Who hasn’t lined up at the supermarket checkout and thrown some “useless but too good to pass” items into their basket? The cute pastel headphones, the flowery notepad or the cute bottle opener? Physical retailers have long exploited the innate impulse buying needs of customers, using signage, positioning and product placement.
Best friends Rishav Nahata and Pranav jain decided to tap the online impulse shopping industry to tap the impulse buying marketplace and launched an e-commerce platformin 2019.
Claiming to be born out of an “endless love for everything cute, quirky and fashionable,” the e-commerce startup offers a range of stationery, home and decor, kitchen, travel, fashion, gadgets, party accessories, gifts, personal care and other products.
Rishav, who was Managing Director of Usupso India, a Japanese-inspired lifestyle brand operating in the impulse buying category, was inspired by his time with the global brand to go it alone.
He started in Kolkata The June Shop in December 2019 with Pranav. He started the platform with an initial investment of Rs 50 lakh. His sister, Vansikha Nahata, a graduate of King’s College London, joined them as CEO.
“From childhood we wanted to be in business and we were finally able to do it in 2019,” he says.
The lifestyle products start-up started out selling party decorations and gifts. Currently, it offers more than 50 categories. The most popular categories, according to the founder, include tableware, stationery, and personal care.
Tea sets, newspapers and tumblers sold on The June Shop website
Rishav, who handles procurement, has currently partnered with 22 to 25 manufacturers, who sell magazines, original tote bags, ceramic placemats and water bottles. The products sell for between Rs 80 and goes up to Rs 20,000.
The platform has had at least 50,000 orders in a year and a half, with tThe average value of the order is 2000 to 2500 Rs. Rishav also claims that income increased by 60% at the end of March this year.
The impact of COVID-19
The first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hampered the platform’s growth and it went without income for at least two to three months. This was the case for most of the online businesses that operated in the non-essential category and started in late 2019.
“We had only been there three to four months when the lockdown was imposed. Our supply has been cut off. The deliveries could not take place and this created problems for a new platform like ours, ”explains Rishav.
But things picked up after that. Rishav claims there has been 60% revenue growth since unlocking. Home decor and foodservice products were the best-selling products amid the pandemic. The platform regularly introduces new products and replenishes products in demand.
One of the main challenges for a new online marketplace is to attract and retain customers on the platform. The founders claim that the images, description and quality of their products help them retain new customers. This helps them deploy resources to get closer to the right suppliers who provide good quality products.
“We spend a lot of time and resources buying and photographing our products. Our customers also get the exact product they see on the website. This goes a long way in our journey towards building our brand, ”says Rishav.
The June Shop claims to have 25 to 30% repeat buyers, but did not disclose spending on acquiring new customers. The bulk of their customers come from social media ads.
At least 30% of the products come from suppliers in India, while the rest come from China, Thailand and Vietnam
The market and the future
“I think we are different from Miniso because we are trying to depend less on Chinese imports and source more products locally,” says Rishav Nahata, co-founder of The June Shop, in a call with Your story.
The platform competes with a few other retailers operating in the impulse buying space, including Korean-inspired brand Ximivogue and Kioda, based in Malaysia.
Rishav claims that around 30% of the products sold on the platform are acquired from suppliers in India. The rest come from China, Vietnam and Thailand.
The e-commerce startup was able to increase its revenue and sales, but it will need funds to achieve sustainable growth in a market model. Big players like Amazon and Flipkart also offer original products and fancy dinner sets at heavily discounted prices – and The June Shop competes with them as well.
The co-founders believe that one of the keys to success is keeping their offerings fresh and on-trend.