Headquartered in Gurgaon, Yepme is an online shopping company that is positioned as a fully-fledged private label fashion brand which specializes in the sale of men’s and women’s garments and accessories on the internet.
The online store displays some of the most trending, fresh and exciting merchandise including Men’s wear, Women’s wear, Watches, Ethnic wear, Winter wear, etc…
The company has built a business that runs around something called ‘Fast Fashion Model’. Under this model, the idea is to keep their online store fresh and exiting daily by displaying fresh Fashion merchandise.
They are able to achieve that by curating fresh and new designs on a daily basis with the help of a team of designers who come from some of the topmost design institutes. And the inspiration or rather the idea for these designs comes from real-time research and analytics that happens at the backend on the latest fashion trends running in the global fashion markets.
Additionally, the platform also has a section called ‘Lookbook’ and a ‘Blog’ to keep you updated about the latest fashion trends that are running in the fashion markets across the world and how they would look like on a person.
And to make it even more convenient – they have also added a ‘Virtual Dressing Room’, to see how an item would potentially look like before you purchase it. One could choose any combination of shoes, trouser, shirt, belt, etc…
Ordering products from Yepme is pretty simple. All you need to do is: -
- Select the items you wish to purchase
- Enter your shipping address
- Choose the payment option and accordingly enter the information
- And voila! You’re done. (The order is delivered by a reputed courier company)
- Other than that, you can also place your order over the phone. You can contact them on 011-43504444 and book your items using the COD (Cash on Delivery) mode.
- You will also receive a confirmation via text and email, after the order is successfully placed.
- Later, you would also receive regular updates of your order status text and email.
Talking about the cancellations and refund – As long as your order has not been dispatched, Yepme cancels the order and refunds the amount. And even if the order has been dispatched, you can also refuse to accept the delivery and inform the same to the Customer Care.
Any Yepme Credits used during the purchase are also credited back. Yepme also offers replacement of the merchandise as well.
What Market Segment are they targeting and what strategies have they adopted?
To begin with – Yepme.com had initially started off as an eCommerce marketplace to sell clothes from various brands.
But soon, they saw that larger brands used to offer end-of-lifecycle products to online retailers to avoid inequality between shop and online prices. Additionally, the margins were too low as well. Looking at the conditions and competition, the founders decided to remodel their business from a marketplace to a private label apparel brand.
The idea was to create a sustainable business model which had a high margin and low burn. Hence, they shifted to this model in August 2011 and not only began selling privately labelled clothes, but also began selling their labelled clothes on other multiple other online stores. They also got the advantage of being the first one to enter this genre on the internet.
Talking about their market segment – Overall, their targeted audiences were two kinds of customers – First were the ones who wished to get the same look-and-feel of a brand but at a lower price, and Second were those who didn’t care much about the name on the tag but wanted to look good and trendy.
And to target both of them strategically, Yepme positioned themselves as a brand that offered fresh fashion at affordable rates.
Their focus was more on the style conscious Indian men & women around the age of 20 – 29 years. Due to mediums like TV, Internet and Movies, etc – this segment was well aware about the fashion and its current trends.
More specifically, Yepme had its strategies built for these youth customers based in the tier-2 and tier-3 cities, where the bigger brands did not have many stores.
Talking about their strategies – to make browsing even more convenient for the users in these areas, Yepme had made the site available in Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and Kannada languages as well.
Additionally, since these customers were financially less affluent, Yepme also introduced a “Slow Internet Speed Site” option on the site which helped the users to use the site at a slower speed.
These strategies worked well in their favour because, about 70% of their total sales in 2011 were from the tier-2 and tier-3 cities, and around 35% of these orders were from places where even courier companies did not do deliveries. In the same year, the site also attracted almost 21,000 male visitors to the site.
Later, they also collaborated with several offline stores across these areas to sell “Yepme” labelled products.
Their marketing strategy was equally brilliant too!
Yepme.com organized a Fashion Show at The Ashok Hotel in New Delhi and made some of India’s topmost male models including Dino Morea, Rajneesh Duggal, Rahul Dev and Shawar Ali, etc. walk the ramp for them. They became the first Indian online retailer to organize such an event.
Other than that, they partnered with Lowe Lintas & Partners and Lintas Media Group to take care of their advertising and creative duties, and media planning and buying duties, respectively.
They have also partnered Tyroo Direct to handle their performance marketing duties, and to drive transactions, and to cater to its customers across metropolitan areas, tier 2 and tier 3 towns.
In 2014 – Yepme got onboard Havas Media as their official Media agency, and also partnered with LinguaNext to facilitate their language platform product Linguify on their platform.
Yepme aggressively markets itself through various channels such as advertisements on GEC (general entertainment channels), movies, music channels, print campaigns in vernacular newspapers, etc. Additionally, they have focused immensely on their social media marketing as well.
Over the period of time, Yepme has also got onboard a range of Bollywood Celebrities from Rhea Chakraborty, Farhan Akhtar, Sonu Sood, Esha Gupta, Kangana Ranaut to the King of Bollywood – Shah Rukh Khan to promote various sections of their brand.
More recently, they had also sponsored the West Indies team for ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. The West Indies cricket team Jerseys were seen bearing the Yepme logo and various contests were also run around the same as well.
Using such strategies, Yepme has managed to achieve more than 4.5-time ROI and over 125% increase in the conversion rate as well.
According to the founders – now, they were able to make a 20-25% margin on every product that they were shipping. Apart from covering the delivery and product cost, that margin also paid for the fixed costs as well. And, the money that they raised was spent for advertising and building the brand.
Who leads the brand?
Currently, Yepme.com is led by its three founders and former students of Indian Institutes of Technology and Indian Institutes of Management: Vivek Gaur, Sandeep Sharma and Anand Jadhav.
To give you a short brief about his profile – Vivek has completed his B.E. in Mechanical from the Delhi College of Engineering in 1990, post which, he went on to achieve his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) in Marketing from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Lucknow.
After completing his graduation, he began his career by working for Tata Motors in 1990 – 1991 as a Graduate Engineering Trainee for more than a year.
Later, he went on to pursue his MBA, after which, he joined Hindustan Unilever Ltd as their Regional Sales Manager in 1993 – 2003. After working there for more than 10 years, he then moved on to Living Media India Limited as an Executive Director in 2003. Here, he got the opportunity to work and commence some really interesting start-ups like www.bagittoday.com.
In 2009, he took his final jump to HT Media Limited as the Business Head North & East, Magazines, post which, he along with his cofounders, launched Yepme.com in 2010!
- Sandeep Sharma – COO and CTO
Sandeep has completed his education from both – the Indian Institute of Management (Bangalore) as well as the Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi). After completing his studies, he joined ‘HCL Technologies’ in 2000 as a Business Analyst. This stint was for about a year.
From here onwards, in a career that spanned for almost 10 years – Sandeep has gone on to work for some of the most reputed firms of their fields including – NSPL (Program Manager), Sapient (Senior Manager), and lastly, Accenture (Senior Manager).
After this, he founded Yepme.com in 2010!
Anand holds a Post Graduate Diploma of Management in Marketing and Finance (PGDM) from the reputed Indian Institute of Management (Lucknow), before which, he had completed his Bachelor’s of Science in Statistics from the St. Xavier’s College.
After completing his PGDM, he began his career as a Media Planner for ‘Ulka Advertising’ in 1993.
He worked there for more than two years, post which, in a span of 17 years, he went on to gain experience from a range of companies including – Shoppers Stop (Deputy Manager for Merchandising), Globus Store Private Limited (Head – Offer Management), Pantaloon Retail India Limited (Chief – New Business), Infiniti Retail Limited – A TATA Group Company (Head – Marketing and Projects), Reliance Trends Limited (VP – Marketing, Strategy and IT), and lastly, Omved Lifestyle Private Limited, (Joint Managing Director).
After this stint, he founded Yepme.com!
How has their growth been so far?
Yepme was founded under the parent company called Vas Data Services Private Limited in 2010 as an eCommerce marketplace, which eventually transformed into the first ever online privately labelled brand in India.
This successful transformation helped the brand gain a turnover of $25 Mn in the first year of operations itself. And in the very next year, it was reported that around 49% of Yepme’s customers so far have come back to them the second time.
Looking at the growing business, in the mid of 2012, Yepme also launched its first women’s wear collection during its fashion show in New Delhi. It was launched by Kangana Ranaut.
By the end of that year, they had been listed by Forbes (India) magazine as one of the top five start-ups to watch out for, while they were ranked #14 among online retail brands globally by Starcount.com as well.
They began the year of 2014 by starting an aggressive hiring process from institutes like IIT and IIM, and ended the year by beginning its expansion into the global markets. They started this by entering into the US market with the launch of Yepmeworld.com and also began selling its products on Amazon in the US as well.
According to reports, Yepme had grown by three folds in the last three years and had also posted revenues of around Rs.140 crores in FY14. They were now witnessing a growth of over 200% in its revenue and were also expecting to close FY15 at somewhere around Rs. 200 crores.
They were now catering to more than 1000 cities monthly and were also delivering close to 500,000 units to its customers every month.
Going ahead, in 2016, Yepme will be changing its strategy from being just an online player to opening stores offline as well.
They would be initiating by opening 20 stores of various sizes in the Delhi-NCR region in the next six months, at an investment budget of roughly $5 million (Rs.33 crores).
Lastly, talking about this funding – so far, Yepme has raised a total of $88.2 Mn in three rounds from five investors, including Capricorn Investment Group, Helion Venture Partners, J.S. Oliver Capital Management, Khazanah Nasional Berhad and TC Capital.