“Online Gifting market in India is a USD 100 Mn industry”- Vivek Mathur, Founder and CEO at Giftease.com

giftease logoGiftease.com, launched in 2012 and based out of Pune, is one of the few Indian companies in the online gifting space. The website helps customers in finding an appropriate gift for the occasion, recipient and budget. It also enables them to set reminders for important occasions, and set up a gift registry.

The company currently delivers across 5000 locations in India and has gift options available across categories such as Home Décor, Jewellery, Fashion, Gadgets, Books, Toys and more.

We reached out to Vivek Mathur, Founder and CEO at Giftease.com to know more about journey so far and the future roadmap of the company.

Here is a brief overview of the interaction:

What was the initial idea behind launching Giftease?

Online retail in India is still in a fairly early stage and there are enough opportunities to build reasonably large & niche sustainable eCommerce businesses. We believe that gifting is one such segment where there is an opportunity to differentiate on the assortment and customer experience.

A brief description of the overall journey since its inception in 2012 ?

It’s certainly been exciting, and I suppose like any other startup, we’ve seen some highs and lows.

– First, though the company was incorporated in early-2012, and we opened a physical store in Nov-2012, we launched the website only in May 2013, so these are still early days.

– Over the last 8 months, we have built what we believe is an attractive consumer offer, with a range of handpicked items across multiple categories.

– We have been refining the onsite experience, and streamlining our processes, and building up our team.

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However, growth has been good, and we have very positive feedback from customers who have shopped with us – overall encouraging, and affirming the direction we are taking.

What were the challenges in being an online gifting company, rather than a conventional online retail store?

Considering our proposition and that the purchase drivers, process and expectations for a gift purchase, are often substantially different from when we buy for ourselves, we have to recognise these differences, and ensure that we do better than anyone else on meeting those expectations.

Whom do you see as a potential competitor in this space?

Not only the pure gifting focused sites, but any site where the customer is sending a gift from, is a competition for us. But at this stage I believe there is a lot of room for both the mass online stores, as well as specialists, to grow.

Tell us more about some recent developments.

We recently started next day gift delivery, and are adding to the range for that service. There are several other additions to our offering which we shall be rolling out over the next few months.

What opportunity do you foresee in the online gifting space in India?

Online gifting industry makes 10-15% of the total eCommerce market in India. My estimate is that it would be 10-25% of the online sales in several lifestyle categories. Also, the recent Assocham report on eCommerce mentioned gift articles as one of the categories most frequently bought online.

Where would you like to position Giftease in Indian Internet retail ecosystem?

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We would like it to be seen as the online gifting specialist, offering a range of hand picked choices (not necessarily the largest range), and providing a unique experience for both the sender and the recipient of the gift.

How has been the traction so far on the site?

We currently get about 250,000-300,000 visitors to the site in a month. Within this short timeframe, the fact that we are getting a fair number of repeat purchases is particularly encouraging.

What is Giftease’s take on online retailers having a mobile responsive store?

One certainly cannot consider an online retail business without a strong mobile presence in India, and this is one of the priorities we are working on. We plan to launch a mobile site in Q2 this year.

How important is omni-channel retailing for the growth of a business? What are the challenges faced in a hybrid (offline+online) model retailing?

For an offline retailer of any significant scale, I don’t think it is an option anymore. One, because their customers will expect them to be available across channels, and secondly, even if they continue to grow, they will certainly see a decline in their market share, if they do not get serious about omni-channel quickly.

The challenges in a hybrid model are quite different, and for an offline retailer going online, the largest challenge is changing the mindset within the organisation, across all levels, to be able to effectively leverage what they already have in terms of the brand, supply chain, customer base, organisation, and then build additional capability for omni-channel retail.

Can we expect Giftease to shift in future to traditional retail model?

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We believe that gifting is a large enough niche for us to focus on, and we don’t really want to go the mass retailer route. However, considering that we offer an attractive assortment of lifestyle products, at good prices, with a great service, we do see many of our customers shopping for themselves as well, and we are happy with that.

To contact the author, email at editor@iamwire.com

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