Online fashion retailer Yepme.com received a new round of funding from Helion, reports VCCircle. However from what we have heard, that this round of funding was received about three months ago and that the company is already using this capital to expand and build the brand. Both YepMe and Helion refused to disclose the amount invested in this round.
How they’re using the capital
Branding: YepMe aims to market the Indian site heavily. A part of this fund has been used to pool in Farhan Akhtar as its brand ambassador. Akhtar wrote and sang a song called “Tension Kyon Lete ho Yaar” composed by Ehsaan and Loy for YepMe. The video featuring Farhan has been released to market the brand.
Going global: It launched its new website YepMeworld.com a few days ago to target the global market. Rather than an all-out approach, Yepme has decided to take it slow when targeting the international market. Instead of approaching all target markets with every product, they decided to start with ethnic wear for Non Resident Indians. “At present, we consider this site as a pilot. We’re targeting Indians in the US. We know we can’t sustain on the NRI market for long, and we’ll move in stages to the UK, Canada, Europe, Singapore, Australia, South Africa and South East Asia. Meanwhile, we’re moving to global trends that are not limited to ethnic wear,” revealed Anand Jadhav, President, merchandising and supply chain.
YepMeworld.com doesn’t have a supply chain in place yet. Currently, products are shipped directly from YepMe’s warehouse in India to the receiver’s address using courier services. They have not partnered with anyone for its international delivery, and do not intend to open offices abroad unless required.
Scaling as required: Currently, there is one person handling international operations and the company will build a team eventually. YepMe will set up offices in other countries only if it is legally required. Jadhav adds, “We’re studying the law in countries we want to expand to. Opening an office there is subject to legalities. If the law requires us to open an office there, we will.”
“We intend to learn from the pilot, discover problem areas and figure out our own strategy for supply chain. It won’t be easy, and will involve effort and decision-making in logistics – whether we should ship directly or through a service. We took up to Asos’ model which provides free shipping, but involves custom charges.” This means YepMe is taking minimal calculated risks in stages, with regular evaluation of the model, processes and returns. However, it is too early to comment as they are still in the process of evolving a business model that fits their need.
Costs: The company is not investing heavily in going global, at least not at one go – they invested a little on the new website, appointed only one person for international operations, and are using the existing warehouse. The only considerable amount spent would be on the new website-creation. Since the new site is on pilot-mode, they haven’t started marketing it yet. Logistics regarding courier costs will be their major concern. However, Jadhav states that they’re still competitive in pricing despite the courier costs to the US.
On acquisitions: Jadhav says the company is open to acquiring companies or to being acquired as long as it fits their plans. That said they don’t have anything in the pipeline.
Medianama take: It’s not clear how YepMe’s global move will shape up in an already established market. It would take a while for YepMe to establish a name in a new market. Since they are taking baby-steps, it does seem workable. Jadhav mentioned they are open to acquiring or being acquired, and there were reports which said YepMe has reached a scale that will interest Flipkart. That being the case, going global may be a strategy to get noticed by international players, perhaps?