Despite the challenges, Pepperfry
says it will stick to its four-pronged strategy — omnichannel, supply chain, technology, and brand building — to build its business deeper in India.
Under its omnichannel journey that started in 2013, the Pidilite-backed company has around 60 experience stores in more than 20 cities. It would cross 100 by the end of next year, hopes Murty. There are no sales done through experience centres. These are only to provide consultation and advise to potential customers on the look and feel of furniture for their homes and offices.
What separates Pepperfry
from others in the organised furniture market is its in-house supply chain. “We have our supply chain which is a big determinant to measure success in this category. This supply chain has held us in great strength even during the pandemic as we were not reliant on anyone else for delivery, which was a big differentiator,” he said.
The company delivers in over 300 towns, leveraging its supply chain to fulfil demand in these regions. It plans to add 8-10 new fulfilment centres to its existing suite of 23 warehouses spanning a total of 1 million square feet.
Pepperfry’s R&D team is working towards augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to blur the lines between offline and online. In the next 6-12 months, it is planning to come up with virtual rooms on its website, which could be designed according to the taste of the buyer before making a final purchase decision.
With people spending more time at homes, the demand for furniture has gone up by 1.3 times as compared with pre-Covid level since July. The $20-billion market in India is dominated by unorganised sector, which accounts for over 85 per cent of the overall market, but experts feel that post-Covid the degree of the organisation of the market will increase following the e-commerce boom.
Pepperfry sells its house brands exclusively on its platform and does not have any tie-ups with e-commerce majors, but it is open to such partnerships in future. “If opportunities open up, we might look at them. One should always collaborate with business partners.”
Its eight private labels make 50 per cent of the total business and it hopes to add a few more sub-categories in the segment in a couple of months.