Bandbaajaa.com, a wedding planner e-commerce portal by NDTV group is a one-stop shopfor all wedding related requirements. Connecting brides and grooms to a credible network of vendors, this portal also curates selective wedding merchandise. The wedding portal provides an end-to-end solution to plan and create the ultimate wedding – right from picture-perfect proposals to food-and-beverage vendors, and from wedding attires to exotic honeymoon locations. The website is currently the only wedding portal to operate in multiple languages- English and Hindi, and is planning to go vernacular and explore more languages to gauge greater reach and adoption. Smeeta Chakrabarti, Founder and MD of Bandbaajaa.com shares a slice of this portal’s journey with MarkUp.
Define the USP of Bandbaajaa.com.
Bandbaajaa.com, as the name suggests, is the ultimate one-stop-shop for all wedding related needs. Below are some of the key features of the platform:
- It is the only wedding portal to function in two languages – English and Hindi. The Hindi website allows users to catch up with interesting trends in the wedding industry and products, and sees a huge traction with about 20 percent of the traffic.
- The website features a special automated tool called Mr. Planner, which simplifies the overall process of planning a wedding.
- It helps customers with a network of curated vendors for everything; right from makeup artists to photographers, and from choreographers and wedding planners to wedding decor, and venues.
- The portal also features a potpourri of products- from luxury designers to budget-friendly brands to shop for the ideal bride/groom wear.
What role do you play as the Founder and MD of this e-commerce startup?
I’m involved in framing business strategies and creating a road map for future, apart from overseeing the overall user experience, and growth. Also, we’re constantly on a look out to partner with designers – premium and upcoming.
What latest trends are doing the rounds in the wedding planning industry of India?
Weddings these days are a lot about personalization. People are willing to experiment with a lot of new quirky things like pre-wedding shoots and films, pocket photo albums, fun photo booths with interesting props and vintage photo frames. A lot of thought goes into themed invitation cards, wedding favors, hangover kits, food trucks, tasting carts, food on sticks, and more. People are experimenting not only with the themes and décor, but also with colors of the garments they wear. Brides can be seen opting for royal blue, purple, grey and pastel shades, unlike sticking to traditional reds and maroons.
How is this portal bringing forth all these trends to the Indian consumer?
At Bandbaajaa.com, we have worked to create a network of curated photographers, decorators, planners and other vendors on board, to help our customers with the best servicemen in the field. Apart from educating and creating conversations around wedding trends across the world, we share interesting stories of real people and their weddings to inspire people. Bandbaajaa.com also features a range of eclectic wedding and festive wears, by acclaimed designers and upcoming brands to help customers with the hassles of wedding shopping.
What marketing hacks did you employ to scale up your portal?
We’re incubated by NDTV and thus, a bulk of our order comes directly from the network. Unlike other startups we do not burn money on visibility that much as we get visibility from various platforms of NDTV.
What social media strategies did you employ to get more viewership?
We have spent a good time to understand what our readers would like to read and shop. We understand their needs and wants, and so we create posts and stories on lines that educate our readers about the latest trends-do’s and don’ts, tips and pointers, apart from addressing common issues and solutions to overcome them. We ensure to keep our social media content crisp and attractive for our readers, as it also helps to gain major traction.
What is your business-model like?
We have two major sections on our website; one is the ecommerce section, which is a marketplace and the other is the services section where we have our vendors and their packages listed. We charge a business generating fees from our service vendors and share in revenues from the other vendors. This model looks promising to us, and we’re expecting our revenues to hit 180Cr by 2021.
Define your target audience.
At Bandbaajaa.com, we have products that cater to not just for weddings, but also for festive occasions. We operate at pan India level, so this gives us the leverage to cater to all masses within the age group of 24 to 55.
Tell us about your future expansion plans.
We’re currently operating in 20+ cities, and we have more than 5000 vendors registered with us. We are looking to scale it to 60,000 vendors in the next 5 years and cover over 100 cities. We also want to offer 1,00,000 Indian wedding related products, not just in India but in over 200 countries. As of now the website operates in 2 languages – English and Hindi. We’re planning to go vernacular and offer up to 8 major languages.
Did you face any challenges during the initial setting-up stage of this website? How did you overcome them?
Our startup ecosystem is an ever growing one but the market is still unorganized; there is dearth of proper support and relevant market reports. When we were setting up Bandbaajaa.com, we did our own surveys to understand the industry, the various categories and sub-markets under it, the consumer behavior, the attitude of people towards ecommerce weddings, etc. We weighed in our pros and cons and decided that there is a huge market potential here and we have to overcome our fears to make this big.