All You Need To Have Is A Focused Plan Of Action To Tap Market Potential: Rishi Sakhuja, CEO at Fruit Box & Co

In an interview with BW Businessworld, Rishi Sakhuja, CEO at Fruit Box & Co, talks about expansion plans, competition, and more

  1. Brief us about your business model, like how did the idea come to start, and how does it work (step by step procedure)?

We had prior experience dealing with farmers, wholesalers, importers, and customers. Working with them, we noticed a huge gap in the B2C model for quality produce, while the awareness around eating healthy and the source of the produce were hitting an all-time high. This came as a brilliant opportunity for us to launch a website that focuses on delivering only premium and fresh produce to the customers.

Making the most of our existing farmer network and cold store facility, we were quick to set up an online platform and started catering to the customers. Soon there was a great demand for our quality produce and we were flooded with orders. In fact, we saw a huge surge in repeat orders from our existing customers in a pretty short time. This is because we select the freshest and choicest produce from our network of over 500 farmers, suppliers, wholesalers, and importers. Besides, we pay a lot of attention to the handling and transportation, right from the farm to the packaging house, until it reaches the end customer. Serving the best product means the world to us. After all, we have been very clear about delivering three things since the inception, viz. quality, quality, and quality.

  1. What are the unique key points of your company?

Our company stands for the finest quality of produce across all our exotic, seasonal local fruits and vegetables categories, ensuring a high-end service to the entire clientele. Some of our noteworthy features include:

  1. We sell top-notch produce that doesn't fall short on any parameters, be it quality, taste, and texture. They are mindfully assorted and handpicked by our team members with minimal fruit handling to ensure that the quality remains impeccable.

  1. Considering the perishable nature of the produce, we make sure that the packaging is such that it keeps its constituents in the best condition en-route its journey to the doorstep of our customers. Our exquisite range of gift packaging is also attractive to our clients that celebrate any occasion sending warm wishes topped with a beautifully crafted gift box to their near and dear ones. 

  1. We take the utmost care about how we deliver the product. Maintaining standard health and safety measures while delivering are integral to our company.

  1. We are committed to providing the best service to our customers and are very open to the feedback. Customer satisfaction is important to us and we have a quick plan of action to resolve their queries and provide a better solution. We believe client feedback is a good way to strengthen your services and must be well-handled.

  1. We leverage airline cargo facilities to airlift fruits and veggies from different states. This allows us to provide the best of everything to our customers at their convenience. 

  1. We have AI-enabled apps that take care of grading and sorting of produce. This keeps a tab on the quality factor in whatever we select.

  1. How are you different from the existing competitors?

What separates us from the rest is our ability to withstand this ever-evolving, dynamic market purely based on how we operate. Firstly, we provide superior quality fruits and veggies, every time, without fail, and are also planning to expand the product categories. Secondly, we have the perfect range of gift hampers for all occasions. Third, we are quite sincere and responsive to customer feedback and queries. Moreover, we offer exceptional service be it about products, delivery, feedback, resolution post-delivery, whenever required. All these factors have helped keep our customers happy and growing with time.

  1. What is the funding status and monetization model?

We are self-funded as of now.

  1. What challenges are you facing in running your business?

Well, the challenges keep on changing their course from time to time. On one day, you have weather constraints when an unpredictable downpour makes it difficult to complete deliveries. Extreme care is paramount in handling perishable goods and you have to ensure that the item reaches the customer in good condition. Then there are logistical problems that skyrocketed during the pandemic. On top of it, we have to take care of the price fluctuations as the choicest quality doesn't come cheap. Our products are sourced from different states covering a great deal of distance. We have to be absolutely sure that the produce remains safe and intact during the transit, all the way from the farms to our facility. Besides, lack of reefer vehicles and cold chain transport brings its struggles. But thankfully, we have a dedicated team that doesn't let the stress get the better of us. 

  1. How has been the people's response so far?

It has always been overwhelming but has been mind-blowing in the past few months. We are happy to be receiving a positive response throughout and it surely couldn't get any better. Moreover, word-of-mouth referrals are creating a good source of entrustment within our new clientele, which we hear quite often these days. We have seen a massive spike in repeat orders, which means we are fast developing a base of loyal customers and understand how important it is to retain them.

  1. What are the traction details (like users, app downloads & other achievements of the company)?

We have a loyal customer base with a 65% repeat customer rate. Our average order value swivels between INR 1500-1700.

  1. How do you look at expansion?

We see expansion as a threshold to success. With growing opportunities in the marketplace, the expansion would only slingshot us to gain better market reach, increasing both growth rate and demand. So, we believe, the expansion of our product line, services, corporate alliances, and collaborations will lead us to the path of progress that promises consistent revenue with desirable profits.

  1. What are your marketing plans?

We strongly believe in the power of the internet and social media. We think Facebook, Instagram ads, Google ad words are potent tools to promote a brand. We are already using Email marketing, surveys, and some offline promotions as some of our marketing tools. 

  1. What has been the biggest learning so far?

The biggest learning would be to know how meeting customer demand holds prime importance and that one should have a future-ready approach in providing alternate solutions to them. There are times when customers have customized requirements or different expectations from our service. So, we try to address them and be on the same page as our customers. This gives them a sense of reliability and fosters long-term relationships with our company. The game is all about customer satisfaction and what steps you take to match their frequency. Fortunately, we have been able to achieve this through our high standards of operations and strong customer engagements, very early in our journey.

  1. What is the market size and opportunity?

The market size is huge and the opportunities are endless. All you need to have is a focused plan of action to tap the market potential. This requires a close study of consumer behavior, growing demand, identifying the evolved product categories and services, topped with the right implementation. This can ensure long-term stability in the market for just any company. 

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Rishi Sakhuja Fruit Box & Co

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