Hameed Imthad was working in Dubai when his second child was born. As it often happens with infants, the boy had very sensitive skin and most diaper brands left him with rashes. That’s when Imthad’s sister told him about eco-friendly diapers, which came to his rescue.
Fortunately for Imthad, these diapers and products were easily available in the UAE, but the same could not be said about India when he moved here. His wife and him had to either bring diapers with them on flights to India or buy them at a very high price on Amazon.
Soon enough Imthad and his friend Abdul Wahab started trading baby care products in India in 2016. After a few years of trading, they noticed the demand and growth for organic and eco-friendly products in the segment and started setting up a marketplace for the same, and that’s how Baby Amore was born in 2019.
“We started with diapers, then we realised the gaps in the other baby essential categories. So, we decided to streamline and have a platform selling eco-friendly, organic and premium baby products,” Imthad said.
The Indian organic market has undoubtedly grown a lot over the years, while earlier the growth was dominated by the food segment, in recent times, there is an increase in the adoption of the organic and eco-friendly products in skincare and baby care as well. An estimation by Data Bridge Market Research showed that the India baby care products market is expected to reach over $5K Mn by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 16.9% between 2020 to 2027.
According to Imthad, over the past year and more, the demand for organic, eco-friendly and premium products has increased in India across all segments. “Earlier people were more focused on the organic food range now the focus has shifted to all the products such as skincare, clothes, diapers, and other essentials,” he added.
A survey by Euromonitor backs this claim of the customer being more conscious and particular. According to the survey, shoppers are influenced most by environment-consciousness and eco-friendliness of brands (67%), followed by natural and organic ingredients (66% and 65%, respectively). The report also said, “62% of the respondents surveyed said recyclability influenced their purchases, while 59% said supporting a charitable cause was a key factor while shopping.”
“India has been a mass-market and quality was usually neglected. Cheap smartphones and internet have led to parents doing a lot of research before choosing a product for their baby. We have gone through the same and can relate with that,” said Imthad.
Similar to Flipkart and Amazon, Baby Amore is a marketplace that also manages the logistics and visibility for brands through partnerships. It counts names such as Bambo Nature, Pure Born, Mustela, Seba Med, Aveeno Baby and more as sellers and clients.
Headquartered in Chennai, while it had 200 orders per month before Covid, the number has increased four times now to reach 800 orders currently.
Baby Amore In India: Growth Amid The Pandemic
Claiming to have over 1.5K loyal customers, the startup has gone with the brands that are well-known names in the baby care market in India or overseas. This enables the company to stand out from baby care brands on other marketplaces.
A key part of onboarding new brands and sellers is the complete research on the product, the ingredients and materials used as well as the certifications. This is conducted by the company before initiating any conversation with the manufacturer, distributor or supplier of a brand. Through such processes, the company ensures the authenticity of the brands and also ensures that the products fit the organic and eco-friendly needs.
Besides logistics, brands also engage with Baby Amore to reach their target audience by giving them visibility across the markets where the startup has its reach, namely India and the UAE.
Like every other ecommerce business, Baby Amore had to suffer through a major slowdown during the early days of the pandemic when there was no clarity on what deliveries were allowed under the lockdown rules. This impacted the startup’s business immensely, but it was able to bounce back as soon many of the baby care products fell in the ‘essentials’ category for deliveries, Wahab recalled.
Considering the sensitive nature of the baby care segment, the cofounder said that the company had to put in place measures for safe and sanitised deliveries and the hygiene of the packaging being delivered. All brands in the Baby Amore portfolio have GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) certificates for their factories where the products are manufactured, which helps build trust among the consumers.
Building And Scaling Vertical Ecommerce In India
When asked about the challenges faced in the growth and scale-up journey, Wahab said that brand awareness has been a key challenge. “Majority of the people in India want to see ads or celebrity endorsements to trust the product. We are aiming for mom influencers to try our product and give honest feedback,” he added.
Besides this, the startup is relying on third-party courier companies deliveries and claims that on-time deliveries are one of the biggest hurdles for ecommerce startups. Given the early stage of the startup, the technology is still a work-in-progress. The goal is to help the customers with a seamless experience right from placing the order to making the payment and tracking their orders with just one click on mobile.
Having launched its website in UAE in July this year with over 50 brands and 1.5K SKUs, Baby Amore is optimistic that by Q2 of 2021, it will enter the Singapore and Malaysia markets as well.
“We started with one brand and at the moment we have over 47 brands and more than 450 SKUs. We are in constant pursuit of adding more brands,” added Wahab.