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Making it to the real world

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With Pepperfry’s first studio in Chennai, experience the furniture before ordering it online

It’s like meeting a celluloid star in person. Sounds a tad over-dramatic, but with Pepperfry opening their first studio in Chennai, it really does feel a bit like that when you can see and touch all that furniture in the real world. The 2,100 sq. ft. studio on Khader Nawaz Khan Road has 100 pieces of furniture curated from a collection of a little over a lakh pieces that are available online. “The idea is to showcase all kinds of finishes and styles. The display changes every quarter,” says Ashish Shah, Founder and COO of Pepperfry.com.

While quite a few online portals are also making their presence felt in brick and mortar form, Ashish says the idea of Pepperfry Studios is not to function as a store where cash transactions take place. “It’s an experience centre where people can walk in and take a look at what the brand has to offer,” says Ashish. Interestingly, 50 per cent of walk-ins translate to sales. This is the new marketing initiative, and that’s what the focus is on, rather than the sales aspect. No wonder, Pepperfry stores don’t have cash counters. “If I put a hoarding in an area such as this, I’ll spend five to seven lakh rupees a month. Here, I spend the same amount of money; customers can feel the products and get a free consultation from our staff. They even do an AUTOCAD for the clients and show them how the house will look with what kind of furniture,” he adds.

Ashish says that when someone sets up their house, they first start with content searching — that’s when they scour the markets. After the decision has been made, they consult with friends or get an interior decorator. Then the commerce begins and they make a transaction. “With our bespoke services, we enter at the first content search stage itself,” he adds.

The first physical store came up in Mumbai in December 2014, followed by Bangalore, one store each in Mumbai, Gurgaon and Kolkata in 2015, and one in Hyderabad earlier this year. Yet another studio is launching shortly at Phoenix MarketCity, Velachery. “Chennai is one of our larger markets. 50 per cent of our sales come from South India. The solid wood furniture does very well here,” he says. In general, it is the coffee tables that sell the most.

Other than clients taking a walk around the well-appointed outlet, choosing what they like and ordering the same online on the brand’s website, they will also get their fix of entertainment here. The store will organise jazz shows, performances by various artistes, yoga and meditation sessions, clay modelling and other workshops.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:33:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/events/Making-it-to-the-real-world/article14630771.ece

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