In an interaction with Franchise India, Anant Maloo, President & CEO, Ediy.in reveals the importance of retail channel.
Furniture industry mostly works at a snail’s pace and is more like a real estate business- you are always short of space and struggling with slow moving inventory and fast changing global trends. Carpentry still dominates this industry, contributing to almost 85 per cent of the market size. The Indian furniture consumer demands variety, competitive pricing and a high level of customisation. Ediy.in is building a business on an e-commerce platform which is assisted by small touch and feel experience centers to offer customised solutions of high quality luxury furniture. They are also bringing to the Indian homes the global obsession ‘Nordic Design Furniture’. The approach is ‘Direct from the maker to the customer’ eliminating all the in-between channels like distributor, agent, dealer, retailer, land lord and other commission agents. This has helped the consumer save up to 60 per cent from high street prices.
How has been your entrepreneurial journey so far?
Wood and furniture always excited me and Ready to use furniture is at a take off stage in India. Since 2012, we have seen number of specialised e-commerce players entering the home furniture and furnishing segment and have witnessed tremendous growth till now, baring a few who are struggling. The entry of IKEA into India further strengthens the optimism and interest in this sector. We foresee tremendous growth potential in this sector and there is enough room for a couple of national brands and organised retailer to own and dominate this space.
Tell us about the USP of your brand?
Our USP is offering high end luxury furniture at half the price for similar designs and quality on high streets, offering customers the flexibility to customize the furniture as per their requirement and needs and providing all this in four weeks turnaround time.
What criteria do you follow for selecting franchisees on board?
We have partnered with people who have prior experience in the wood, plywood and interior products industry. For us partner’s vision should be about the furniture industry and their belief in growing the business with the co-existence of an online and offline channel is of critical importance. We also offer daily reporting and live chat window to interact with our stores and customers, who help us in staying connected with the store and our customers in real time.
What kind of training and business support do you provide to the franchisees? Elaborate about the same.
Right from selection of the location, designing the store, interiors, product and design training at the factory and on the software to ultimately make money, is the kind of hand holding we do with our business partners. The brand also advertises in print and digital medium.
What made you evolve your model from digital platform to a retail channel?
We believe that for any product, the more sales channels you have, the more robust your business becomes. For a product like furniture where the future trend is going to be of customised furniture, we feel a strong online presence supported by touch and feel experience. This would be a win-win for all stakeholders and especially “The Instant Gratification Generation” of consumers who constantly upgrade their interiors with trendy, functional, yet affordable furniture. A touch and feel, one-to-one interaction and personalised service centre would be preferred by consumers expecting customized solutions.
In current scenario, is it necessary for a brand to be active in an offline model? Please share the pros and cons of both the models?
We believe that for a product like furniture, both online and offline models complement each other. The size of the catalogue and product offering can be huge, which can create an interest of buying and the offline store is a perfect place to touch and feel the product. A physical store also gives a kind of reassurance to the customers that the brand is serious about their business and intent on being a long term player in this industry. Customers who are not comfortable shopping online could also be tempted to experience it once with the presence of a local store in their city.
What are your expansion plans?
We would be present in all the metros by September end and plan to cover Tier 1 and Tier 2 towns by December end.