[00:16:24] Jiten: Super. And in all of this, I'm sure acquisition, I don't know how much, customer acquisition obviously is a great, is one key area for you to work on.
[00:16:33] But more than that, I think the customer understanding and retention. Right. Which is very key to any retail business. Right. Any challenges that you faced in that or that you, that you're addressing? Or is retention very easy for you?
[00:16:47] Aparna: Yeah, so, you're right. Customer acquisition is easier than customer retention, right?
[00:16:53] So the tension is the bigger part, right? And, the way we win customers is by obsessing over there. So customers, customer obsession is key to what we do, right? And that's very, very evident. So if you go to our website, we'll, we'll see that we have more than 7,000 plus five star reviews. So when a customer has a very easy, a very satisfactory, a pleasurable experience with Shobitam, with and very, very fast, literally, we know that they're gonna come back for more, right?
[00:17:24] And I think, it's no surprise that, we have a very high repeat rate. So our a repeat, our customer repeat rate is currently 39%, which is interesting, a very, very high in the industry and also the return. Fashion industry, the return is like 10% to 12%. What we have at Shobitam is less than 2%. So I think so few things, right?
[00:17:48] One, they are very, very obsessed on quality. We make sure that the right thing is shipped. We make the customer journey very easy, and even if there are issues, we make sure that they're resolved, right? So they, nobody's left unsatisfied. So when you keep customer at the center, I think naturally things fall in place.
[00:18:05] Jiten: Absolutely. Absolutely. No customer absolutely has to be at the center. Right. But if you wanna make 39%, 50% Hmm. What, what do you think you would do still have to do to, to get there that might, that number?
[00:18:18] Aparna: Yeah. So one thing that we continuously do is the voice of the customer feedback.
[00:18:24] Jiten: Mm-hmm.
[00:18:24] Aparna: So every twice a year actually, we, have a survey where we listen to our customers and, we listen to them, right? So two years back they told us they're looking for categories for their kids. And then initially we were just sarees. We launched kids wear. Then they said, hey, they want it to be a one stop shopping place, right?
[00:18:45] So we launched jewelry, we launched accessories, we launched handbags, we launched footwear. So when you go to Shobitam, they get this entire look in one place. Another thing we did, they said, Hey, I have everything for myself, but I need something for my spouse. And then we launched menswear.
[00:19:00] Ethnic Menswear. So we are evolving and the way to do this is working very closely with our customers. And another thing, if you go to our Facebook page, you'll see that we have a very strong community built.
[00:19:12] Jiten: Mm-hmm.
[00:19:12] Aparna: So really it's a lot of engagement. Right. A lot of engagement, a lot of listening to them and responding to them.
[00:19:20] Jiten: Yeah, absolutely. I think that's what's key. Right. And is there any technology at play to do this? Or is it just use of so what's the, what kind of technology are you using because you, you seem to be every, every piece of the business seems to be connected, with, with technology, correct?
[00:19:35] Aparna: Correct. So we have a very rich technology stack, right? So having a tech background, that had to be it, right? That was a key differentiator. So, there are two things. One, the backend side. Now we connect, weavers and artisans from the length and breadth of India. So more than 500 weavers. And if you go to a website, you'll see we have more than 2000 products.
[00:19:59] And many of those products are one of a kind. So if products get sold out that day, they have to be replenished with new products the same day, right? So to keep that, so we have a very, very big churn and such a big churn is possible only through the use of technology, right? So you're right. We do leverage technology on the backend side, both using our own proprietary solutions.
[00:20:24] As well as off the shelf once, and on the front end side, the UX we think is very, very important to us. So that's a key area where we've invested. And of course, as we go along, AI, ML, that's the way to go. Right, right. Both in terms of content, in terms of recommendations. We see as that, as the path to go.
[00:20:45] Jiten: And I'll come to the AI, ML part of it in a, in a second. But do you think, for a category like category like yours and with a repeat of 39%, introducing some kind of a rewards program or a loyalty program would drive that even further?
[00:21:00] Aparna: Yes. So, we do have a referral program where, refer a friend. Both people, both parties are, are incentivized. Rewards program that's been, one of the things that we had in our mind. But the thing about, Shobitam as compared to most D2C brands in India is most people you'll see a huge markup and then there is heavy discounting.
[00:21:22] Shobitam is very, very different that way. The most discount that we ever offer is 5%. Right. So the, even if, we do a sale, for example, we have a Mother's Day sale going on. We have a 10% off the second product, which means it's less than a 5%. So we wanna make sure that we are offering the best rates and not compromising.
[00:21:43] So for us, quality is more important and I think a lot of people are actually used to our model and they respect that.
[00:21:50] Jiten: Right. So you, you, you're, you kind of getting the product and your, the technology experience to kind of work in your favor to drive that, to drive that stickiness, with the customer.
[00:22:00] Aparna: Correct. Correct. And one example of where we drive stickiness is the blouse solution, right? Yeah. It's patent pending and we just won an award for that. So if you think women are complex, getting the right blouse with the right measurements is even more complex, right? And that's where we made a difference by having a unique blouse stitching option.
[00:22:22] So once women store, so we have a very easy way where women can upload their measurements to get the perfectly stitched blouse, and it's very, very sticky because once they do it, they don't have to do it again and again. Right? So the second time they buy a, saree, the third, and they buy a, saree.
[00:22:39] All they have to do is. We just use whatever they had on file, right? So, that's an example of driving stickiness and that's worked very well for us. Yeah.
[00:22:47] Jiten: So I think the whole concept of personalization, working at scale with a very complex category like this, right? Yeah. Very intimate category. If I could, if I could add that word. Yeah.
[00:22:58] Aparna: Mm-hmm.