Online baby-care products retailer, Firstcry.com has announced that it plans to increase its number of offline franchise stores to 100 by setting up 30 new stores by end of 2014. The company claims it will set up 400 stores by December 2017. Firstcry founder and CEO Supam Maheshwari said that they plan to enter untapped markets where presence of physical baby products stores are low.
The company had mentioned plans to increase its offline presence in the country in January this year, when it secured $15 million funding from Temasek’s investment arm Vertex Venture Holdings, and existing investors SAIF Partners and IDG Ventures.
The Pune-based company claims to have over 70,000 products from more than 400 Indian and international brands. In August 2013 the company launched a subscription service on its portal for products like diapers.
Other developments in the online baby products retail space
Mumbai-based baby products-focused flash sales site Hopscotch, which raised $2 million funding from the Singapore-based LionRock Capital and some angel investors in February 2014, acquired online school and educational supplies store SkoolShop in May 2014. Increasing customer base and getting access to a larger vendor base were the primary reasons for the acquisition.
In April 2013, BabyOye.com had acquired Bangalore-based Hoopos, and the merged entity raised $12 million in funding from Helion Venture Partners, Accel Partners and Tiger Global.
Hybrid business models
Firstcry isn’t the first e-commerce company to open offline stores. In August 2013, online healthcare and fitness store HealthKart has launched its second offline store in Chandigarh. It’s first store is in Delhi NCR. CEO of HealthKart Sameer Maheshwari told Medianama that return on investment from the offline stores would be higher since the average ticket size would be higher.
Online eyewear retailer Lenskart is trying out a different approach. Earlier this year the company announced plans sell its products on other e-commerce websites.