Online furniture store, UrbanLadder.com, started by Ashish Goel, (ex – McKinsey, ex-COO of ACK Media); and Rajiv Srivatsa (ex-Yahoo) has raised its first round of funding, led by IndoUS Venture Partners.
The company will use the funds to expand the team, build the customer service infrastructure and invest in technology to give the consumer a distinctive experience. UrbanLadder.com has recently added Nikhil Ramaprakash as VP, Online Product, Kaustabh Chakraborty as VP, Operations and Shubha Hegde as VP, Marketing.
Bangalore based Urbanladder currently offers an eclectic range in coffee tables, side tables, dining tables, balcony sets, book-racks, display units, wall racks and a host of other products. The interface is totally awesome and company’s future plans includes adding new categories like sofas, beds and other specialty furniture like easy chairs and bunk beds (range includes denim furniture and reclaimed furniture, which are available for the first time to the Indian market).
An important feature that needs mention (and is a lesson for Product managers out there) is display of product height/width w.r.t an average person’s height – it’s these features that make a huge difference to buyer’s decision making process.
The company sources products from from manufacturing facilities across Rajasthan and Bangalore and has seen great traction since the launch.
“We have over-shot our targets for month 3 in the first month. The ticket-size per customer – upwards of Rs. 7,000 – has been a pleasant surprise as well. We already have customers who have done 2-3 purchases in a 3 week period, and are planning more! Our big challenge has been managing stock-outs of some of our top-sellers”, mentions Ashish Goel.
”Home décor is a large and under-served opportunity. This large market requires solutions that offer customers value and requires affordable products with a convenient buying experience. The team at UrbanLadder have a highly differentiated approach and we are pleased to support them in building a leading brand that stands for quality furniture and convenient customer experience”, said Vani Kola, MD, IndoUS Venture Partners.
“We have an elegant and simple digital store-front, with deep product information. The category suffers from a lack of standardization in product specs and insufficient information availability, leading to core issues in the consumer purchase process and post-purchase dissonance. We are striving to deliver a much better, informed buying experience to our customers”, explained Rajiv Srivatsa.
In terms of future plans, the company is gearing up for massive expansion by December, 2012.
“We are gunning hard to deliver a world-class customer experience. We have a slew of exciting product launches planned to make UrbanLadder.com the definitive furniture store in the country. By December, we will have a fantastic range of 600 beds and 300 sofas available for quick delivery, driven off our distinctive product design. Our big push is to scale up the service infrastructure. We already offer owned delivery, installation, after-sales, COD in Bangalore. We will be scaling that up to top 8 cities in the next few months. Our retail store will see some magical features, innovations that the Indian market has not seen hitherto – all with the objective of significantly improving the customer’s shopping experience.”
An interesting model and UrbanLadder launch comes at a time when ecommerce segment in India is going through a redefining phase.