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The goodness of Ayurveda, a click away: The story of D2C brand IndiaShoppe.com

With an aim to provide quality Ayurvedic products and solutions in tier2-3 cities along with metros, Indiashoppe.com, a D2C brand was launched. India Shoppe is offering premium wellness products by collaborating the benefits of integrated supply chain and logistics management besides the production of the Ayurveda products. We spoke with Mr. Rajesh Chandan, Founder and Managing Director, IndiaShoppe.com to see his vision for the company and future expansion plans. Please find below the full interview.

Mr. Rajesh Chandan, Founder and Managing Director, IndiaShoppe.com

Mr. Rajesh Chandan, Founder and Managing Director, IndiaShoppe.com

Tell us how Indiashoppe.com started? How did it develop into what it is today?

The idea of starting IndiaShoppe.com was to create a brand with mass-market appeal, which would target the “middle” and “upper middle” income groups as well as an aspiring segment of the society, with a focus on Tier II and Tier III cities and semi-urban areas. Offering both offline and online storefronts, for convenient shopping was another idea. In addition, to reaching out to a wide customer base, in various remote locations, the company had conceptualized the introduction of Pick-up-Centres. Also, the idea was to develop private label products through efficient and effective integration between suppliers, manufacturers, warehouses, stores, and transporters, build brand loyalty and create a professionally managed show from the inception.

The company had made its foray into the retail sector in July 2013, with a state-of-the-art e-commerce portal, followed by its maiden showroom in Chennai. In the last few years, India Shoppe has grown steadily and currently has sixty-five stores spread across twenty-seven states in India. Such stores operate under COCO and COFO Models and are located in various Metro, Tier I, Tier II and III cities/towns in India.

In addition, the company has established around six hundred smaller outlets called “Pick-up-Centres”, for wider reach and better customer service in different semi-urban areas, some of which are remotely located.

So far, the company runs as a bootstrap company, running and managing the operations with its capital and operating revenues.

Tell us about your product range and its USP

India Shoppe has developed its private labels, under the brand names “ON & ON”, “ELEMENTS”, “NEUSTAR”, “INDIAGRO” and “AAHAR”, and such products are exclusively available at India Shoppe outlets and pick-up centres only, across India and also on own online site. 

India Shoppe offers various products primarily in Health, Wellness & Nutrition, Skin Care, Oral Care, Hair Care, Cleaners and Home Products that provide for daily household needs.

The company has already built an effective brand identity by aligning consumers’ perceptions and expectations with the development of products maintaining the highest quality, through its unique proprietary development standards and processes.  

All the products are 100% vegetarian, do not contain any chemical that can cause harm to the body and are made of natural ingredients. The company does not compromise on the quality of the products, and a holistic approach is taken when it comes to the formulation.

All the raw materials used, conform to the API and In-House standards. Proprietary health, wellness, nutritional ingredients and herbs used in products create science-based solutions to dietary supplements, food & beverage, skincare and nutrition. Such products have been made after considerable research and development. 

The team of experts maintains a close relationship with up-to-date scientific research, which they use to develop new and enhance existing products. Special care is taken to develop these products – from sourcing the ingredients to the eco-conscious packaging, along with adhering to the highest quality parameters.

How has the market responded to India Shoppe?

Product Market Fit is primarily dependent on three things.

  • Existing users recognize the product’s value
  • They tell others about their great experience with the product
  • The company replicates the excellent experience for the new users

So, the end goal of India Shoppe is to provide enough value to customers that they become the advocates of the company and help grow the company’s customer base. Thus, the company has been able to create a huge customer base and customer demand, with a high volume of sales of its private label products.

Who is your target consumer and why do you think your brand has been popular amongst this segment?

The company management understands the market, the customers, the product and, the price structure, and had perceived a huge opportunity for growth from the beginning in this segment, and immense growth potential in Tier-II, III and IV cities and urban & semi-urban areas.

India Shoppe takes pride in its ability to innovate — and this stems from the fact that the company is very close to the consumers. There is a lot of consumer emotion and consumer work that is done by the marketing team and the product development team. The company constantly interacts with the consumers, understands their needs, and keeps a track of emerging trends and continuous product innovation, ensuring ideal Product-Market fit. 

The company is clear in understanding Consumer Behavior and identifying the customer taste varying with geographies. Further, the company focuses on products with a clear and strong value proposition through

  • Ensuring product quality
  • Controlling Costs and
  • Collaboration with Suppliers

How has the growth journey been for the brand in terms of market expansion and revenue?

The company has been growing steadily year on year, in terms of entering the new territory of growth and market position, product offering and revenue generation. High Y.O.Y. Growth in Sales Revenue (exceeding 25% every year) starting from F.Y. 2013-14 being the very first year of operation is being achieved to date. We have successfully set up and have been managing a wide infrastructure of sixty-five stores, around six hundred pick-up centres, fifteen warehouses and fourteen fulfilment centres, to cope with the growing business needs.

The company focuses on the increase in per Sq. Ft. Sales, Gross Margin and higher EBITDA, through various parameters like increase in basket value through promotion, cross-sell and upsell, Higher Inventory Turns, control over operating costs, better supply chain management etc. 

India Shopee Logo

What is your vision for the brand? 

Being more unique and highly innovative in our approach, apart from entering new markets through opening new distribution channels, capturing a sizeable market share and bringing further growth potential & an increase in revenue generation. We have made a special focus on customer acquisition, and the count of new customers is increasing rapidly. With a vision to grow as a large value creator, the company is eyeing further expansion of the scale of operations, setting up more distribution centres for easy delivery, planning more stores and investing in new product lines and technology. Expansion Plan in neighbouring countries is also there.

Further, our social and environmental causes align with our customers. Social and environmental causes in our branding includes the following.

  • Products which help one maintaining a healthy lifestyle and promote health for family.
  • Green marketing (in which the environmental friendliness of the brand is stressed as a differentiating attribute) – i) Organic Products, ii) No chemical that can cause harm to the body is used, iii) Products are made of natural ingredients, iv) Eco-conscious packaging,
  • Help produce a better crop through plant care and soil care products, while ensuring retention of soil quality without any harmful effect.

India Shoppe generates employment for many families directly and indirectly. Further, the company promotes entrepreneurship and all the franchisees & pick-up centres are, in fact, small business owners.

What factors have led to the growth of Ayurveda/herbal products in India?

Ayurveda is an ancient system of life and also the oldest surviving medical system in the world. Ayurvedic science is not merely a traditional Indian form of medicine but a perennial naturopathic system of healthcare that has survived the test of time as well as the onslaught of modern science and methods of treatment. In recent times, consumers’ increasing concerns about the side effects of products and medicines had led to an increase in the demand for traditional alternative products. The Indian government has also initiated promoting Ayush Systems of medicine that include Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy with the scheme called Ayurswasthya Yojana.

Ayurveda is now gaining popularity as consumers seek remedies that are more natural and organic and may also be more cost-effective. The concepts of health and disease are changing and the interest in herbal and Ayurvedic remedies is awakening among the people. Owing to this Ayurvedic therapies are getting integrated into general wellness. Apart from this, Ayurvedic medicines are extensively getting used in personal care products and health supplements. These factors have increased the demand for advanced Ayurvedic medicines.

Interest in Ayurveda has increased massively during the COVID-19 pandemic. People have increasingly turned to Ayurvedic practices to enhance immune health. The pandemic has changed consumer lifestyles, increasing the adoption of preventive healthcare remedies. Along with this, demand for immunity-positioned supplements has also grown, which has included select Ayurvedic products.

All of this has boosted the implementation of Ayurvedic practices and product sales.

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