Fashion is about style which comes from what you wear and how you look different from others and www.stalkbuylove.com (SBL) strictly follows this philosophy. Nishrit Srivastava, co-founder of StalkBuyLove initially started with designer wears then they thought why to wait for such a long time if we can make our own designs. Then they started with their own designs, own manufacturing and everything themselves.
We were really lucky to host Nishrit at GrowthTalks in December where he shared the following with us:
How SBL became profitable when every other eCommerce venture is bleeding?
Increased Customer Lifetime Value: For any eCommerce site to stay ahead of the competition is to infuse fresh stocks regularly, higher the frequency the merrier it is. SBL has 7 to 8 new design outfits daily and it updates the website 4 days in a week. (The closest competitor adds similar number of designs in couple of weeks). It helped to have a huge basket and improved customer lifetime value (CLV). It gives their customers more reasons to come back and shop.
Unit Economics: We have everything in-house right from design to fabric to packaging and delivery; it has helped us keep a check on the costs involved. And another factor that keeps unit-economics low is just-in-time (JIT) model. We manufacture only after the order has been placed by the customer.
Conventional marketplace models get about 40% margins on each sale. Since SBL produces and delivers everything under its own label, our margin is significantly higher (approx 60% to 70%) for products in similar range on competitor websites.
Lower cost of acquiring customers: As most of us don’t agree upon discounting as a marketing expense to acquire customers, we have been practising in building a loyal customer base right from inception. We have not offered discounts in any season to acquire customers and also we don’t sell via retailers and other online marketplaces. We do have a separate sales category for goods that aren’t moving fast.
JIT model appears to be lean and the best thing to do. But it comes with a problem of optimising stocks. And, there are roadblocks in scaling up too. Sometimes we couldn’t estimate how much we would sell and hence we had difficulty in estimating the stock as everything happens in hours from cutting to stitching to packaging.
How do you standardise or size the garments after taking orders?
Tailors are trained, each and every measurement and checklist is with each one of them, they follow it and we have a quality assurance team too. Tailors get checks and are given a certain number of patterns. We have checks involved at every stage of producing an apparel.
How did you build trust with your customers, especially when you started as an in-house label?
Remove the initial fear: Have a great cash on delivery (COD) model. The return policies must be strong enough to remove the barrier of fear in the mind of a customer. And have a fantastic first experience, you only get one chance to make a first impression. We focused on premium packaging from day one and we have maintained
Content is a good marketing channel that we didn’t focus on initially. Now we run a monthly magazine called Stalker that helps us deliver our message into consumer’s mind without spending much.
And a big challenge for any startup is that there are many in fashion apparels, so in order to make a dent in a crowded space here are few things to remember
- Execution is the key
- Differentiate your product from others — start with something small, you will slowly build on it to make something big
- Find other’s problem and solve them differently
- As an entrepreneur, take risk as long as you can
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Blog Credits : Shobha Akhuli