- Wakefit.co, a Bengaluru-based startup was founded by
Ankit Gargand Chaitanya Ramalingegowdain 2016.
- In 4 years, the startup is now diversifying from its primary offering of
sleep wellnessproducts to home solutions.
- The startup has announced ambitious expansion plans and is also targeting Rs 450 crore revenue in FY2021. Garg and Ramalingegowda walk us through their strategy to achieve it.
In a year when most organizations are being frugal, cutting costs and even slashing jobs, Wakefit.co recently announced that its expansion plan. It is going to invest Rs 15 crore towards setting up new facilities, expanding product lines and strengthening technological capabilities. It also aims to target Rs 450 crore in revenue for FY 2021.
Moreover, the company also plans to hire close to 200 people in the next couple of months.
The year 2020 has been difficult for organizations across the world. However, it is companies that have been able to adapt, stay agile and listen to its consumers and work on its offerings accordingly that have been able to weather the storm effectively.
So how has Wakefit, a 4-year-old startup been able to not only grow in these adverse times without cutting any jobs but is now also looking at hiring and investing on expansion?
Ankit Garg, CEO and Co-founder, Wakefit.co said, “We recently announced an investment of Rs 15 crore towards setting up of new facilities, expanding product lines and strengthening our focus on research and innovation. We believe that investing in Capex to improve quality, reduce manufacturing costs and thereby pass on the benefit to customers is the ideal way to grow a business, and we will continue to adopt that strategy while fuelling the next level of growth. As a company, our top priority will continue to be the enhancement of customer experience and satisfaction.”
“As a fundamentally strong company that works on sound business values, we have always prioritized a solid balance sheet and employee welfare,” added Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Director and Co-founder, Wakefit.co. “By virtue of these ethos, we have been able to pay full salaries to employees and avoid any layoffs during this time. In fact, being in the home solutions space, we have seen growing demand for our products, which strengthened our resolve to invest in Capex to bolster our back-end capabilities. While we have remained very frugal in marketing efforts and for potentially wasteful expenditure, we have not held back in terms of investments that will benefit the company and our hundreds of employees in the long term,” he shared.
What started as an online mattress and sleep solutions startup is now diversifying its offerings too. It is now also looking at entering the home solutions space. However, that is one space that already has a few well-established players, both online and offline. So how is Wakefit.co trying to create differentiation in the segment?
“With our foray into the home solutions space, we are now invested in the science and innovation of home wellness. Based on scientific research in home ergonomics, we have designed new products such as study tables, book shelves, bedside tables, coffee tables, TV units, sofas, shoe racks, and dining tables that offer superior value to customers at an affordable price. Given that we are a full stack company and own the manufacturing and back-end operations end-to-end, it is conducive to keep innovating on the products and keep the prices reasonable, yet be profitable,” explained Ramalingegowda.
“Our direct-to-consumer DNA, powered by strong manufacturing capabilities, is definitely a big advantage. Currently, we have six world-class manufacturing facilities – spread across Bengaluru, Jodhpur and Delhi – to cater to the growing consumer demand,” he added.
The lockdown experience
The first two months when operations came to a sudden halt, there was a lot of uncertainty and confusions about the future. Supply chain had been completely disrupted. However, that halt also led to a lot of pent up demand. Moreover, with people staying more at home, they started paying more attention to wellness and sleep.
“As the lockdown eased, we registered an increase in customer queries about our products. There has been a perceptible shift in customer preferences, possibly, due to prolonged stay at home as well as crucial conversations about health and well-being,” shared Garg.
As working from home became the norm, Wakefit.com also witnessed an upsurge in the demand for better home solutions. “We understand that customers are creating their own efficient and ergonomic work spaces within their homes, while also filling the gaps in their home furniture needs now that they are spending more hours indoors. This has contributed to steady growth in demand over the last two months. We surpassed pre-Covid demand in June and are on track to do the same in July as well,” he added.
Wakefit.co’s marketing plans for FY2021
Wakefit.co has had an interesting marketing journey so far. Last year, a campaign it did, inviting entries for its sleep internship went viral, for all the right reasons. It was a smart campaign, and appealed to a huge consumer base that was intrigued at the prospect of getting paid to sleep.
More recently, another campaign the startup did featuring actors Sumit Vyas and Rasika Dugal was also widely shared, for voicing what a lot ofus had been experiencing during the first few weeks of the lockdown.
So what comes next in their marketing journey? “Our goal is to build brand awareness and the best way to do it, in our opinion, is to take the stance of educating customers and to focus on innovative ideas and content that will resonate with our target audience. For instance, intelligent campaigns – such as our sleep internship campaign or the open letter campaign which went live during the lockdown period – give us opportunities to engage with our customers in meaningful ways,” said Ramalingegowda.
Recently, the brand also launched the ‘Wakefit Rewards’ initiative to provide value-added benefits to its customers. It also partnered with brands like Gaana, Cleartrip, Bombay Shaving Company, Ajio, 1MG and Parentlane among others to offer value-added offers on the purchase of Wakefit.co products. The collaboration was purely on goodwill, without any commercial considerations. This allowed the partner brands to attract traffic from Wakefit.co’s users without incurring any marketing costs while Wakefit.co’s customers derived value too.
On what kind of marketing budgets they are looking at allocating this year, Ramalingegowda said, “Our marketing budget allocations have always been made keeping consumer sentiment and situational awareness in mind. We do not believe in spending large marketing budgets for the sake of it or because other brands are doing it. We always think about the benefit it will add to the customer’s life and then create initiatives accordingly.”
Going deeper into Bharat
While the brand is expanding its offering by diversifying, its next phase of growth will also come from going deeper into the country. Already close to 30% of its demand comes from Tier II and Tier III markets.
“When it comes to going deeper into the country, strategic collaborations will be the key. We work with multiple logistic partners, who have unique strengths in diverse geographies, to ensure that Wakefit.co has a robust distribution and delivery system in every corner of India. We have capabilities to deliver across 19,000+ pincodes in the country and around 30% of our demand comes from Tier 2 and 3 markets. As we grow steadily, we aim to target Tier 2 and 3 cities aggressively and target 50% demand from these markets,” shared Garg.
Wakefit.co of the future
Both Garg and Ramalingegowda are confident that the startup is on the right path. It will continue to keep the consumer at the heart of everything that it does.
On what he thinks the Wakefit.co of the future will look like, Garg said, “The vision is to strengthen the brand and ramp up production capabilities as well as distribution network across Indian markets. Our focus is on providing cutting-edge home solutions to Indian consumers at a highly affordable price point. The idea is to create a pioneering company powered by constant innovation based on consumer data and feedback. At Wakefit.co, we are working towards inspiring healthy conversations that create greater awareness about the importance of sleep and home wellness.”