The market size of online fashion wear in the year 2015 is about Rs 2,200 crore (US$ 0.37 billion) and it is expected to grow to Rs 3,300 crore (US$ 5.5 billion) by the year 2020, says Rahul Narvekar, CEO, www.indianroots.com, an NDTV venture. The online portal mainly caters to customers in metros and in international markets such as the UK, US, and Australia. With revenues for the recently concluded financial year touching Rs 61 crore, the company is looking at growth and expansion soon. Here are excerpts from the conversation.
Tell us about the inception of Indianroots.com.
When many Indians living abroad started missing the typical Indian television, it made sense for NDTV, as broadcasters, to extend our presence across continents. We were driven by the same vision to reconnect Indians to their roots and provide them with what they missed most – Indian fashion. It was this that led to the inception of IndianRoots.
What made NDTV come up with an ethnic wear online portal?
When NDTV came up with the idea of IndianRoots to provide ethnic Indian wear to people all over the world, an online portal was the best way forward. Not only is it available 24/7, you can order clothes at a click. Since they decided to go the online route, NDTV took the decision of expanding their base with adding everyday Indian clothes and a line of fusion wear to as well to the collection.
What kind of market study did you do to come up with IndianRoots? Did you see a market gap that you are trying to fill?
We noticed that NRIs missed their connect to India, and specifically to Indian fashion. This is the gap that we looked at filling when the company first started. Since then we have broadened our market play to focus on the India market as well. Not only do we connect luxury brands and designers to customers, but also artisan craftsmanship found in remote corners of our country. Our basic motive is to connect everyone to a global market, where they can sell their products and gain recognition.
There are a couple of other ethnic wear online portals in the online segment. How does IndianRoots plan to maintain its differentiating factor?
The main differentiation is in the product range we have to offer as well as the multiple markets we connect Indian-made products to. It is the number and the variation in brands that we have to offer. The distinguishing factor is as simple as it gets – provide customers with designers, brands, and artisans across price range for a mass appeal.
What is the USP of IndianRoots?
The name of our brand is the USP in itself. Connecting every Indian to their roots in terms of fashion is what makes IndianRoots different from our competitors. Our dedicated team ensures that each and every customer feels proud in buying Indian ethnic wear.
What are the click-to-conversion rates on your website?
This information is confidential to the company.
What is the average order value?
Our average order value is in the range of Rs17,000.
Which are the best-selling categories?
Our best-selling categories have spanned traditional Indian attire like saris, anarkalis and wraps or stoles. We have noticed a recently burgeoning growth in fusion wear, kurtis, accessories and jewellery categories. Also, we are planning to launch menswear and kids wear in a big way.
Who’s your target audience?
Our customers are mostly female, in the age group 18–70. They are Indians living within the country and abroad.
Is the online market evolving for ethnic wear category?
The online market for ethnic wear is growing in leaps and bounds. People are beginning to realize the hassle in buying through brick-and-mortar retail stores, where they have to go back over and over to try different products, return or exchange an item. This gets especially difficult in hot summer months. In contrast, online retail or e-tail gives customers the opportunity for hassle-free shopping, with all the benefits therein. Technology is making possible the options to ‘try out’ a product online and customize it as necessary.
What’s the market size of online ethnic wear category?
The market size of online fashion wear in the year 2015 is about Rs 2,200 crore (US$ 0.37 billion) and it is expected to grow to Rs 3,300 crore (US$ 5.5 billion) by the year 2020.
Which cities yield you the maximum business?
Most of our current business is from tier-I Indian cities, with international markets like US, UK, Canada and Australia following closely.
What percentage of your total turnover do you invest in marketing?
We put in about 7–10 per cent of our total turnover in marketing.
Tell us about your turnover for FY 14–15? What kind of year-on-year growth are you targeting at?
Our revenues for the recently concluded financial year were Rs 61 crore, a 12x jump over what was achieved in the previous year. We are looking at a similar level of scale-up for the coming year.
Let’s talk about funding. Are you planning to raise more funds?
We have successfully managed two rounds of funding as of now. While series A got us US$ 5 million funding, series B got us the same amount led by the KJS Group.
By when do you think you will be able to break-even?
Our focus has never been on breaking even. Our sole focus is on growth and expansion. As of now, we cater to 2.7 per cent of the total market of the Indian e-commerce business, something we expect to grow to 8 per cent soon.