In an exclusive interview with BW Disrupt, Mahesh M talks about the company’s journey, competitors , future plans and more.
1.Brief us about your business model like how did the idea come to start and how does it work (step by step procedure)?
We are arguably India’s first and largest destination for home & interiors as well as food & beverage. With an inclusive range of over 52,000 aspirational Home decor ideas for home & living from nearly 100 national and international brands, we aim to transform Homes with creative solutions in home furnishing and décor using the blended commerce approach. In our physical avatar, the Creaticity mall hosts several leading national and international home category retailers. We also house several casual/fine dine options along with creative entertainment zones to draw in the discerning Puneites. Add to this, a state-of-art open air amphitheatre which over the years has been graced by hundreds of renowned exponents of Indian fine arts namely music, dance and theatre, an art gallery that has showcased several art experts of national/international repute and a knowledge hub that provides ‘vital and essential’ tips while buying furniture complete this creative living campus. the Our online marketplace facilitates customers to shop furniture & décor online from the comfort of their home, thus driving an omnichannel retailing experience. Creaticity is the yet again arguably the first mall in Home & Living in India to go from Mall to Mobile.
Our services are backed by technologies such as interactive touch kiosks, beacon-based solutions, and a knowledge-driven app for better customer engagement. With an amalgamation of both online and offline channels, customers can get the best of both worlds. For instance, the AI-powered buying feature helps the shopper transit from offline to online buying while also getting loyalty and rewards on repeat purchases. We also provide a 360-degree virtual tour for experiential buying, enabling customers to view the different physical stores present at Creaticity.
2.What are the unique key points of your company?
Firstly, we are a start to end destination for Home & Living – covering the various facets from design services to product selection support to post sales product health maintenance. Couple this with the range and depth across categories of furniture, furnishing and home décor – and then we get a unique offering. Secondly, we serve customers by offering destination value rather than typical aggregation. Which means, our service experience through initiatives like specially curated trails for every customer, knowledge sharing via expert chats and brand curation for getting that extra zing in range and depth of products are enablers of a superior destination experience. And finally, we enable customers to customize their full home interiors making us live up to the promise of being a truly smart ecosystem for home and living.
3.How are you different from the existing competitors?
We are retail enablers and not just pure-play space providers. We are not just an aggregator, but a fine destination with nearly 100+ Home brands across various home categories, providing regional, national and international flavours. Our differentiation is based on three S’s- namely solutions for spaces, services for solutions and superior shopability Through our phygital framework, we provide customers with the best of both worlds that is, a physical mall for satisfying their need for touch and feel before buying (along with a day well spent via fun n dining) and a digital mall for satisfying their needs of convenience of shopping from the comfort of their homes.
4. What is the funding status and monetization model?
Our operations are funded through internal accruals and revenue generation is through space lease and non-l ease income from operations.
5. What challenges are you facing in running your business?
There are three broad challenges. One, we tend to be often perceived as a typical space provider or in simple words ‘landlord’’, hence, our mission to manage the entire customer journey on behalf of all the retailers as a curated marketplace/destination becomes naturally challenging. Two, we don’t have complete control over product, price and retailer initiatives, hence the customer engagement and revenue drive is not as cohesive as we would love it to be. And lastly, the space-to-cost ratio for this category is less efficient than most other categories, hence impacting returns on the footage.
6. How has been the people’s response so far?
With every passing year, we keep updating our content and context, hence staying relevant to our consumer segments. We enjoy a good repeat customer base along with patronage by the interior designer community. Customers come to us with intent and hence enable us to drive healthy conversion rates in the process. We find ourselves in the mind-space of the Puneite when she/he is doing up a large part of their home.
7. What are the traction details (like users, app downloads & other achievements of the company)?
Over the years, we have opened our doors to over a million homemakers while in the recent past creaticityonline.com has seen over a half-million users in the first 5 months since the launch with a healthy repeat visit of 29%. Our mobile app and website have seen thousands of users engaging with us. Some of our accolades span across good design recognition, retail excellence, innovation at the global level, destination leadership and most recently knowledge recognition for notable achievement in championing home furniture retail during the pandemic times at The Home &Home+Conclave have been bestowed upon us. These awards across spheres of deisgn, retail, knowledge and though leadership keep us motivated to continue being pioneers in our field.
8. How do you look at expansion?
We have already launched our vertical digital marketplace www.creaticityonline.com and witnessing an encouraging response. We believe that expansion through this new channel along with leveraging our existing mega-center dedicated to home & living is likely to help us garner new markets and customers.
9. What are your marketing plans?
Our marketing is moored on the push-pull philosophy and hence we believe in sharing knowledge with our customers on what to buy and why to buy along(PULL) with compelling promotions around product and price.(PUSH) Our marketing efforts are inclined towards educating homemakers on various aspects from product support, knowledge tips like DIY workshops, know your series (Know your kitchens, Know your paints, Know your electrical, etc.), and helping them make an informed choice. All our efforts on marketing are focused on enriching the experience of homemakers with the aim to make the joy of home-making come alive. We have been following a digital first approach since the last one year and plan to leverage technology tools more sooner than later to engage with our target audiences.
10. What has been the biggest learning so far?
Over the recent years, customers have grown highly progressive (in terms of design sensibilities, aesthetics and sustainability)yet they are very mindful of what they want for their homes( cost of purchase, utility value and peer reviews). Striking the sweet spot between such aspiration and premium (heart and head) has been a great learning. Secondly, consumer behavioural shifts during the pandemic has been an eye-opener, when we witnessed people switching to buying even their big pieces of furniture online. In short, if we don’t adapt and innovate, we will become irrelevant in the consumer minds.
11. What is the market size and opportunity?
Well, we don’t seem to have any specific syndicated report providing the size of Pune’s organized market. However, based on local knowledge and sources, it is estimated to be around 700 to 750 Cr with an additional opportunity of 1000+ crores in the full-home interiors play. Opportunity is immense in B2B, Design to Build, and case goods. We have observed that concepts like WFH, multi-utilitarian, and convertible furniture has seen good traction and may continue to grow further.
12. Tell us about the recently launched ebook on FOH
As an industry insider for many years now, we wanted to give back to the stakeholders of the category, namely designers, marketers, retailers and manufacturers. The idea has been to also boost industry spirit and confidence during tough times like these. This has been made possible by bringing together nearly 30 industry captains to share their insights in the pandemic times ( and dealing with it) and the outcome is over 500 years of collective wisdom that can act as practical guidelines for stakeholders to enhance, excel, and grow in this ecosystem. We look forward to taking this further to the next edition by bringing in thoughts and actions of the startup community in the home category which can act as business hacks for the various stakeholders.. Here you can download your free copy (https://www.creaticity.co.in/future-of-homes-ebook-download/). Happy reading!
Source: Business World