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Goafest 2018: We disrupted the market by organising and standardising it: Pepperfry CMO

06-April-2018
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Goafest 2018: We disrupted the market by organising and standardising it: Pepperfry CMO

At the Goafest 2018, Kashyap Vadapalli, CMO and Head of New Business, Pepperfry, gave a new interpretation to disruption, which is often associated with breaking things down. Vadapalli defined it the other way around and said, “We think of ourselves as disrupting this market by actually organising and standardising it.”

He went on to talk about the journey of Pepperfry from its inception, including setting up their website (broad-basing it), narrowing its focus areas to furniture, curating the artisans and merchants from Jodhpur, Saharanpur and Roorkee, developing their catalogue, creating description, to getting into the logistics of delivery and setting up the offline stores. In two to three years, the brand set up 27 Pepperfry Studios across 15 cities in the country with plans to build 12 more in the next six months. As a result, Pepperfry has been successful in serving 5 million customers over five years.

Before Vadapalli delved into the journey, he took some time out to share the key themes based on which Pepperfry was started, which were- Indian, transparent and fun. The first theme was to promote Indian entrepreneurship i.e. artisans and craftsmen. He reminisced, “Back in 2011-12, there wasn’t a large enough platform in the e-commerce space for Indian entrepreneurship. That’s the opportunity we wanted to build on. Back then, the biggest barrier was the lack of trust. As an organisation starting the journey of e-commerce, we wanted to build on transparency and honesty hardwired in our DNA. That’s the second theme. The third one was fun. We knew this is going to be a long journey so unless we make it fun, it doesn’t make sense.” That’s how the name ‘Pepperfry’ was coined. The CMO shared that pepper apart from being an Indian spice is also unique. “We interpreted it as being honest. When you fry it, it becomes fun. Therefore Pepperfry stands for honest, Indian and fun,” he said.

During the session, Vadapalli gave out some numbers. “In a year, we have one million customer touchpoints. With this, we are the largest furniture and home decor organisation in the country today. If you look at digital traffic across the segments, whether it’s furniture merchants, sellers or furniture offline or rentals, we have 65 per cent of the traffic share. Another three-four players combined, we have doubled the traffic. It gives me a lot of satisfaction on the number of customers that we have served and touch points we are generating,” he said.

The CMO went on to share a few takeaways from this journey. “Number one is when you are setting out to build an organisation or serve a market, you have to be ready to face the challenges. If the infrastructure doesn’t exist, you need to get your hands dirty and be willing to go outside your comfort zone to be able to deliver a great customer experience,” he said. For the second takeaway, he retraced to entrepreneurship. He shared, “The reason why we are able to build business and become a trendsetter in the furniture area is that we capitalised on the Indian ecosystem’s real strength- its workforce. This helps us to give a differentiated offering.”

Also, Vadapalli pointed out that when customers begin to buy furniture, the process gives them a lot of anxiety. That’s where they decided to focus; the experience aspect of what they deliver to the consumer. He explained, “So when we first launched our campaign, we wanted to make the process of buying furniture a celebratory process.” 
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