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Here’s an omni-channel e-com firm that spent less on ads but saw sales spike

Pawan Gadia, CEO, Ferns N Petals

Pawan Gadia, CEO, Ferns N Petals

Among a handful of legacy e-commerce firms that used omni-channel strategy and managed to scale up despite being in a niche segment, flower and gifts retailer Ferns ‘n’ Petals (FnP) has more than a notable list of credits.

Being a self-funded organisation, Ferns N Petals Pvt Ltd, the firm that operates FnP as an offline retailer of flowers besides an online gifting portal across several cities, was already running a tight ship and was making profits. To be sure, not having raised loads of venture funding like many peers and expanding indiscriminately, it does not boast of $100 million gross merchandise value (GMV) run rate.

Indeed, it stands at just a fraction of such industry stats. But as a firm that burnt less cash on advertising and still recorded a sharp jump in revenues while remaining profitable, the Gutgutia family that controls the company would be proud of where the venture has reached.

“The spike in turnover is because we have adopted a change in our revenue model,” said Pawan Gadia, CEO, retail and online at FnP, without sharing further details.

At total revenues of Rs 66 crore for the year ended March 31, 2015, FnP posted a nearly 70 per cent growth in top-line over the previous year after a modest performance in FY14.

However, profits did not grow to the same extent—operating profit rose 20 per cent to Rs 3.5 crore while net profit remained flat at Rs 1.2 crore— as per VCCEdge, the data research platform of VCCircle, based on the company’s filing with Registrar of Companies.

Interestingly, the amount spent on advertising declined by one-fifth to Rs 3.1 crore last year.

“As the company grows, we evolve in terms of advertising and marketing policies. Due to our razor sharp focus on CPA (cost per action), we have been able to bring down the cost of advertising and going forward this remains a key area for us,” said Gadia.

He said FnP is a clear profit/RoI (return on investment) driven company.

FnP is also investing a significant amount in augmenting its own technology platform which would result in an enhanced customer user experience, according to the firm. This is expected to go live by the end of June.

On the operational side, Gadia expects the firm’s UAE arm to add significantly to its revenue going forward.

It is also piloting in retail shops by adding a variety of green plants and cake counters in Delhi.

“If we find a favourable customer response, this will be rolled out pan India,” said Gadia.

Founded in 1994 by Vikaas Gutgutia as one of the earliest entrants into the organised flower retailing and gifting space, it is arguably the largest gifting platform in India with services available at 85 cities and has an offline presence with 200 retailers across the country.

The Delhi-headquartered firm also has offices in Dubai and Kathmandu. Besides, it makes deliveries to eight international markets that include the US, the UK, UAE, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Germany and Philippines.

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