Flipkart vs Pepperfry vs Urban Ladder vs Amazon

The mergers with Pepperfry and Urban Ladder, while speculated in 2017, never took place; the entry of Flipkart with FurniSure and Perfect Homes will hence increase the competition in the market where Amazon also is a player

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New Delhi: Flipkart expects its private label ‘Perfect Homes’ to account for almost half its revenues in the furniture category by next March as it expands the product range as also the number of partners under the brand.

Shortly before Diwali of 2017, Flipkart re-launched its furniture category at scale — it delivered to 84 cities until then — as it attempted to get new shoppers online.

Flipkart, which is being taken over by WalMart in a $16 billion deal, had introduced the furniture brand on its platform last year.

“We are expanding our range to 250-300 SKUs from about 150 right now and our target is to play across 20 categories in the segment,” Flipkart Head of Private Labels and Electronics Adarsh Menon said.

“A significant portion of the furniture market in India is unorganised and our intent is to establish ‘Perfect Homes by Flipkart’ as a key brand,” he said.

The company also intends to double the number of its partners for the brand to 10 in the next few months, he said.

Like its other private labels, the Perfect Homes range of products are sold on Flipkart’s platform through sellers. These sellers licence the brand from the company, which charges a fee from the sellers.

E-commerce companies focus on private labels because they offer higher margins and enable better control of inventory.

The ‘Perfect Homes by Flipkart’ lineup is about 30% cheaper than similar options available elsewhere, Menon said, adding that the focus is on building standards by offering quality assurance and warranty to customers.

“We have seen great traction for the brand and it is already 30% of the sales of our overall furniture category. By the end of the fiscal, we expect it to be closer to 50%,” Menon said.

Flipkart, which competes with not only its American rival Amazon in the segment but also with the likes of Urban Ladder and Pepperfry, has launched ‘FurniSure’ a durability certification for furniture.

The certification, it said, will assure customers of the quality and durability of furniture available on Flipkart, and products that get certified will be available at the FurniSure’ store on Flipkart.

The company explained that the certification is offered after a rigorous test process conducted through National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited testing laboratories including Intratek, MTS, BV and SGS.

By the end of 2018, 60% of furniture products on Flipkart will be durability certified, it added.

Nandita Sinha, Senior Director and Head of Furniture Category at Flipkart, said the company overhauled and fixed a lot of problems like selection, delivery and service when Flipkart re-launched the category on its platform last year.

In 2017, Flipkart began talks with India’s leading online furniture company Pepperfry for a strategic investment when the e-commerce giant explored ways to diversify its business through acquisitions and investments.

Urban Ladder said last year there was no truth to the reports of its merger with Flipkart. It launched what it called an “experience centre” aimed at providing a touch-and-feel experience to the customer. On the other hand, Flipkart set up a separate “tech-enabled furniture logistics” under Ekart, as it had done for the large appliances category. It banked on cataloguing and visual technology to ensure customers were not shocked by the product delivered to them.

Since the mergers above never took place, the entry of Flipkart with FurniSure and Perfect Homes will increase the competition in the market where Amazon also is a player — good news for the consumer who will be spoilt for choice.

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