Raghunandan Saraf, Founder & CEO, Saraf Furniture

Our venture has been serving over 1 million customers pan India, with an assorted bouquet of furniture, free shipping free and zero assembly charges.

Dec 10, 2020 07:12 IST India Infoline News Service

Raghunandan Saraf completed his MBA from SRCC, Delhi, and then he decided to go back to his hometown and transform his father’s local business from Sardarshahar village in Rajasthan. The touch of digitization made this 40-year-old legacy an online marketplace to buy modern-day furniture at affordable prices. It also was one of the first five mobile applications that transformed furniture market into an organized business segment. Saraf Furniture is a traditional home-based furniture business in the league of modern furniture suppliers of the Indian Furniture market, as well as, it holds the vision and the startup culture of being a leading furniture brand nationally and globally. Raghunandan Saraf believes in ‘offering outstanding products with uncompromised wooden quality and the rest just follows.’
In an interaction with Shweta Papriwal, Editor, indiainfoline.com, Raghunandan Saraf, Founder & CEO, Saraf Furniture said, "We bank on being the exclusive manufacturer of genuine quality solid Sheesham wood furniture. We sell products directly to the customer from the manufacturing plant". 

SarafFurniture is a traditional home-based furniture business in the league of modern furniture suppliers of the Indian Furniture market. We provide the most stylish and chic furniture that suits all budget, made with authentic and genuine quality Sheesham wood. We treat and season the wood with termite-resistant polish and provide a lifetime warranty on the same. Our venture has been serving over 1 million customers pan India, with an assorted bouquet of furniture, free shipping free and zero assembly charges. Furthermore, we understand the financial crunches of customers and thereby, provide an Easy EMI option as well as personalized customization to serve them better.
 
Saraf furniture notches up with assorted furniture for your home decor. We provide all kinds of home furnishing basics, such as – exquisite and comfortable sofas, sofa-cum bed – a 2-in-1 bestseller as it creates space while also serving its purpose. Our products also include unique and ambiance-friendly wing chairs, dining tables, coffee tables, chic console tables, and side tables; and elegant beds as well.  What’s more, we also provide wooden accessories like outdoor kitchen cabinets, wooden trays, wooden coasters, wooden clocks, and stylish tabletops to upgrade home décor. We take pride in being the only name in the furniture industry to sell our products and services directly to the customer.
 
What are the emerging trends in E-commerce furniture industry?
 
Augmented Reality: People have been involved in online shopping for several years even before COVID-19 hit the world. However, the pandemic has allowed furniture companies to adopt augmented reality technology to improve customer experience. Online furniture brands are ensuring hassle-free buying experience for customers that they can enjoy from the comfort of their home.
 
Customization & Personalization: With the help of technology, personalization & customization comes easy for furniture companies. Saraf Furniture customizes and tailors the furniture according to needs of customers. Building a profoundly customized client experience is an ecommerce technique that expands commitment and drives transformation. Today, the customer demands unique, mechanical, chic furniture and this is possible with personalization. Nowadays, customers are more vocal & clearer about their needs and wants, which makes it easier for manufacturers to offer unique furniture designs.
Interactive Applications: With interactive applications coming in with the evolving technologies, customers can now change the finish, size, styles, colors, and types of fronts, handles, or countertops online. Such technologies have played a vital role in bridging the gap between customers and suppliers/ manufacturers / retailers.
 
Virtual Consultation: Saraf furniture has scheduled in-home virtual consultations for customers with furniture experts to understand their needs and figure out what actually works for them and their house. This also allows them to experience the product even before it is delivered to their door step.
 
Industry market size of the segment that you operate in? Who are your competitors?
 
The market share in our segment is 22 million USD.
 
There are many emerging furniture stores coming up in India by the day. We believe there is healthy competition among those who produce and deliver authentic and genuine products. We perceive PepperFry and Urban Ladder as our strong and sturdy competitors.
 
What are the major USP's of the company and how is it better than other players in the market?
 
We bank on being the exclusive manufacturer of genuine quality solid Sheesham wood furniture. We sell products directly to the customer from the manufacturing plant. Our products are affordable with a price difference of 35-60% from online and 65-130% from offline sellers.
 
There are several factors that differentiates Saraf Furniture from other players:
  • We produce genuine quality Sheesham wood furniture.
  • We manufacture as well as sell furniture (offline and online).
  • Our company offers free shipping pan India.
  • We offer customized furniture to customers.
 
What sort of technology has been appointed by Saraf furniture?
 
For in-store operations, we are on the verge of enhancing user experience by implementing latest technologically-immersive shopping in pre and post buying behavior. The pre-buying pattern includes a stand-alone application that offers a detailed description of the product – from start to finish. Next comes, the VR technology, where users can virtually experience the store, furniture, and home decorated with genuine quality solid Sheesham wood furniture. We believe this will help users in understanding the furnishing and make the best choice for their home.  With the latest advancement in technology, the post buying pattern would use a redressal system to provide assistance with ETA of 4 hours.
 
We have back-end software inbuilt in our website, exclusively for our customers. This software provides updates on the product and tracks every stage of production. It begins with the order, followed by production, polishing of the furniture, quality check, packaging, and finally loading into logistic vehicles for final dispatch.
 
How COVID-19 outbreak has affected your business?
 
The world has come to a standstill due to the spread of coronavirus. The resultant lockdown has left its mark profoundly. Being a manufacturer and online retailer, the damage was expected to be immense. Every sector of the industry is trying hard to recover from the loss incurred.  To survive and grow during the lockdown was challenging, as every operational module was on hold. However, amidst lockdown, with liberalization in MHA guidelines, we could take up operations and deliver furniture in the green zone. This was all possible because of technological advancements like VR technologies, video conferencing, etc.
 
SarafFurniture did not leave any stone unturned. We used digital tools and marketing to maintain visibility in the current situation. It is important to take acknowledge that increase in online shopping is no longer a trend, but gradually becoming the only way to shop nowadays.
 
What are the major challenges that you have faced as an entrepreneur?
We had some minor difficulties back in 2014, while on the journey towards success. Even though people have moved towards modernization and modern living, they are still skeptical about online advance payments. Moreover, customers preferred customization of the product and were dependent on reviews and experts’ advice. To overcome such reservations, we decided to offer customization & experts’ advice on call to customers, and gave them a comprehensible chance to touch, feel, and see the product. In terms of financial problems or online advances, we came up with easy EMI and financing options.
 
What are the future plans of the company?
 
Being a customer-oriented company, back in the FY 2019, we emerged as a leading furniture offline store in eminent Indian metro cities like Bangalore, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Surat, and Hyderabad. By understanding needs of customers and engaging visitors, we are enhancing our footprint across the country.
 
We have plans to expand our reach in Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, and Guwahati.
 
Anything else you would like to mention?
 
During such unprecedented times, we find ourselves in decent shape. With current shift in trends, consumer behavior, and buying patterns around the globe, we have our foot on the ground and ready to roll. What’s more, we have developed ecommerce strategies and moulded ourselves according to industrial and consumer needs, ensuring stronger foothold in the market. 

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