Freecultr , an e-commerce venture backed by Delhi-based Smile Interactive Technologies Group and offering its own brand of apparels and accessories, has launched what it calls its first ‘digital pop-out concept store’ in Delhi. The ‘pop-out store’ is essentially a cross between a kiosk and a full-fledged outlet. So unlike a kiosk, a buyer can even try out the clothes there in a makeshift trial room.
“The digital pop-out store is neither a kiosk nor a regular stall. It is a brand experience. Consumers can try on clothes in one of the four changing rooms, feel and touch the myriad products across categories, meet people from the team, learn more about Freecultr and place orders immediately. It is not a pop-up store that many retailers construct for a few days. It is a brand installation that will be present for 45 days and then will pop out in other places,” Sujal Shah, CEO and co-founder of Freecultr, told TechCircle.in.
According to the company, the store enables buyers to replicate the online purchasing experience in a physical store environment. Once a buyer tries out the merchandise on offer and finds the best fit, he/she can use the ‘order bar’ to buy the product/s, which will be delivered anywhere in Delhi within the next 24 hours. The store will remain open till early February next year.
This concept also enables the firm to contain the costs of opening a brick-and-mortar outlet while offering something more than a free-standing kiosk. Other e-tailers like Lenskart have put up such kiosks within the malls to help people get a touch and feel of the products (although stocks are limited there). Buyers can order at the kiosks but have to pay through COD (cash on delivery) or they may choose the products and order online separately.
Some other e-commerce ventures who have expanded into physical outlets via franchisee mode include FirstCry.com and Rocket Internet-backed FabFurnish.com. Since these firms are just lending their brand names, they are also not spending any money to run the stores.
Freecultr was set up by Sujal Shah, Sandeep Singh and Rajesh Narkar in December 2011, with backing from the Smile Group.
Commenting on the new store, CEO and co-founder Shah said, “The freedom of a pop-out store helps consumers experience our designed fabrics and also find the product fits that best suit each individual. The site offers all these features as well, as well as ease of shopping and free return policy.”
Freecultr sells its own brand of apparels and accessories online including tees, polos, tunics, sweaters, cardigans, denims, shorts, footwear and much more, for both men and women. Soon after its launch, VC firm Sequoia Capital India invested $4 million in the startup.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)