From manufacturing to wholesaling to exporting to retailing, Tip Top Group seems to have explored 360 degree of the imitation jewellery market. How calculated was the move to ecommerce? Or was it a natural next step? Let’s ask Ritesh N. Barbhaya, the 37-year old founder of Mumbai-based online brand Kriaa.
Why did you choose ecommerce?
Since we were already established in the retail sector, we got a lot of enquiries from various sellers and marketplaces to sell on ecommerce platforms. So it was very natural for us to dive in.
Since retail MRP and ecommerce selling price points vary, we launched a purely ecommerce brand ‘Kriaa’ to differentiate, in 2012.
We started selling on eBay and rediff with low ticket imitation jewellery. The initial lines were the same retail SIS line products that were already being sourced for retailing.
How easy or difficult was it to start off?
Logistics and in-transit product damages were the main challenges when we started out, resulting in customer grievances. We had a few instances of our eBay account being suspended for negative ratings. This taught us a lot in better packaging options that are currently being employed.
Retail journey – Quick look
So it was a wise move?
Yes, because in 6 months time, before the festival season of Diwali, we got a lot of marketplaces scouting us to join them and offer virtual inventory to them for drop shipments, that gave us confidence that we were on the right track of growth. We are now selling through most of the major marketplaces like Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, Shopclues, HomeShop18, Naaptol, ShopCJ, Rediff, AskmeBazaar, Craftvilla, etc.
So far, our best experience has been with ShopClues where the merchandising team worked very passionately with us and we have been able to execute over 50k+ orders in 2015 so far.
- Over Rs 2 crore revenue per month
- 1000+ orders in ecommerce + 800+ orders in TV home shopping per day
- 50000+ orders per month
We want to grow to over 100k+ orders this Diwali season onwards.
How do you manage inventory?
Since shipping time is very critical, usually between 24-48 hours, the entire inventory is stocked, QC done and kept ready for dispatch. We currently have over 3000 designs in stock with quantity per SKU ranging from 10 – 1000 per style/colour.
Our own website www.kriaa.in went live in August’2015 and we currently have about 3k+ products live on it.
What challenges do you foresee in running your own online store?
The biggest challenge would be advertising and marketing.
With the kind of money that the bigger players have with them to burn, we would not be a killer force against them. We will have to device specific and niche plans to gather a loyal customer base.
We want to focus on consumer experience wherein we can facilitate styles getting created as per their choices. We want to allow customers to dictate the manufacturing of products from a pool of possible choices, eventually getting to a completely customized solution made according to international standards but economic and of value.
So it’s going to be just your store in time?
Both the verticals will continue to co-exist. Marketplaces will have more curated product lines as per their customer bases while our web store will have everything that we want to showcase to the world.
Have you had to use any marketing channels?
We use facebook and sms marketing but it’s too early to assess their effect. Also, we have partnered with some of our customers who do exhibitions or have their own outlets. We offer high sales commissions and accept unsold stock once the event is over. We find that this sales vertical is an untapped opportunity as we get 5-10 new customers per week that can be scaled to over 100 a week. It helps to push our website when they want to restock old designs and add new ones to their portfolio.
Any particular instances that you consider as turning points in your ecommerce business?
The biggest leap happened in August 2014 when we launched our first celebrity line of affordable jewellery under our brand name of Mithya by Mahima Chaudhry exclusively for Snapdeal. It was a great success; we were able to sell over 7000+ orders in 25 designs in total. No other company had ever done that in the imitation jewellery segment.
We were directly catapulted in the big league where the heads of categories were getting in touch with us to get exclusive rights for future collections and giving us home page space to showcase our product lines which traditionally never happened in imitation jewellery.
This category suddenly came into the spotlight for many marketplaces. After that we did more celebrity-endorsed collections with Gauhar Khan exclusively with Snapdeal. We have another collection ready for release now, shot with Mahima Chaudhry.
What aspect of your product or business requires most attention from you?
Unarguably, the quality! We have always believed in providing the best international quality products at economical prices for customers. We have invested heavily in Lead free (Zinc alloy based), lightweight, non-allergic materials for our entire product line, with selling price ranging from Rs 49-1999. The key is in building customer loyalty to our brand with great designs at affordable pricing.
Ritesh feels they have reached a stage where there is no benchmark as such except the ones they set and reset for themselves. He advises the budding online sellers to keep learning from mistakes and pushing towards goals. Considering the success his family and he has had, we are inclined to heed his advice, and maybe so should you.