Fabque is a specially curated marketplace for unique products, brainchild of founders – Nikhil Khattar, Rohit Sethi and Yogesh Kumar. While Nikhil has a film and media background, Rohit and Yogesh have over 10 years of experience in the IT sector.
In this IOS exclusive, Rohit shares with us the journey of Fabque since inception in October 2014.
What prompted Fabque?
We are avid online shoppers ourselves and probably 80-90% of our shopping is now done online. While big online marketplaces are always a go to place for regular shoppers when you know what to buy, we felt they always fell short of recommending or discovering unique stuff. A lot of times we are looking for gifts for our friends, or something fabulous for our home and unless we know what we are looking for, it gets difficult to find good quality products. We realized this gap and decided to come up with FabQue – A specially curated marketplace to list and showcase only the most fabulous and unique stuff.
What were the early challenges in setting it up?
Due to more awareness and internet penetration, it’s easier to set up an online store in India and start selling as compared to five years ago. You see a lot of websites propping up nowadays selling the same stuff but we believe most people don’t realize that ecommerce is not about simply setting up a site with products. There is a science to it and how you distinguish yourself from others is important. One of the most difficult challenges was to establish ourselves in people’s minds on how we are different from others.
So what is your USP? How are you different from the others?
We are not looking to sell everything under the sun. We make product discovery easier for customers when they are not sure what they are looking for. So we handpick the sellers who come on board and each one is chosen keeping in mind diversity of products, categories and services. This way, we ensure our customers get to choose from the best and nothing less.
Why should a seller choose to sell on your platform? What are the benefits for a seller?
As we want to promote small sellers, Fabque is not about us; it’s about our sellers, their stories, brand and creativity. We showcase our sellers and there brands in an open way so that customer knows whom they are buying from.
Our complete focus is on seller promotion and helping them create their brand profile. Sellers can:
Define their own shipping and return policies.
Create lists in their profile to segment their product categories
Use social features to connect with customers
We don’t hide the post sale communication between seller and buyer and it’s completely transparent and fully supported by customer service to avoid confusion and escalations.
What promise/assistance do you give to sellers?
Round the clock customer service
Quick payments, weekly invoices, monthly bulk payments
How do you keep updated on the technology front?
We are always looking for the next new thing. We have small team who manages the marketplace functioning on daily basis.
What are your marketing strategies?
We have a limited marketing budget using, which we focus more on social marketing and SEO strategies. We do not engage in cheap tactics like inflating the prices and then giving a hefty discount or rather the impression of giving a hefty discount. We want to come across as transparent and an honest site which buyers can trust.
We are always in touch with our customers with our weekly and monthly newsletters. We strongly believe great customer service is one of our USP which helps in creating customer loyalty and win trust.
We are focusing more on defining our niche and improving our service now, rather than just growth.
Being a marketplace yourself, what is your opinion on the ongoing app-only trend?
It’s difficult to give a verdict, as it’s still an experimental phase now. Indian market has seen a great jump in mobile traffic and today more than 50% of our traffic also comes mobile. So incorporating mobile in the strategy is beneficial, but app-only or a mix depends on one’s long term strategy and future growth goals.
Do you think deals/discounts are compulsory to get sales?
The traditional idea of sales was seasonal to move over stocked inventory. But etailers have diluted the concept now. There is high markup and big promotions everywhere now, and over a period of time, buyers’ mind have also skewed towards this trend and affects their purchasing decision.
We have stayed away from these kind of misleading strategies until now and want to provide the right value to our customer. Deals/discounts are great tools for sales and lead generation but needs to be done right.
What are the three most crucial aspects of running a marketplace?
- Support for sellers
- Customer service
- Securing trust of both sellers and customers
Message for the sellers out there?
At FabQue we want to showcase individual creativity and craftsmanship. If you are good at baking cakes, or at handicraft or painting, designing birthday and wedding cards or anything else, please reach out to us. We believe in you and there are people out there who would appreciate what you make. There is so much diversity all across India and we want to showcase it all on FabQue.