Tech Leads The Way For E-Tailers: Voonik CEO

by Moumita Deb Choudhury    May 18, 2017


Ecommerce market is seeing traction and is growing as per expectations, most horizontal players though are focusing more on profitability rather than customer acquisition. Therefore, companies are finding ways to move the customers away from just discount led searches. Offering discounts over a prolonged period has become uninteresting and in fact, is quite detrimental in building a sound business.

Online fashion marketplace Voonik sees a steady movement towards prepaid orders, that helps them in delivering better customer experience. 

“I feel the e-commerce in India now has the required infrastructure and customer education, to pivot into the next phase of growth and value building,” said Sujayath Ali, CEO and Co-founder, Voonik.  

He informed that Voonik is all about making fashion personal and accessible to a woman and for that it provides feed of the latest fashion products, personalized for the customer. This product feed is powered by an algorithm powered by stylists’ recommendations and user actions. Its competition is with the offline markets in providing a large selection at affordable prices to a customer who does not have access to the latest fashion products.

“So, there is no competitive pressure on us other than our own target of becoming breakeven within a year. We already have 17 million plus downloads and our annualized GMV rate is over USD 120 Million,” he added.

In the coming months, the company aims to focus on profitability and customer experience.

Technology Motivated Ecommerce:

The company believes in enhancing through technology.  On the supply side, it is tough to predict trends and associated demand. On the demand side, even though people love to buy fashion, most often they are not sure if the latest fashion is suitable for them.

“In India, Voonik is solving this gap by bringing the latest styles from thousands of sellers to the customers through a platform that shows them the most appropriates styles as per their structure, skin complexion, budget etc.”

Sujayath Ali

The e-tailer has developed few technology solutions that help them solve fashion marketplace problems :

Fuzzy logic based search to identify customer searches:

Search has been one of the most used tool by a large number of customers across India. Voonik has realized that customers often search entering words in regional language, wrong spellings for categories, price brackets, print styles and fabric. In order to improve on search conversions, we have created highly evolved filters along with a customized dictionary which is integrated with chatbot and fuzzy matches specific to fashion. For instance, when a customer types “Sadees under 500” the system would automatically understand the word and display a wide array of sarees under 500, making it easy for the customer. 

Engagement based messaging: 

The company has built in a logic of customer engagement, time of messages read, click pattern and such to create a platform that targets the customer with the right message and the right medium. For example, a customer who views notifications only at night will get the notification only after 8pm.

Unified view of the customer:

In order to manage marketplace challenges such as order delivery, product quality and description, Voonik developed a contact management tool named “Tangerine” which provides a real time connect between customers, seller panel and courier systems. As soon as a call is connected, the customer care agent gets the complete view of customer, order history past complaints, returns and more. Thus, the agent is able to pre-empt the reason for the call and address issues fast. The tool also connects the agent to courier panels where they can directly raise escalations to the third parties.

“Other than these, there are many tools we’ve developed in-house to solve market place related problems such as product quality, seller efficiency, product cataloging and such,” he said.

These technological advances are powering the company’s growth. It also provides the amount of time taken to when the particular issue was escalated and closed, helping the customer support handle large volumes of calls. Perhaps that is why 70 percent of its customers’ hail from non-metro cities.