Urban Ladder to invest $10-15 mn on physical stores

Urban Ladder opens its first brick-and-mortar store in Bengaluru with an aim to evolve into a furniture brand from an e-commerce company

Bengaluru: Online furniture retailer Urban Ladder Home Décor Solutions Pvt. Ltd launched its first flagship store in Bengaluru on Friday in an attempt to tap into a wider audience and said it will invest $10-15 million in physical retail over the next 12-18 months.

The move is in line with the firm’s vision to evolve into a furniture brand from an e-commerce company and also comes at a time when the e-commerce industry is dealing with slower growth rates. Offline retail will account for 25-30% of the business over the next 18 months, according to Urban Ladder’s expectations.

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“Right now a large majority (of sales) comes from urbanladder.com and we expect that to continue to do very well. That’ll continue to grow at a 35-40% growth rate. The additional 20-25% growth we are expecting for the year will come from new channels,” said Ashish Goel, co-founder and chief executive officer at Urban Ladder.

Before launching its flagship store, Urban Ladder’s team spent around eight months testing its format and products at its office in Bengaluru. The flagship store on the Intermediate Ring Road in Domlur has various categories of products on display from sofas to home décor.

“Over the last couple of years, especially over the last year, we’ve received a lot of feedback from customers that there is a certain sort of customer for whom engaging with the brand deeper than just online is really a material differentiator,” Goel said at the media launch of the store on Friday.

The company is aggressively looking for more spaces and plans to focus its footprint in Bengaluru first before opening stores in other cities. It expects to open at least 10 more experience centres by March 2018.

Other e-commerce start-ups ranging from fashion retailer Myntra to cosmetics firm Nykaa have started experimenting with offline stores to establish a deeper customer connect and as part of their omni-channel strategies.

Only last week, online home design start-up Livspace (Home Interior Designs E-commerce Pvt. Ltd) said it planned to invest Rs25 crore in the next 12-18 months to strengthen its brick and mortar presence. Pepperfry (Trendsutra Platform Services Pvt. Ltd) will invest about $6 million this year to increase its store count from 14 to about 50 by December.

source; Livemint, July 07, 2017

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