Online healthcare and fitness store HealthKart has launched its second offline store in Chandigarh. The store sells nutrition supplements and vitamins from imported brands such as Dymatize, MuscleTech, Optimum Nutrition and Vitamin Shoppe, similar to its first outlet in Delhi. The stores would also include body composition monitor machine to analyze the need of an individual based on the BMI and nutritionists to provide nutritional advice to clients.
The company had recently started selling prescription drugs through its online marketplace HealthKartPlus, although it only allows consumers to purchase prescribed drugs from different pharmacies, in the Delhi-NCR region.
Why launch offline stores?
Although in a different segment, HealthKart seems to be following the examples of companies like Via, Ezeego1, Jeevansathi which have also established offline centres.
Speaking to Medianama, Sameer Maheshwari, CEO of HealthKart said that offline stores are being set up as an experiment to provide fitness and sports nutrition products in order to increase brand awareness among consumers using offline channels, especially only for line of products where the company already has its own operations: The mandate of their Healthkart business is to source fitness and nutrition products, which are being exclusively sourced and; these are not available through Healthkartplus, the marketplace, which essentially works as a platform for offline pharmacists to sell prescribed drugs.
But what about the cost of going offline? Maheshwari says that the return on investment from the offline stores will be higher since the average ticket size is going to be higher at a store because of counselling services that will also be introduced. Besides, the back-end logistics for these stores are already in place thereby minimizing those costs.
Healthkart plans to launch not more than 10 – 20 offline stores in the country by the end of the year, and doesn’t plan to have 100-200 stores in the country, since the idea is to create touch points with customers in select cities and evaluate the model.
Investment in HealthKart
Launched in March 2011, HealthKart is backed by Sequoia Capital and Omidyar, from which it had raised Rs 27 crore. Prior to that, HealthKart raised $1 million from KAE Capital and Sequoia in seed funding. In addition to the health-care products, it also sells various health services, such as preventive health packages, diagnostic tests and gym memberships. In March 2013, it had raised funding Intel Capital and Sequoia Capital. Although the exact amount invested in not known, it was reported that it had raised $14 million in the Series B round.