Fashion apparel seems to be hottest e-com vertical in India with new players cropping up every second week. The latest to join is Voylla stocking designer apparel. The firm Voylla Retail Pvt. Ltd was co-founded by twoex-Amazonians Raj Uparkar and Vishwas Shringi who were working with the world's largest retailer as senior finance analyst and senior finance manager, respectively.
"The idea behind Voylla was to target customers who are ready to spend more than the average buyer and are looking for that unique designer dress," Shringi told Techcircle.in.
But, aren't there already others in the game like Fabulluso, Styletag, fashionatclick, 3closets among others?
"We differentiate ourselves on three factors, one which is price point, second the delivery time and third the uniqueness of our products," according to Shringi.
He claims that although dealing with designer wear (which itself means a premium product), the target is to make those products available at a competitive price point (under Rs 5,000).
Secondly, the firm is stocking its own inventory, which means it buys the products from designers in advance so as soon as they get an order they are ready to ship the same day and it commits delivery of 2-4 working days. Thirdly, Shringi clarifies, the firm has special contracts with designers so they can't sell same designs to anyone else and he claims that even if a buyer spots a similar product it is impossible to find it available at a price Voylla would be offering.
All this sounds good, but is this the right time to enter the ecommerce market in India? "I agree that the e-com space is already over-crowded but we are in a segment where there still is scope. We chose this particular area because already in mass merchandising there are many players and we didn't want to get into price war with anyone. We wanted to sell something which was not available anywhere else," stated Shringi.
Currently selling only women apparel, Voylla will soon come out with jewellery and accessories and is looking to start e-tailing men's range soon.
"To increase our conversion rate, we will add jewellery and accessories which would be in under Rs 2,000 price range and thus even more appealing. We are in talks with many designers and also looking at working with designers who might not be that well known but have good merchandise," Shringi added.
According to him the site is getting 300 unique visitors every day. Currently, bootstrapped, the firm is looking to raise money by the end of the year. "For initial work, our Amazon background definitely helped us but from here we are planning to bring some unique features to our website. For instance, fitting is the biggest issue in online shopping and we are working on bringing virtual fitting rooms to our customers," Shringi added.
The site currently has on platform known designers such as Anita Dongre, Raj Shroff and Lina Tipnis and the product offering ranges from apparels in western, indo-western, Indian and casual categories.
The look and feel of the site is good and there is also a customer feedback form popping up every now and then to gather the responses (which may be irritating for some consumers).
The concept of bringing affordable designer wear is novel but we have heard that proposition before. Secondly, advance purchase could help the firm with delivery but could create an inventory bomb which could become difficult to manage if the products (say of a particular designer) are not moving fast. Would it resort to flash sales in such a case or manage to have an agreement for returns to the designer? Ultimately, it would boil down to execution. After all another set of two ex-Amazonians have managed to do with Flipkart exactly that. Keep watching this space to know what happened to Voylla.