Armed with their respective MBA and BE degrees, and their professional experience in a wide array of roles, Srinivas and Swetha, are now in the middle of taking Giftingnation to the next level.
Excerpts of an interview: What made you start your venture? We did few things before we zeroed it down: • Studied the gifting market opportunity across US, UK & India, discovered that Gifting is a Rs.30,000cr market in India, is fragmented with no clear leader and has a lot of space to grow • Consumer pain points – finding the relevant gift suitable to the receipeint is always a tough job for most of people, less time on hand to find a perfect gift, no or less personalization, not all gifting options are available at one place, recepients likes/preferences are not taken into consideration always etc. • People forget events/occasion and in the last minute they don’t know what to buy or gift. • A great product/technology combined with a service is something which was missing in the space and we thought we could create it. Then we came to a consensus to create a gifting platform which will offer easy discovery, choice & variety, personalization and convenience & flexibility for customers. What has been the key to your business’s success? We built giftingnation on 5 key values and in every step or strategy, we place these values. It has helped us to see revenue traction, customer delight & has created a strong partner base. What have we done: • For the first time in India we started a unique service called “Dial-a-gift”. It’s a gifting hotline where customers can call numbers 080-68000068/22 to ask any gift ideas or suggestion they are looking at and our team would suggest them with ideas & if we have the product we recommend them. This has given a personalized experience to customers and on the call we were able to convince customers to select options suggested by our gift experts • A clutter free website with navigation that helps customers to discover the right gift through options like “Gift by”- Occasion, People, Thought etc. or directly start searching which comes to his/her mind (e.g. gift for mom or birthday). We had to put in effort to make images look real matching to a retail experience. • Offering personalization through custom gift wrapping, choosing your message that goes to the users, add-ons which you can request with the gift (e.g. Cupcakes with flowers or Bonsai’s with Cake or Poster with Chocolates) makes it a value for customers. • Flexibility to select a date when you want your gift to be delivered. You can pre-order for a gift or select a time of your choice. On top of it, you can select express shipping (48hrs) or super express shipping (same day or 24hrs) for your gift to be delivered. We have observed customers don’t mind paying if we are able to service them better. These features have brought great convenience and flexibility. • On the marketing side we have used a combination of Online and offline marketing to reduce our cost per acquisition. Google search marketing is a good tool to measure & drive positive ROI. We have targeted high end housing societies to promote gifting with occasions which has helped generate awareness & sales. Repeat customers & email communication with existing customers helped increase sales in a targeted way and also spread the word of giftingnation.com/ gift hotline number. What are the major challenges in your line of business and how did/do you overcome them? Few challenges: • Acquisition of customers • Packaging • Delivery timings • Personalized service Do you have a mentor who guides/advices you on matters of the business? There is no one person whose name we can take but we get inspired by different people we have worked with in the past. There is learning from each of them and that’s how we get advice. We also take suggestions from few advisors. Have you benefitted from the use of any specific technology for your regular operations? • Mobile app to manage and track our basic admin functionalities like inventory tracking, sales, orders, customer’s data and delivery has helped to get real time mechanism to take quick decisions and actions. • Combining sales data, online marketing initiatives with Google analytics has helped us to understand products that work, pages that need change of content, customer preferences, marketing insight etc. • We were also able to identify and use web apps like Stitch labs, pixel printer and many more helping us in invoice generation, order slips, accounting, packaging etc. • Handheld mobile point of sale payment devices helped us in collecting money at doorstep through credit or debit cards. • Map based apps helps us to estimate distances and helps our teams to navigate through routes & get to know traffic updates. What strategy do you follow for Customer Satisfaction & Expansion? • We have learnt over time and have made this a practice to speak to few customers every week to understand how they want to gift, their needs, how they want our product or service to help them. This has given insights and we were able to change strategies faster • Offering a great experience offline & online, a clean easy-to-navigate website, positive reverts, speaking to customers on phone, faster email support helped us to gain the trust of users. • Personalization in delivery, felxibility in choosing delivery options helped us in delighting customers. • Great curated collection of products offering choice & variety helped us to get traction faster and helped us expand customer base. What, according to you, are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? • Persistence • Learn to innovate & move faster • Ability to form a great team For more details, click – www.giftingnation.com