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Sstorm: Aims to Bring Niche Global Products to Indian Market

Our ultimate goal is to launch 25 new international products every day, and keep things fresh by continuously cycling products on our platform.

Sstorm was founded in January 2017 with aim to bring niche, global products to Indian consumers – products that have never before hit the Indian market before. The cross border e-commerce segment has shown positive signs in India, but is marred with high customs duties and shipping charges.

Sstorm’s goal is to provide innovative products from cutting-edge brands across the globe to the Indian consumer at MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) – inclusive of all duties, taxes, and shipping costs - $50 in the U.S., $50 at your doorstep. BWDisrupt spoke to Armaan Gandhi, CEO & Co-founder, Sstorm, to know more about their businessmodel:-

Sstorm’s Journey
The idea behind setting up Sstorm was conceived while thinking of a pivoting model for their first venture, Xyra, that manufactured and sold innovative consumer electronics. I realized, however, that required deep pockets and massive time and effort for a successful launch for every product - from market research to product development to marketing. I thought of a better way to bring innovation to India at a fair price, and with the help of my partners, we were able to create and streamline a full-blown operation, bringing innovative products from across the globe to India at international MSRP, inclusive of all duties, taxes, and shipping. We launched a teaser campaign in September 2016 to gauge market interest, and we officially launched the platform in January 2017.

Founding team at Sstorm:
Armaan Gandhi: Founder & CEO - Operations, Vendor Relations & Marketing
Anup Gandhi: Co-Founder - Operations & Finance
Arzan Irani: Co-Founder - Technology & Operations
Sahej Sethi: Co-Founder - Marketing
Ryan La Valle: Co-Founder - Operations

USP & Key Features Offered
The demand for innovative tech/fashion/travel/home based products is increasingly steadily in India. This can be attributed to the rise in income levels and lifestyle changes among the consumers to own branded and innovative products.
• All our products are sourced from high-end, international brands from across the globe.
• We focus on innovative and unique products that have never been launched in India.
• 90% of the products available on Sstorm platform are exclusively sold through our portal and are not available anywhere in India.
• Customers can purchase products at the brand’s MSRP - including all the customs duties, taxes and international shipping costs (yes, we offer free international shipping too) - $50 in the U.S., $50 at your doorstep – inclusive of all additional charges.
• What keeps bringing customers back to our platform is that we churn our product portfolio every month. We introduce a new product selection every month from over 10 different categories.
• The platform receives over 3000+ new visitors daily and has over 15,000+ registered members on its platform.

Funding Status as Of Now
Sstorm is a self-funded and bootstrapped startup. However, our plan is to approach investors once we have a good understanding about the traction and challenges, and what customers actually want. It’s almost that time.

Monetisation Model of the Company
Let’s just say the way we make our money is because of our relationships with our suppliers, which allow us to purchase at wholesale prices. We also lower our shipping costs because of our consolidation logistics partners. With these savings, we are able to deliver the latest products to customers in India at MRP, inclusive of all duties, taxes or shipping costs. We currently have exclusive agreements with suppliers from U.S., Canada, Italy, France, Croatia, Australia, and many other countries.

Challenges Faced by the Founders
The first challenge we faced was realizing we needed a COD model as well, as most of the customers in India prefer the COD system. We have successfully adopted this model. The delivery time is a bit of a challenge as we do not stock products in India. We are working on reducing our delivery time through logistics and forecasting. The third challenge is the lack of access to funds to help us get out there and spread the word.

Marketing Efforts put in by the Team
We rely heavily on Social Media and Google AdWords for marketing purposes, and we hope to get funding to take this up several notches. We are also looking at creating an influencer platform and hosting product giveaway as part of our marketing strategy.

Future Plans of the Startup
Our ultimate goal is to launch 25 new international products every day, and keep things fresh by continuously cycling products on our platform. In the very near future (in fact we have already started), we will be looking for funding to scale our model and really show the Indian consumers the advantages of shopping through Sstorm.

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SSTORM interview funding Armaan Gandhi duties taxes and shipping

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