In an interaction, Qtrove CEO Vinamra Pandiya discussed how it began its operations, the USP of the company and expansion plans among other things.

Disrupting Indias e-commerce model Meet Bluru based curated marketplace Qtrove
Atom Startups Monday, February 18, 2019 - 19:41

In today’s age of assembly line mass production and consumption, Bengaluru-based startup Qtrove.com comes as a breath of fresh air by curating the best products from local entrepreneurs across categories. Consumers can just explore and soak in the beauty and uniqueness of more than 10,000 products on display coming from more than 800 passionate local entrepreneurs. With a national presence, Qtrove.com delivers almost everything to your home in the least amount of time with an immaculate packaging. Qtrove.com also seeks to empower local entrepreneurs who are producing exotic/unique products in their vicinity and give them a widespread national platform.

Qtrove.com is a curated marketplace that exhibits and sells non-mass produced items from small entrepreneurs across the country. With an aim to release the shoppers from the ‘tyranny of choice’, Qtrove.com selects only the best products from exclusive sellers. From fresh bakery goods to handmade soaps, Qtrove.com brings only the choicest products for its customers. These products are unique in nature and are not easily available across the online spectrum. They strictly follow a ‘no discount – no sale’ policy as opposed to the popular business model followed by other big e-commerce players to ensure that their vendors get the best deal for their products. Qtrove.com believes in making a change in their customer’s products that they consume IN their body, ON their body and AROUND their body.

Additionally, Qtrove.com ensures that all the products are of high quality by conducting stringent quality tests before they are showcased on the Qtrove.com platform. These products are sustainable in nature and enhance the well-being of the customers.

Qtrove.com recently raised Rs 350 crore funding from Springboard Ventures. With this, Qtrove.com plans to further intensify its marketing, customer acquisition efforts and vendor network to provide enhanced services to their customers with a whole new set of offerings.

In an email interaction, Founder and CEO Vinamra Pandiya discussed how the company began its operations, the USP of the company and expansion plans among other things.

When and how did the company start operations?

We started our journey with a few sellers in July 2016, but now we have a huge seller network with around 1,000 local entrepreneurs from all over the country.

Qtrove.com is a curated online marketplace that exhibits and sells only natural and sustainable products from passionate sellers across the country. The products are made naturally and organically by local sellers for Qtrove.com, which intends to bring their products to the national audience. We want our customers to embrace Qtrove.com as a go-to to marketplace for all things pure and good.

What is the USP of the company?

We have created a Lead Research Guideline document which contains several parameters and we rate each vendor on those parameters. Only when they cross a threshold, they are selected and the Inside Sales team calls them. Each parameter is based on how unique or exclusive the vendor and its products are, and they shouldn’t be easily available online etc.

Sales team then calls these vendors and we first try their samples internally to ensure their ingredients match our stringent guidelines around sustainability and overall health. Since we are category agnostic, each category has its own guideline document.

Vendors can be rejected if we don’t like the products or they aren’t sustainable or aren’t customer friendly.

Selected vendors and their products then go through a photoshoot to give them a unique look unlike other marketplaces (where white background photos are common). This gives a personal feel to the website while browsing.

How does the company achieve personalisation for the products on display?

We provide curated products from handpicked vendors across categories. These products are non-mass produced sustainable products. We want to give our customers the joy of shopping by showcasing the products on our website with personalised photoshoots along with the seller’s story and the product’s journey. This helps in customer engagement and recall value for the product.

Disrupting the discount-based business model of e-commerce

We believe in ‘no discount-no sale’ policy. Since our products are unique, selective and handmade, it takes a lot of time for the seller to create and curate these products. If the seller wants, only then is the product put up for discount. The no inventory model has helped us in successfully following the ‘no discount-no sale’ policy as we are not in a rush for stock clearance.

Our alternative business model is enhancing the lifestyle of people. We are solving the problem of unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits that people have adopted. On our platform, we offer products which are non-mass produced, free from artificial chemicals and are sustainable. These products come from local entrepreneurs who wish to do their bit for improving the environment. Our business model also supports the Government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

Who do you see as your competitors?

Main competitors are ‘iShippo (Acquired by Snapdeal), Engrave.in’ but all of them are primarily focussed on art and crafts whereas we are taking a more horizontal approach. We are inspired by the model of Etsy.com which has now entered India, so that is the biggest global example.

Expansion plans

We are currently serving a lakh odd customers and targets to serve the next 5 million customers in India and abroad by creating the positioning of a democratic, self-sustaining, two-sided, trusted marketplace build on solid content and driven by our beloved community. We plan to expand our categories and would like to enter in region and personalised products. For example, products like travel accessories, personalized stationery, keto products and vegan products. Also, we aim to be the de facto standard for all things natural and sustainable in the next five years. We plan to intensify our sellers’ network and provide more curated products to our customers.

We plan to reach 10 million customers in the next five years and get one lakh curated sellers from around the world.

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