LimeRoad is first among the last ones left standing in online fashion while bigger rivals like Myntra or Jabong have been snapped up by Flipkart.
It is not easy to run an ecommerce business in India, especially when the battle is with the likes of Amazon and Flipkart. Even the formidable Snapdeal did not survive, and will soon be merged with Flipkart.
But online fashion store LimeRoad has survived the tough times of funding crisis and has continued to grow even though some of its large competitors either shut shop or got acquired by larger players.
“We have grown at over 250%, while the online fashion industry has grown at 5% to 10%,” says Suchi Mukherjee, founder and CEO of LimeRoad. “Our burn has halved… (profits) will take possibly 18 months, or maybe 12.” In two months, she added, LimeRoad will be profitable if marketing costs are excluded.
“We have grown at over 250%, while the online fashion industry has grown at 5% to 10%… Our burn has halved… (profits) will take possibly 18 months, or maybe 12” — Suchi Mukherjee, founder and CEO, LimeRoad
LimeRoad is first among the last ones left standing in online fashion. Bigger rivals like Myntra or Jabong have been snapped up (by Flipkart) in the dog-eat-dog world of Indian e-commerce
LimeRoad doesn’t sell branded clothes, but gets smaller manufacturers, boutiques and designers to list their products on the platform. The closest offline parallel of this would be fashion hubs like Shahpurjat in Delhi or Commercial Street in Bengaluru. To be sure, this positioning of LimeRoad is not unique — Voonik and Koovs also sell unbranded and private labels.
Still, LimeRoad has certain tricks that are sticky with buyer. For instance, it gives its customers the unique proposition of marrying listings with content. To put this simply, it allows people to mix and match their own styles and combinations to create what is called a Scrapbook, and then there is Stories, which is essentially giving a nice name and listing a bunch of similar products under that listing title. For example, in this story ‘Churidars and Salwars for Sweet Women’ by Raj Singh, the curator lists different items by different sellers. The Scrapbook and Stories feature allow customers to match clothes, accessories, handbags and shoes to create their own looks.
Divya Jain, a content writer with an American technology firm, loves to spend time on LimeRoad matching different styles. “Sometimes I buy them, and sometimes it just for fun, creating my own styles from the different products available on the site. Most of the other ecommerce sites don’t give you these options. If I don’t find something here I go to other sites,” says Jain.
Also read: Can Snapdeal and Amazon stop pretending that happiness comes out of a box?
The result, according to LimeRoad, is higher engagement. “The reality is that nobody has an app conversion rate of 15% (which we have),” says Mukherjee.
Eight months ago, LimeRoad segued into men’s fashion. “That has picked up. It’s already 25% to 30% of our sales,” says its CEO
“There are quite a few of e-tailers trying to sell private labels and unbranded products to address the long tail of fashion. But, at those low price points, the customer acquisition cost makes it difficult to become profitable” — Praveen Sinha, founder and former CEO of Jabong