"9th International Trade Fair for Mattress and Upholstery Production Technology, Machinery, Supplies, Production Tools and Accessories"
Are you witnessing any market shift from a “Consumer Need” perspective? How can you leverage this shift? (Post/pre-covid)
The pandemic has heralded a wave of digital adoption as many segments, such as education, healthcare, home essentials, and home improvement, have seen a massive shift to online consumption. Customer needs have also evolved too, and the demand for convenience, agility, and hygiene is now higher than ever before. At the same time, the craving for physical touch points and experiences has increased in the last year, given that people have fewer access points to active and passive social interactions. The opportunity for new-age brands like ours will be to leverage the strengths of direct-to-consumer models while creating avenues for enhanced customer experiences and touch points.
Do you focus on customer experience with D2C, such as speedier shipping, great installation, and unique EMI schemes?
Ankit Garg, CEO and Co-Founder of Wakefit.co, says Wakefit.co is focused on implementing a data-driven, personalised user engagement strategy to add value and build on its strong customer base. We believe that if we equip customers with the right and necessary knowledge to make informed decisions, our product quality and service excellence will speak for themselves.
A few initiatives we focus on to enhance the customer experience are fast shipping. With the help of technology like real-time delivery tracking, CRM tools, etc., we can optimise the delivery time and help deliver products faster
to our customers. We have also set up processes to help with product installation, from hiring carpenters to install some of our product ranges to offering tutorials to our customers. We believe bank and EMI offers are par for the course in our industry these days, but we also create strong post-purchase touch points to help and support our customers in the initial days of usage.
What are other innovative tech tools that help you to have an edge over the competition? What are the latest advancements in mattress technology for better sleep?
As a D2C brand, we have always believed that customers are at the core of our business. We have made extensive efforts to understand their needs, especially in an ever-evolving market. In a business like ours, technology adoption is key to delivering the promises that we make to our customers, be it a seamless shopping experience, order placement on the website, first and last-mile delivery, or more. While we are constantly innovating on our products to suit consumer needs, we focus on comfort and convenience, with features such as spinal alignment, body contouring, etc. in our mattress range. Our home furniture and furnishings range also incorporates the elements of comfort and convenience with ergonomic offerings.
Where will the next phase of growth for your company come from? The growth strategies you have adopted to maintain your position in this global market?
At Wakefit.co, we aim to become a one-stop shop for all home requirements in the country. Our future plans entail strengthening the brand, ramping up production capabilities and distribution networks across Indian markets while also broadening our category offerings. This year, we are excited to set up larger experience centres in existing and new markets. This is in response to the growing customer feedback and to allow them to experience the look and feel of the products before making a purchase
We have always been ambitious but driven by sustainable growth. By strategically harnessing these ambitions over the last five years, we have managed to carve out a unique space for ourselves in the D2C sleep and home solutions segment. We have been focusing on setting up new manufacturing facilities as well as expanding product lines with an extended focus on research and innovation. As a company, our top priority will continue to be the enhancement of customer experience and satisfaction, says Ankit Garg, CEO and Co-Founder of Wakefit.co.
According to you, how much is the Indian customer adapting to online retail today?
The pandemic has brought about a huge change in the way consumers shop. The year has led to massive digital adoption. The majority of Indians have adopted online shopping during the pandemic, indicating accelerated adoption of e- commerce across age groups. Despite the opening of local markets, retail stores, and malls over the past few months, consumers who used e-commerce services during the past year are continuing to use them.
The most notable and disruptive consumer trend that we have witnessed over the past year has been the rise of e-commerce as the new normal, especially in the home solutions space in India. And contrary to popular perception, it’s not just the
millennials who are driving this online retail shift, but we have also noticed people from different age groups purchasing our products online.
What kind of challenges do you see in India’s e-commerce market?
While brick-and-mortar stores are reopening across the globe, the shift in customer preferences is unmistakable. Customers have sought the safety and reduced infection risks associated with online shopping and have placed their trust in D2C brands, marketplaces, and vertical e-commerce players. The shift in buying behaviour is most noticeable in non-metros, as professionals working in metros and used to online shopping have moved back to their native places and are driving adoption in and around their communities. For instance, demand for Wakefit.co products in non-metros has risen from 30% to 45% since the pandemic. These trends show a deeper behavioural shift in buying patterns across the country.
Having said that, I predict that people’s need for social interaction will drive them to adopt a mixed model of shopping which includes both online and offline shopping. In this context, the competition and landscape for companies across sectors will widen. In a physical world, new-age companies will be posed with the exciting opportunity to create resonance among customers in a phygital world.
What is your plan for gaining traction in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities?
Given the current scenario of an ever-evolving market, we are determined to capture new business opportunities. Given our steady growth, we believe this is the right time to target Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets aggressively. On one hand, more and more Indians are redecorating their homes and, on the other hand, upgrading them with more functional features as the pandemic has changed the way we live and work.
Ankit Garg, CEO and Co-Founder of Wakefit.co, adds that strategic collaboration is the key. We work with multiple logistic partners who have unique strengths in diverse geographies to ensure that Wakefit.co has a robust distribution and delivery system in every corner of India. We can deliver across 19,000+ pin codes in the country, and more than 45% of our demand comes from Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets. As we grow steadily, we aim to aggressively target Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.
As more people grow worried about their fitness and health, ortho-mattresses are among the most popular mattresses on the market. Has your product line changed significantly?
We have transformed from simply being a sleep solutions company to being a sleep and home solutions company. At Wakefit.co, our vision is to become a pioneering, one-stop-shop for all home solutions in India. Our future plans entail strengthening the brand and ramping up production capabilities as well as distribution networks across Indian markets. We have also recently expanded our range of products to include categories such as lighting, decor, furnishings, and more, in addition to sleep and furniture products.
The Wakefit Orthopedic mattress is our flagship product and also one of the products that has garnered the most demand in our sleep solutions range. We have
iterated on the product 17 times since its launch to incorporate the latest research on sleep science and consumer preferences from Indian citizens.
The cost of manufacturing and the cost of inflation both directly affect the product worth. How do you ensure that buyers receive high-quality products at a fair price?
Wakefit.co is a brand that largely focuses on offering its customers world-class quality at affordable rates. Since we have backend integrated factories, we can manufacture most of our products in- house. These products are delivered to customers directly from the factory to their doorstep. This rules out the involvement of middlemen, which allows us to offer premium quality products at the most affordable prices
Direct-to-consumer mattress companies are growing in popularity. How have you customized logistics strategies to compete and thrive?
Leveraging our first-mover advantage as the first D2C brand in the sleep and home solutions space, we have been able to address the unmet needs of Indian customers in a previously unorganized industry that was fraught with inflated costs, middlemen, and minimal innovation. As the industry matured and more players entered the market, we have used technology to enhance our logistics operations and create avenues to meet customer needs in better, faster, and cheaper ways.
In the mattress sector, how important is supply chain management? How do you deal with a “challenged supply chain”?
Supply chain management is integral to our business since we are a backward- integrated company. Our competitive advantage stems from our ability to disrupt the supply chain and deliver products directly to customer homes from our factory. We invest heavily in ensuring our logistics and supply chain operations are highly efficient, automated and technology-enabled to help us stay ahead of the curve in a cluttered market.