One of the key trends witnessed was the record number of first-time online buyers. The pandemic has been an opportunity for many consumers who may have been previously apprehensive, to experience the convenience of online buying, Duroflex President (Business-Unit-head), Mohanraj said.
Stating that the company faced challenges in e-commerce as the products were ''bulky and voluminous'' adding to ''freight costs'', he said, ''we have overcome this by launching easy-to-ship, vacuum packed mattresses that can be delivered to consumers' doorsteps pan-India targeting digital native, millennials.'' ''We are working on developing high in-house capability in terms of logistics and last-mile delivery to overcome the supply chain challenges. We have separate factory lines dedicated to e-commerce products,'' he told PTI.
Another challenge faced by the company was the sale of 'sub-standard' products' in the online space and the company learnt that building awareness about the quality of its products was 'of paramount importance,'' he said.
''A key trend this year is the record number of first time online-buyers. While the youth are primarily online buyers, 81 per cent of retail shoppers conduct online research before buying'', he said.
Nearly 60 per cent of the market was in the 'unbranded category' and with the rising awareness of good quality sleep post-pandemic, there was a shift from 'unbranded to branded' and 'within branded to better quality brands', he said.
''This opportunity can be tapped more rapidly with e-commerce'', he said.
To a query on the impact of pandemic on the company operations, he said, ''we responded to the pandemic with agility and resilience. We used this time to understand how consumer needs were evolving and what were their expectations''.
During the outbreak, the company forayed into the furniture business with the launch of 'work from home furniture' range and with consumers opting for purchase through e-commerce, the company launched a new 'shopper friendly' website.
''We launched easy to ship, vacuum packed mattresses, our Livein range which can be delivered doorstep pan-India,'' he said.
On the plans to increase market share in the sleep solutions category, he said, ''the company was building a pan-India presence through retail expansion. We are expanding manufacturing setups outside South India as well as foraying into new categories like home furnishing and furniture''.
''The collaboration with (Bollywood actress) Alia Bhatt as the national brand ambassador is also a step in that direction'', he said.
The company was eyeing to grow 20-25 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) as against the industry growth of 8-10 per cent, he said.