Bengaluru-based online fashion retailer Voonik is making the pivot for the fifth time, since its inception in 2013. This time, it’s exploring offline channel though franchise stores in tier II and III cities.
According to a report in The Ken, the company is currently piloting an offline store in Thiruthuraipoondi, a small town in Thiruvarur district of Tamil Nadu.
Leveraging franchise route, Voonik plans to transform apparel stores in small cities under its brand name. Such stores will sell Voonik in-house as well as other apparels brand sourced by the company. It’s also started approaching potential stores in metros, mentions The Ken report.
Importantly, prior to Voonik, several fashion-focused online businesses such as YepMe, Zovi, and Freecultr in the past had tried offline channels. However, they failed miserably.
Of late, the Sequoia-backed venture is under fire for laying off employees. It has not been able to scale even after having raised over $26 million in risk capital. The company had continued burning a lot of money towards marketing and advertising until the second half of the last year.
Funding in online fashion space has been experiencing an all-time low in the last three years. Investment into niche online fashion has plunged to $39.5 million so far, this year from $350 million in 2015 and $126 million last year, as per data from research platform Tracxn.
Online fashion players struggle to find right business proposition
So far, none of the fashion-focused companies have done well in India. Fashionandyou, Zovi, YepMe, and Freecultr are dead while Craftsvilla has made three pivots since its inception in 2011. So far, it’s completely failed to figure out the right business model as well as direction.
Whereas Koovs that has gone public in London’s AIM stock exchange in early 2014 is having a bumpy ride. After getting a boost in sales in the first half of the previous year, it was unable to post the profit and marginally narrowed down the losses.