Thatspersonal.com is a premier website selling intimate range that includes innerwear as well as adult products. Samir Saraiya, the CEO of the company, in conversation with Images Business of Fashion shares his opinion about the market and the Indian mindset for such products while laying stress on their innovative customer self-pick-up delivery model.
Tell us about ThatsPersonal. When and how was it conceptualised?
We were always interested in the e-commerce domain and we believed that almost all the e-com companies in India are playing on one of three pillars – convenience, price and choice. We have launched a fourth pillar called privacy. We aim to be the leader in discreet purchase. To us, the overall opportunity seemed very large and scalable.
We researched a lot of products that would fit well under the ‘privacy pillar’ and shortlisted categories that offer a great business model. We grouped various categories to deliver width and aligned the focus to ‘personal products’ under the brand ‘thatspersonal.com’.
We launched the site with ‘sexual wellness’ as our category opener, due to the advantages of latent demand, product exclusivity, high margins, repeat purchases, low customer acquisition cost, scalability, and solving a genuine customer purchase issue.
What customer profile does the portal targets?
According to ComScore data, 87 percent of Indian Internet audiences are between the ages 18 and 45. We assume the current Internet audience to be approximately 200 million. Hence, we can conservatively confirm that over 150 million Internet users would fall under our eligible target audience.
Our research tells us that our core target audience is between 24 and 32, and they belong to urban cities. Out of the total shoppers, 31 percent are women and 69 percent are male.
How does ThatsPersonal differ from other websites of the same category?
We are the pioneers in launching this category in India. We also have the best product portfolio in the whole of the country. We offer discreet purchase and delivery. We are the only e-com site in India that provides customer self-pick-up service.
Please tell us more about your ‘customer self-pick-up’ delivery concept.
After launching the site, many customers informed us that they wanted to buy our products but did not want the product to be delivered at their house. There were many reasons from sexually active youth. For instance, some said they are living with their parents or both the couples are working and they didn’t want the products to reach the house without them being around.
We went to the white board and worked out a solution where the customer could select a pick-up location based on their PIN code without anyone knowing the contents of the package. Additionally, the customer could go and pick up the products or send any representative to collect the package thereby having the convenience and the privacy together.
Share your views on the consumer buying behaviour in intimate and personal category.
Customers are keen to learn about the products and visit the website 2 or 3 times before making the first purchase. Customers have interesting questions regarding the products like whether they are made of vegetarian ingredients, how many times can a particular product be used if they buy a particular bottle size or what is the benefit of using a particular product and how do they choose from the many options available to them.
We at ThatsPersonal spend a lot of time educating consumers about what are the different types of products we sell and how these products will benefit them.
What trends have you witnessed in the past few years in terms of fashion and regarding innerwear for men and women?
I believe that Indians have become a lot bolder in terms of the innerwear they choose and wear. They have become more brand conscious. Their spending on innerwear has gone up over the past few years. They are buying different innerwear for different occasions.
Which is your fastest moving category in men’s and women’s innerwear?
In men’s innerwear, our erotic thongs are doing extremely well. In women’s range, the transparent lace is doing well.
What is the percentage of sales coming from each category?
Our fun stuff is still the best category with about 25 percent of sales. Lubricants come next with around 20 percent of sales. Women’s lingerie is third, followed by men’s innerwear.
Which are the best performing cities?
Delhi leads the pack, followed by Mumbai and then Bengaluru and Pune. Other cities that fall in the top 10 are Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Kochi.
We have around 20 percent of our orders coming from small districts and towns. Places like Warangal district in Andhra Pradesh, Nanded district in Maharashtra and various small towns in Punjab and Assam have shown large orders.
What are the major challenges that you face in running an e-commerce portal in this category?
Since we are the first company to launch this business, there are no previous data or experience to help us. Since we are doing everything for the first time, there are interesting challenges that we came across. We are constantly learning what Indians want in terms of products, price, flavours, bottle sizes, etc. Moreover, we are also understanding the Indian consumer and how the consumer differs across the country.
What is the most common problem faced by consumers in India while shopping online for innerwear or personal items?
Since we have a lot of new products from international brands across the world, the most common problem faced by consumers is the size and fit of the product, especially since we don’t take returns.
What steps have you taken to tackle that the problem?
We have size charts to help customers take the right decision. We also handhold them to select the right product and give as much explanation as possible over phone and via e-mail.
What are your expansion plans?
Yes, we have huge plans in this space including adding more categories to the overall product range as well as selling through traditional and non-traditional offline avenues.