taken the lead. Since its inception in 2020, Snigdha Kumar, Founder of Cora shared, “People do not have any option to compare the products on a single platform. So, I along with the brand’s co-founder Shrijit Venkatesh who also worked at Flipkart decided to venture into the space of nutrition. We already had an understanding of this industry where we came across lots of D2C brands which hold a good amount of supply and have high demand. So, the idea behind introducing Cora was to match these two by fulfilling the gaps.”
“The way we differ from our competitors, let's take it up in two ways: firstly, if we look at the common marketplaces, I think there is a problem of poor customer experience. Customers are not being able to find the right product. They end up spending a lot more time, sometimes 40-45 minutes to find the right product. As a habit, they scan the nutritional labels, research on Google, YouTube, and social media, scan the reviews, and then make a decision. We have simplified the whole process and brought it down considerably in terms of a user making an informed purchase decision. The second part is essentially the fact that we are a managed marketplace, which means that we have in-house nutrition experts for personalized curations, we tag our products a certain way which again allows for easier discoverability and also definitely helps in building trust with our customers because we have put all the information right out there. So we have gone a few steps ahead of the existing marketplaces to elevate the customer experience and bring the right product curations to the end-users, and that makes us unique,” she further added.
Retail and Marketing Strategy
The current retail and marketing strategy of the brand is to be an online commerce platform. Here, about 9,000 brands exist in both online and offline modes. Many brands can't sell their products through retail stores as there is no or little awareness of their products in the market. That is where platforms like Cora are assisting the brands.
“We want to be the distribution channel of choice for customers of all the D2C brands. We served around 27,000 pin codes because a lot of products are available at the nearby supermarkets. In terms of GTM, we are eyeing to expand on multiple channels such as corporates and B2B channels for customer acquisition as well. It is a little too early for us to go omnichannel in this sector. Firstly, we need to create demand through online segments,” she stated.
Technology has always been a game-changer for any business at every level - be it revolutionizing customer experience, enabling groundbreaking innovations, or accelerating the speed of business. The same goes for Cora.
“I believe technology is going to be the backbone of the entire future of e-commerce. E-commerce 2.0 will be a more personalized and clutter-free journey. It provides the right information to the customers at the time of purchase which essentially requires integrating multiple information channels into one. From having innovative means of shopping like conversational commerce to assisted buying to innovative features like product comparison, finding healthier alternatives, technology is going to play a crucial role. From the discovery of the product till checkout,” she asserted.
Brands in Bucket
Cora currently has 300+ brands on the platform which they have curated to provide high-quality products to its customers.
“We have brands across most categories in health food and nutrition. However, looking at allied categories we do want to enter into the kid’s nutrition segment in the coming few months,” she shared.
Intending to reach an ARR of Rs 100 crore in FY 2022, Cora has some amazing future and expansion goals.
“Currently, we are eyeing to work more towards the supply ecosystem. We are planning to create innovative GTMs that allow a better unit economy for the partnering brands and invest in technology to upgrade the supply chain and demand predictability. The future expansion plans are to provide additional value to the customers. For customers, we are planning to launch a membership which will allow them to avail more benefits, indeed making it seem that health is wealth,” she said.
Cora raised around Rs 2 crore in its first round of funds in March 2021 where 100x.vc was leading the round.
“We then went on to raise our seed round led by Indian Angel Network in August 2021 which amounted to roughly Rs 4.6 crore. We have grown to 3.5X since our last fundraiser and looking ahead to reach higher growths in the future,” she asserted.
“Since launch, we have had tremendous growth. We have been able to maintain and project our growth by adding new categories and providing customized services. We make an effort to understand customers’ expectations and requirements to fulfill the services at our best. We have grown at a monthly rate of 40 percent since last year,” she concluded.