The chocolate industry in India has come a long way in the past many years. It is dominated by established players like Mondelez India Foods Private Limited, Nestle India Limited, and ITC limited to name a few.
Speaking about the industry, the Indian chocolate market has reached a value of $1.9 billion in 2020 with the country currently representing one of the world’s fastest-growing markets for chocolates. Looking forward, this market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.3 percent during 2021-2026, as per the IMARC Group’s report.
To capture this fastest-growing market, Bengaluru-based Smoor was introduced in 2016 and since then it has been constantly winning the hearts of the consumers.
Smoor brings together authentic ingredients, passionate people, and a premium range of products including chocolates, signature cakes, gift hampers, desserts, beverages, and much more. The brand has evolved with changing consumer palettes and delivers a truly exceptional, international experience for every individual who seeks lavish indulgence. The brand also creates a range of special products and gift hampers for occasions such as Diwali, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day.
“We pair our chocolates with international nuts and flavors like hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, and cranberry as well as Indian flavors and spices like cardamom, star anise, and Assam tea. We achieve the textures through the way we temper our chocolates or stone grinding the cocoa beans for added smoothness. Secondly, we can also customize a box of chocolates according to the customers' palette,” Vimal Sharma, Founder & CEO, Smoor said.
The brand has focused on giving customers an experience through its signature lounges and cafes.
As a retail brand, Smoor has an omnichannel presence as it believes that customers should be able to access its products as per their needs and convenience.
The luxury chocolate brand opened its first flagship store in August 2016 in Bengaluru to create a new benchmark for ‘Imagined in India’ finely crafted foods. Today the brand has a presence in over 25 stores in cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi NCR, and Chennai. The brand also has a strong online presence through its D2C website smoor.in and is also available on Swiggy, Zomato, and Amazon.
Recently, the chocolate startup laid the groundwork for an exclusive brand outlet in the Cultural Capital of India, Chennai. “We have always received rave reviews from people in Chennai who visit our outlets in Bengaluru. We also regularly receive requests from people to expand our services to Chennai as they want to experience Smoor in their own cities. Needless to say, we couldn’t be more thrilled. We will offer the best of our product portfolio and we believe that our customer base will revel not just in the deliciousness of our unique offerings but our sublime customer service,” said Sharma.
With a 30-35 percent repeat purchase across all its markets, Smoor is set to replicate this success with its launch in Chennai. With the eventual launch of its offline stores in the city, the brand is planning to clock sales to the tune of Rs 2 crore in 3-4 months. The startup’s expansion into the Chennai market will also lead to significant job creation in the region. The brand will be onboarding local talent across customer service and operations verticals along with chocolate and pastry chefs.
Nowadays, technology is integrated into every business to enhance its capabilities and generate better revenue and growth. Smoor has also invested in an ERP system which helps it to monitor its operations. “We’ve also invested in technologies that help our back-end production and logistics team to meet the customer’s needs. An ERP system helps our production team to meet the demand while our logistics team is supported with technology that helps us optimize our fleet and share live rider location updates with the customer at the time of delivery,” he asserted.
“Apart from this, marketing automation also ensures timely updates directly to customers via email and SMS. Our products being delicate and temperature-sensitive, we now power our delivery fleets with data loggers which help us map the temperature during the entire journey from the production center to the stores and finally to our customers. To ensure we get repeat business from the customers we’ve also invested in a CRM program that applies data science and AI to help forecast demand,” he further added.
The brand has kept its product line around chocolates. It has also expanded to other dessert categories like cakes, pastries, macarons, and artisanal ice creams.
“We offer a range of eggless products in our cakes and macarons to meet the dietary demands of some of our customers. We have also launched vegan and sugar-free chocolates to meet our customer's needs for the same. We offer a range of bar cakes and premium cookies too. We will of course continue innovating in chocolates and bring newer textures, forms, and flavors for our discerning customers,” asserts Sharma.
Currently, Smoor has 20 stores across Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Gurugram and plans to expand soon. “We intend to take our store count to 50 next year. Smoor would open more stores in Mumbai, Delhi NCR and Chennai We will also foray into newer markets like Hyderabad, Pune, Chandigarh, and Goa. We should be racing towards 200+ outlets in various formats within the next 5 years. We are also looking at doubling our turnover by 2023,” Sharma stated.
“We are in the market to raise Series A funds and we are in serious discussion with some prime equity firms. We expect to be in a position to close this in the next six months,” he concluded.