While the Indian e-commerce industry increasingly looks like the last man standing game, early stage investments in the segment have taken a back seat. So it was a bit of a surprise when we came across one last week. Ecommerce portal SquareKey raised angel funding from Devaraj Southworth, a Senior Advisor and EVP of Zipmark, 500 Startups and New York based investors.
The online apparels and accessories company, which brings international brands to Indian consumers, must be doing something right. We caught up with Avantika Daing, CEO, Squarekey to figure out what’s working for them.
“We will be utilizing this round to focus on marketing, creating collaborations, building individual brand awareness, enhancing offering and consumer technology,” she said in an interview. Edited Excerpts:
How is SquareKey different from other fashion portals?
SquareKey is an editorially driven lifestyle ecommerce play which provides access to a range of international brands and services to the Indian customers. It utilizes content to introduce established international premium contemporary brands. Majority of our brands are currently unavailable in India. We target the aspirational consumer. Unlike other sites, SquareKey is about access to current-season at parity price. It is not a flash sale or members only deep discount site.
What you mean by “editorially driven apparel and accessories” site?
SquareKey is a content platform with ecommerce fulfilment. Content helps acquire customers and introduce lifestyle brands, products and news. Selling the aspiration is the first step with the product fulfilling the demand.
How many international brands do you feature, no. of transactions per month?
We have over 65 international premium brands on our platform. We curate our offering for the Indian consumer. Our curated range consists of over 50 skus per season for each brand with each brand having 4 to 8 seasons per year. We simulate the real time retail market in New York.
Is sourcing and shipping from a global market difficult, how you handle it? What are other challenges?
Our predecessors solved the first set of issues with regards to logistics and last mile. We are now raising the bar to address the next set of challenges such as real time order placement. Utilizing technology is key but equally important to continue to focus on the softer side of customer appreciation.
What is the market opportunity and scope of the category? What kind of margins are there?
We believe the market opportunity to be attractive with our addressable market size over $2 billion. Our unit economics are attractive and hence our margins are attractive. We focus on the aspirational segment as opposed to the mass with a prudent focus on our profit and loss.
What is “PRE-ORDER” and “Personal Shopper”?
Pre-order allows customers to view, select and order styles and items 4 to 6 weeks prior to availability in retail in New York. So, it’s truly exclusive and provides early access.
Personal shopper has a few elements with offerings ranging from style consultation to shopping, offering the customer the luxury and convenience of shopping New York while sitting at the comfort of their home in India!
Do you ship globally? What % are Indian buyers in comparison to global?
We are currently focused on the consumer in India. Our expansion plan includes growing into other markets.
Any plans to introduce a private label?
If it makes sense and at the appropriate time!