PUNE, India -- FirstCry.com, an online retailer of baby goods in India, has been riding a variety of promotions to rapid growth. It might also be on its way to overseas markets.
The e-tailer currently offers 90,000 items, 90% of which it warehouses itself. Of its total sales, 25% comes from the company's private-label brand.
Brain Bees Solutions, which operates the e-tailer and is headquartered here in the western state of Maharashtra, was established in 2010. A year later, the company was opening brick-and-mortar stores; it currently operates over 100 franchise stores in 85 Indian cities.
The country of roughly 1.2 billion people welcomes more than 25 million newborns every year. That makes it a promising but competitive market for baby item makers.
Brain Bees CEO Supam Maheswari has rolled out a number of promotions to build brand loyalty among new moms. The company has partnered with roughly 7,000 hospitals that have maternity wards and every month distributes about 80,000 free gift boxes to women with newborns. The gift box, or "hospital box," contains diaper, baby wipe and lotion samples.
The company has also set up its own social network, World of Moms, where mothers can connect, share their experiences and get advice as well as support on everything that makes up a mom's world.
Brain Bees has held successful fundraising rounds, even receiving money from U.S. venture capitalists. It has raised about $62 million so far this year.
Maheswari says the newly raised cash will be pumped into product development, marketing, the creation of private brands and logistics improvements. Maheshwari also said the company will start mulling whether to expand into Southeast Asian nations like Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, although it plans to focus on its domestic business in the next one to two years.
Before expanding into foreign markets, it wants to clearly differentiate itself from rivals like Hopscotch and Babyoye, a unit of India's Mahindra group. The former was established by two former Diapers.com executives -- Rahul Anand and Lisa Kennedy.
According to Euromonitor International, a British market information company, India's e-commerce market in 2014 grew by 86% on the year to $6.9 billion. The market is expected to continue achieving more than 20% growth per year for some time to come, surging to $25.7 billion by 2019.
Currently, the nation's e-commerce market is largely dominated by three players -- Flipkart and Snapdeal, both home-grown companies, as well as Amazon.com of the U.S. But there are many smaller e-tailers who are carving out niches in food, furniture and other categories.