Today’s founders realise the need to build an omnichannel business. New-age consumer brands, in particular, are keen to flank their online retail presence and consumer love with offline availability. As a fund, we’ve seen several of our portfolio companies transition their strategy from being online-only to online-first, with a view to becoming truly omnichannel.
Enter Ripplr, a unique technology enabled distribution platform offering data backed market insights, extensive distribution network and efficient activation planning. It serves the entire gamut of consumer brands, whether new-age, legacy, or regional. Its complementary logistics business goes a step further to help brands tackle more specific distribution challenges, of the kind faced specially by perishable products, or those requiring a cold chain.
Ripplr’s founders have extensive experience in supply chain management and setting up backend operations for large national brands, and this makes them equally familiar with legacy players as well as newer founders, whose businesses they classify as “champions” and “challengers.”
Indian consumer brands sell products worth upwards of $870 B through a network of over 10 million retailers. The traditional distribution model suffers from a combination of issues: poor operational efficiency, limited analytics and data, marginal desire to scale, errors and leakage due to unrecorded transactions, as well as high churn. Together, this forms a plethora of pain points for brands and retailers, who are tied to this model due to a lack of alternative.
Ripplr offers brands a plug-and-play distribution model that solves multiple challenges through its design and technological capabilities. For retailers, it solves the issue of consistency, and ease of ordering. For brands, it is a reliable option that enables them scale their offline presence. And finally, for consumers, it addresses their need for having their favourite brands available on the shelf anytime and every time.
By solving challenges for multiple stakeholders through its efficient, professionally run services, Ripplr provides variety, consistency, and transparency. The technology creates a high degree of ease of ordering, as well as provides data and analytics that can refine and optimise any brand’s distribution strategy.
Ripplr now serves over 75,000 active retailers across 12 cities and has achieved a monthly GMV of Rs 85 Cr. The strong traction in retailer GMV, combined with a consistent rise in AOV and frequency indicates a good PMF, on the back of which the platform plans to scale to serving 1.2 lakh retailers across 30+ cities by end of this year.
Inhouse technology enables seamless operations and accurate data capture across all touch points. Four proprietary apps – Salesman, Picker, Delivery, and Collection – support operations at every stage from beat planning and order placing, stock allocation and dispatch to fulfilment hub, to delivery tracking and payment.
Automated inventory tracking and allocation to hubs improves Ripplr’s efficiency, while geo-tracking of riders ensures reliability. Business planning will improve even further with the Ripplr recommendation engine, which will arm retailers and brands with knowledge of the top selling SKUs in their geography. Similarly, collections will be simplified when Ripplr rolls out their inhouse credit product to retailers on the platform.
The general trade distribution market is ripe for disruption, and technology can enable convenience and reliability for retailers while also delivering data and a professional service experience to brands. Ripplr’s best-in-class team has the experience to run an operations-intensive business like this, proof of which is the fact that it is already the biggest player in the digital FMCG distribution space with exclusive territories for some of the largest Indian brands.
The supply chain expertise of the founding team complements the brand’s technology DNA, which is evident in its fully automated plug-and-play model across sales, invoicing, warehousing, and logistics. Equally strategic is the custom technology play that allows integration with the backend of several large brands, which creates a high switching cost. In combination with the high “stickiness” for retailers on the platform, this provides Ripplr with a moat against new entrants.
At Fireside, we’re committed to building out a robust ecosystem for consumer brands to reach and serve customers better. Ripplr is set to play a large role in that ecosystem, and will also help us enable high-quality retail distribution for our portfolio companies quickly and reliably.
This technology-led disruption could help more and more brands overcome legacy barriers to an omnichannel presence. We look forward to watching many such success stories unfold.