Looks like online furniture store Pepperfry is having a tough time. The company had announced that it planned to launch experience stores where representatives would help shoppers plan their purchases, but no transactions would take place. However, now the company seems to be planning to go offline. Pepperfry has announced that it will be opening several physical stores this year.
CEO Ambarish Murthy admitted that things were going slow online. He said,
“We realized last year that the rate of growth for online customers was stagnating. A lot of that was driven by fundamental macroeconomic shifts, driven by an orientation that the companies had to improve their financial architecture. Hence, spends on top line were lower last year.”
He also said that the experience stores were helping customers with their shopping,
“About 17% of the customers who have bought on Pepperfry in the last one month would have gone to a Pepperfry studio in the 60-day period prior to the purchase.”
Finding their mojo through omni-channel
Experts feel that having an offline presence helps create a sense of establishment. Sreedhar Prasad, partner, ecommerce and start-ups at KPMG India says,
“Whatever apprehension was there with large furniture, which are high value, will go away with offline stores. Once consumers touch and feel and see, they get a certain level of comfort with the brand. Secondly, an offline presence will reinforce a company’s brand value. Otherwise, they will be viewed as a start-up.”
Pepperfry is targeting to break even by 2018-19. A year back, the company’s sales had tripled and things were looking good for it. With its foray into the physical plane perhaps the low sale should pick up.