We just noticed that Times Internet (Indiatimes)* has quietly launched HutK.com, an e-commerce property targeting the Indian diaspora and international customers looking for ethnic Indian products including ethnic Indian apparel for men and women, jewelry, handicrafts such as paintings and sculptures and spiritual items like japa malas (rosaries) and puja items. The name HutK is probably a play on the Hindi word ‘Hat Ke’ which means ‘different’.

The site also mentions that it offers flower delivery within and outside India including bouquets and arrangements of Roses, Lilies, Orchids, Tulips etc, however it does not offer these at the time of writing this post. HutK displays prices in Indian Rupee, Pound Sterling, Euros and US Dollars, and claims to deliver worldwide including India. It also has a return policy in case there is a problem with the product, and promises 24X7 e-mail support and online chat support.

 

Some Observations

– The site sources goods from various merchants including FabIndia, W, Bharat Plaza, Libas, Tarang, Diwan Saheb, Only Gems, Mehra Sons, Ganges India and others, and the shipments also take place directly from the merchant’s warehouse. The merchant branding is missing in the product details page, though, so somewhere it’s not clear if the site aims to be a marketplace or a catalogue eve though essentially HutK is aggregating ethnic products from merchants.

– The product preview page just offers a single enlarged image of the product. Seriously, HutK expects the customer to buy a Sherwani costing upwards of Rs 1 lakh on the basis of a single image?

– Some of the products also carry images from Fashion Weeks, which indicates that certain apparel is designer wear, however, the site does not use this as a USP, unlike contemporaries like Exclusively.in which had tied-up with designers. It does offer discount sales featuring selected products but is not members-only.

Although the site will compete with other apparel sites such as Info Edge backed 99labels, Smile Interactive and Sequoia Capital backed fashionandyou, the India Today group’s bagittodayThePrivateSalesfetise.com, SAIF Partners backed ZOVI.com, among others, its focus seems to be more on the Non Resident Indian community, and from the first look it does not appear that it’s going to use discounts or flash sales to sell goods. Exclusively.in, a similar site which was a members-only, flash sales sites had revamped itself as a mainstream e-commerce site selling Indian ethnic wear, however, it still ships only to the US and UK.

Roping in designers and creating themed collections would help in positioning itself as a premium destination for ethnic goods. And despite a user review feature, the product description pages need to be more detailed with multiple preview images and even videos.

Nikhil adds: Remember that Indiatimes had said that it plans to launch vertical e-commerce sites. This is probably the first of them.

*Disclosure: Indiatimes is an advertiser with MediaNama