Furnishmeup : Furnishing Bangalore with E-Commerce in Furnitures

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We generally hear or even at techaloo, we say that “E-commerce is dying”. But there are a few startups who are moving into this field as an exception. Furnishmeup is such an example, which is creating milestones in the startup world.

Launched on 15th September this year, Furnishmeup.com has been co-founded by Anurag Gupta, Saurabh Jejurikar and Sagar Yarnalkar, all three of us are alumni of BITS Pilani Goa Campus, belong to 2007 batch and have graduated with a dual degree in 2012.

It was August’13, when Anurag and his friends decided to get beanbags for their house and realized how bean bags were sold at exorbitant prices and none of the shopkeeper was willing to deliver 5 bean bags to their home. Within a month they launched Furnishmeup.com, currently they are providing services in Bangalore with a COD option.

The best thing which we found about this startup is that they are focused. They are not confusing themselves. On asking whether you will expand to other parts of country?, Anurag says “for now we are satisfied with the huge Bangalore market (Bangalore’s population is almost 1crore) and want to tap into the market here”.

Techaloo got an opportunity to have a chitchat with Anurag, let see his views.

Techaloo : What was your vision/mission while starting this venture?
Furniture market is largely fragmented where prices of same products vary from street to street and shop to shop. In India most of the furniture consumed is locally made and thus the designs are limited in a single shop. We realized from our experience that for a single product one has to visit many shops to get a designs of choice which is then followed by bargaining.

Techaloo : Have you got any kind of funding or are you looking for it?
We are currently bootstrapping and want to get a better understanding of the market and the bottlenecks, only then we would proceed for funding.

Techaloo : Explain a little more about FurnishMeUp?
We think furniture market can be broadly divided into two segments based on an balance on price and quality.

  1. One end of the spectrum consists of products like bean bags, shoe racks, study tables, chairs – here most customers primarily look for a good bargain and are willing to buy online. These products are cheaper and on average cost Rs 2500-3000.
  2. The other end comprises of wardrobes, dining table, beds, sofas etc – here customers want durable products, preferably with guarantee. It is relatively difficult to sell this one in Indian market because customers like to physically feel the furniture before committing for a purchase. The average price here however is around 15000-20000 and products can cost even more than a lakh or two.

Our focus here is currently on the first segment where we are trying to create a loyal customer base who would at later stage be willing to buy from us at later stage when we enter the second segment of high-end furniture.

Techaloo : Currently you are delivering in Bangalore only, are you planning to expand the reach?
We are currently pursuing a focused approach and trying to deliver in quickest time at the cheapest price in bangalore. Since furniture are bulky products delivery across the country would involve huge shipping costs and would also slow down our deliver time. For now we are satisfied with the huge Bangalore market (Bangalore’s population is almost 1crore) and want to tap into the market here.

Techaloo : What is the maximum shipping time?
Our average delivery time is 4 working days but delivery of premium bean bags like Video rocker, Gamer chair and Wardrobes takes a little longer. This is proactively communicated to the customers. But we have also managed to surprise our customers with same day delivery a few times!

Techaloo : Currently you have only COD option, are you going to provide any other payment option?
Yes, payment gateway is on its way and will be made available very soon to our customers.

Techaloo : What are your plans for next 3 years?
We want to provide customers more options to choose from. Furniture and home décor as an industry is very different from other industry. One can find very premium products locally made from the best of the woods and also buy branded furniture that won’t last longer than a year or two. There are 1000 ways in which a sofa can be designed.

In 3 years, we plan to integrate the defragmented market and enter the sofa, bed, dining table market. The strategy is to display designs on our website and let the customers visit the shop where they can get the furniture made in the color /dimensions/quality of their choice and to their satisfaction. We would like to project ourselves as a lead generator and bring all the major brand’s design to customers.

Techaloo : Can we see you as “Indian Home Depot”?
We would rather not diversify into selling 100 products. Our mantra is to stick to furniture and then become a lead generator. This is something which we believe Indian furniture market really needs as purchasing a sofa/dining table online after reading description isn’t suited for an average Indian customer’s shopping style and rightfully so, after all, it’s a matter of daily comfort.

Techaloo : What do you think about techaloo.com?
You guys are doing a brilliant job by providing exposure to new startups. It is a good site to catch up on how the bright and innovative people around the world are using technology to bring a change. I personally like to read about all the new startups that are coming up in india.

Techaloo : Any advice to “wanna be” entrepreneurs?
Well, entrepreneurship teaches you a lot and is a very humbling experience, you realize the difficulty and challenges it takes to start something from scratch and give it a shape. More often than not you would end up with something very different from what you started. The first few 5-6 months are crucial, here you try to bring your idea from paper into the real world and you would realize all the constraints and bottlenecks. Always have a plan-B and be flexible to new ideas.

For those who want to venture into e-commerce, always remember delivery is the key. Nothing is worse than angry unsatisfied customers. Also, NEVER OVERCOMMIT.

 

 

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Mohit Bansal(23) is B.Tech in Electronics and Communication Engineering from Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. He has interest in business and entrepreneurship and has published couple of research articles. He is also associated with various NGOs. He is with Techaloo when it was just in concept stage. The Techaloo site was not existing even then. Currently Mohit is working with Mu Sigma as a Business Analyst Profile.

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