Online furniture store Urban Ladder on Wednesday launched Living Spaces, an augmented reality app developed in collaboration with Bengaluru-based startups Whodat and House of Blue Beans, to help users gauge how a sofa — the largest selling category on Urban Ladder accounting for 25-30% of sales — fits into a consumer’s drawing room providing life-size representation. In a conversation with Sayan Chakraborty, Urban Ladder co-founder and COO Rajiv Srivatsa speaks of the company’s quest to become the largest furniture company in the next six months and why it has abstained from offering discounts, the norm with most e-tailers.
Where do you plan to take Urban Ladder in the next one year?
We have been in the business for two-and-a-half years. We are on track to become India’s largest furniture company in the next six months and the largest home décor company in the next 12 months. This essentially means R250 crore revenue by March and R500 crore by September. We are here to build a brand which survives the test of time with high quality of products, fantastic design and the best customer experience.
Increasing the product range will be our focus in the coming months. By the end of this fiscal, we will be present in 15 cities from the present seven. We will also focus on brand building and launch a TV ad in January next year.
What kind of infrastructure will you build to keep up with your growth plans?
We do a lot of tie ups with logistics companies. They do not invest much in handling products like furniture. We have to innovate and provide them that support because for the logistics companies, most of the packages they handle are smaller in size. We work with them to do a lot of stuff around material handling and movement and automating some of that. This apart, besides being just a brand on Facebook, which was the case last year, we have expanded to other digital platforms and now our next push will be to go beyond digital. A big part of our scaling up will also depend on technology because we have figured out that to gain scale you have to automate and you have to invest in technology. The world is moving to mobile. We are already seeing 35% of our transactions and 50% of our traffic through mobile. The number can grow beyond 60% and hence there will be a massive push on technology, automation in the back end and mobile.
When will you turn profitable?
Today, the market requires crazy scale and we need to keep pace. That is why all of us are raising money. It’s the right thing to do
because once you put on the profitability hat, you have to scale down your growth ambitions, because then you will get into cost cutting. If you think you can maintain both growth and profitability, you will fail in both. That’s how real business is. There is a scale where the growth, instead of doubling every year, will become 40-50% annually. That is the right time to put on that hat and think how we can optimise and become