We all are long past when shopping for furniture, and other items was an exhausting task. We were compelled to go from one store to another to explore and locate the kind of furniture or other items we required and whose quality and design suited our requirements. Yet the process has now been revolutionized as the furniture market emerged thanks to the online platform. Now the furniture is available online; we can simply select the one we prefer and order it for it to get delivered and set up in our homes without any chaos and getting tired.
The Covid-19 pandemic has played an essential role in boosting fresh market trends and aiding manufacturers in exploring fresh business opportunities.
One of the leading furniture companies that have flourished and established its place further, particularly during the recent lockdown, is Pepperfry.
Pepperfry is India’s largest online furniture store, with more than 200,000 products, including furniture, home accessories, bags, home decor, electronic devices, and kitchen goods. Pepperfry also offers a free catalogue and retailing services for its products.
Pepperfry was founded in 2012 by Ashish Shah and Ambareesh Murthy., two long-time entrepreneurs who have been involved in the furniture industry for over a decade. The two founded the business to sell high-quality furniture at the lowest prices in India.
Pepperfry, apart from other players, is its focuses on quality and innovation. In this startup story, we will take a look at the success story of Pepperfry and explore some of the reasons behind its meteoric rise.
Who founded Pepperfry?
Founded in 2012, Pepperfry is a Mumbai-based online furniture store
The founders of Pepperfry have been in the furniture business for ten years now and have already established a strong presence in the Indian furniture market. They have provided this foundation to help Pepperfry grow as a company.
The company was founded by Indian entrepreneurs Ashish Shah and Ambareesh Murthy. Both of them contributed to the growth of the company. Before starting this Online Furniture Store, both Shah and Murthy had worked in senior management positions with leading companies such as McKinsey & Company, eBay, and Squaretrade.
Shah holds an MBA from Harvard Business School, while Murthy has an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.
The duo started this Online Furniture Store to provide quality furniture at affordable prices. One of the key differentiating factors for Pepperfry has been its focus on quality. Today, It is India’s largest online furniture store with over 1 million products!
“When we searched for a good name, we asked ourselves what’s truly Indian? We came up with spices. Hence pepper. It sounded truly Indian! But it sounded like a foodie brand. So we interviewed the owner of Britannia Restaurant (a famous Parsi joint), Bade Miyan, etc. We asked them how they built their business and what Pepperfry means to them. We made videos of all this, and Pepperfry TV is a way for us to explain who we are.”
– Ambareesh Murty, Cofounder, Pepperfry
How did it become a leading online furniture retailer in India?
Branding played a crucial role in increasing the value of Pepperfry, and the several ways in which it has managed to expand its customer base also had a massive role in it. The company’s growth is also attributed to the fact that it is the first online furniture store in India with a high-quality product portfolio.
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In 2012, the two entrepreneurs started Pepperfry as a furniture company. They had the idea of selling high-quality furniture at the lowest prices in India. All the products offered by the furniture store are made of high-quality material and go through a stringent quality check before being made available to customers.
What makes Pepperfry different from other online furniture retailers?
Pepperfry’s products are made from 100% imported, or locally sourced materials. Pepperfry’s customers can feel good about their purchase and get a feel of the quality of the furniture.
The company has made it easy for customers to order through its website. Pepperfry is the first online furniture retailer in India with a dedicated team of professionals who are well-versed in furniture. It has successfully expanded its customer base by opting for low-cost policies.
The team at Pepperfry has been able to develop a variety of products that can be tailored to the customers’ specific needs. Pepperfry is unlike other online furniture retailers because it offers its customers a customized and affordable range of furniture.
Pepperfry Recent Growth and Future Plans
Pepperfry’s recent growth is attributed to its commitment to customer satisfaction and its motto, “Pepperfry is not a brand. It is a company.”
Pepperfry’s growth is attributed to its strategy of offering affordable furniture in India while maintaining its quality.
Established in 2012, Pepperfry’s sales have grown by 24% annually for the last four years. The company also plans to double its sales in the next three years.
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The platform’s online business has escalated to more than 120 per cent of pre-lockdown levels, which also shows the rising adoption of e-commerce features by users in India.
“The growing transition from offline to online is restricted to tier 1 cities and is also penetrating more traditional markets in tier 2 and 3 cities. Pepperfry’s first-time buyers (FTB) numbers grew faster than repeat buyers in Tier-2 cities. Our FTB business contribution increased by nearly 500bps for tier-2 cities and beyond,”
– Sanjay Netrabile, CTO, Pepperfry
As confirmed by the Economic Times, at first, the platform was only listing national players and manufacturers of furniture and decor items; it decided later on to lookout for regional and local players to sell on the platform to bring more variation in its inventory. The platform aimed to collaborate with 150-180 suppliers in 2020 and was successful, even better.
“We will file for an IPO in 12-16 months. For an IPO, a track record of at least 6-9 months of profitability is important to show the business can make money. Over 6-12 months, we will focus on profitability and use the opportunity to grow. There is no scope for complacency, and we need to execute the way we have all this while.”
– Ambareesh Murty, Cofounder, Pepperfry
Pepperfry is a genuinely innovative and customer-centric company. Its focus on quality, innovation, marketing, and customer service has helped it become India’s leading online furniture store.
With its strong foundation, The Furniture Store is well-positioned to take on the global e-commerce giants and present itself as a leading player in the global market.