Former eBay India Chief's E-com Start-up Pepperfry Goes Live

Former eBay India country manager Ambareesh Murty's, latest venture Pepperfry, positioned as a lifestyle e-commerce site has gone live. The site that has been launched by Trendsutra Platform Services Pvt Ltd, a firm co-founded by Murty and Ashish Shah, former head of eBay Motors and the COO of Trendsutra, is currently in beta stage.

The e-commerce portal boasts of having 25,000 products across various categories like furniture, home décor, apparel & accessories, perfumes & cosmetics and jewellery with a mix of mass end and premium brands.

Pepperfry had earlier raised $5 million from Norwest Venture Partners even before the formal launch of the site.

Headquartered in Mumbai, the company has ground sourcing and fulfillment operations in both Delhi and Jodhpur and local presence in Jaipur and Surat for sourcing items.

The company was set up in July and targets the market with lifestyle products with discounts varying between 20 per cent and 70 per cent.

Murty had earlier told Techcircle that Pepperfry would differentiate itself with its product range and transparency in pricing. As claimed by the company, they have the maximum product options available, compared to other e-commerce portals. In addition to this, each of their categories are curated by domain experts.

The firm which is targeting 50,000 transactions by June, follows a sourcing-based and commission-based revenue model.  Shah mentioned, "We are in direct contact with the SMEs and local artisans, which in turn is helping us to get a good deal. Getting goods directly from the sources are helping us selling things at a much cheaper rate as middlemen are not involved."

Right now, Shah added, "We are concentrating on improving customer experience by developing a robust supply chain, improved logistics and domain expertise. Pepperfry's aim would be to develop a customer base who would come back to the website, the second time. "

Customers will also able to order goods from mobile soon, "We are on the process of developing apps for mobile," said Shah

The firm expects the money raised from Norwest to last between 9-12 months and the company could be eyeing another round of funding in the second half of 2012. Then, the concentration would be on 'cross pollination' foraying into other categories like kids and healthcare. Pepperfry is chasing lifestyle products category as it has a good gross margin structure.

The overall feel of the site is nice. Visitors can purchase products either as a guest (although cash on delivery is not available) or they can choose to sign up. By signing up they earn 200 pepper points and which can be redeemed on purchases and they can also subscribe to the newsletter to find out about deals and offers and get coupons.

The cash on delivery (COD) facility is available for product orders that are worth more than Rs 5000. Also, pepper points cannot be redeemed with COD and the facility is not available for furniture, precious stones and jewellery. Shipping of a product which comes free can take from 3 working days to up to 18 working days depending upon the type of product and the option of international shipping is also available (separate shipping charges are there for international deliveries though).

There is no return policy on inner wear, swimwear, furniture, loose diamonds loose gemstones and items that are made to order. The site also provides the visitors with the option of online chat which is helpful and provides immediate response (we tried it out).

But what has to be seen is that, is that whether Pepperfry eats up the marketshare of the existing  e-commerce portals dealing in the similar segments like Fashionandyou and 99labels.

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