Business Opportunity of Luxury through E-Commerce
Ecommerce in India is becoming a great opportunity area for young entrepreneurs. Luxury segment is also witnessing great attraction from the entrepreneur community. Divyan Gupta Founder and CEO of www.artanddecors.com, expressed his views and shared his experiences as an entrepreneur in this domain.
In an exclusive interaction with Faiz Askari of SMEStreet, he excerpts:
Please give us some insights about Art and Decors, what were the key objectives behind launching this?
Art and Decors (www.artanddecors.com) is India’s first affordable luxury e-commerce brand for curated fine art, global décor products and designer jewelry. We are also one of the few brands that are catering to both Indian and global customers. There is a real dearth in India when it comes to finding genuine art and décor products that are stylish, sophisticated and have value for the customers. Availability is limited and even there they there are issues with quality, authenticity and pricing. After some extensive research and field trials we launched Art and Decors in late 2012 with a vision to create India’s first global retail brand focusing on affordable luxury in the home and individual lifestyle category.
Please unleash the revenue model for this business? Give some sense about pricing plans?
We retail products in both the B2C and B2B segment. Products start from as low as Rs. 75 and go all the way to Rs. 40,000 plus. While we can’t share actual financials, we have been seeing a fabulous growth and the company became PAT positive in FY ending March 2014.
Please highlight some of the key attractions and unique offerings of artanddecors.com .
Our product catalog is completely curated and almost 80% of the products are not available or very hard to find either online or offline – whether that’s for our global brands like Murano, Toast, Haoshi or for the original paintings that we carry. We have also launched quite a lot of innovative ‘firsts’:
Our ArtView™ technology showcase lets customers ‘try’ on the paintings available on our site on their own walls before buying. This helps them understand clearly how the painting would look in their own décor and has been greatly appreciated by our customers. We recently launched India’s first Wedding & Gift Registry. This is a huge concept in the West and we believe is perfect for the Indian culture as well. During weddings and other special occasions, people get gifts which they either don’t like or have no practical use for. Using our gift registry, people can now create their own curated list of products that they want from our site and share it with their friends and family. All their friends and family have to now do is to go through the list and buy whatever they like. We take care of the rest including shipping those anywhere in the world!
We also recently launched Indian e-commerce’s most comprehensive and luxurious Loyalty Rewards Program – the A&D Rewards Program. Here’s the customer can earn points for a host of activities like buying, sharing and other and use them as cash towards their next purchase. There are no lock-ins and the points are redeemable from their next purchase itself. The great thing about the program is its ease of use, variable spending power as the customer can decide how many points they want to spend and gift vouchers from luxury brands like Taj Hotels, top spas, American Express and others apart from the cash backs.
Apart from these features, we are also very conscious of working not only with top brands but with the fabulous Indian talent that we have when it comes to emerging artists and designers. We want to give them an identity where they can market their products to a global audience and are constantly looking to work in this direction. We also ship not only within India but to more than 200 countries across the globe.
How do you look at the growing competition in this market?
In terms of competitions, there are quite a few players in the overall home décor segment. They are well funded as against us who are self-funded. However we have a certain vision and are very focused on building our brand with stand-out innovative shopping experience for the customers and not having non-related product categories like apparel and others.
What are your future plans?
We will continue to add depth to our product categories. We are focused on bringing in more global brands and unique products for our customers but without overwhelming them with millions of products as that actually becomes non-user friendly.
How is the luxury market evolving in India?
The luxury market is growing in India and as per a study by Assocham-Yes Bank study likely to touch US$15 billion by 2015. The number of HNI’s is growing and while traditionally luxury market refers to luxury cars, weddings, holidays and so on, we are starting to see more and more people go in for luxury to live out their aspirational living dreams like art and precious home decors. We believe that there is only an upside to this evolution in the time to come.
How ecommerce is accepted in the luxury segment?
We are still at the early adoption phase. People are becoming more and more aware of the type of products available and are starting to open up about buying them. We have had clear instances when people have called in stating that they would like to buy a bouquet of aromatherapy products as they become conversation starters in their homes and from there on they have scaled up to more luxurious products like Murano glass or art. Luxury in the decors segment is all about self expression and we are starting to see people getting more and more expressive through art and other décor and lifestyle products.
What are the key opportunities you foresee in this segment? How do you reach out to your market?
All our product verticals are very big market opportunities within themselves. We are focusing on leveraging those opportunities and are constantly working to add more depth to our offerings. To ensure that our target audience gets our message, we try to reach them via online marketing and targeted messaging.