Thursday, July 17, 2008

Inkfruit : Always On

Corporate Brand : Inkfruit

Brand Analysis Count : 338

Infruit is a unique brand with a special business model . The company is a e-retailer of designer T shirts. But there is a specialty in its business model. The brand aims to source designs from the consumers itself . It is another attempt to co-create with the consumers.

Inkfruit in its earlier avatar was known as Gnome was launched in December 2007. The company aims to discover the design talents in the country and provide a platform to exhibit their designs to a broader audience.

The model work like this :
The aspiring designers can send their designs to Infruit and these designs will be put to vote inside the Inkfruit community. The designs which gets maximum votes is eligible for a honorarium .
These designs are screen printed on T shirts which will be put on sale in the website. The company claims that the T-shirts are made of high quality and the screen printing delivers to the designs.

The T shirts is available for Rs 349 ( Plus delivery charges ) which I think is a reasonable price .

India does not have a pure T-shirt brand. Although most of the readymade brands have T shirts I feel that there is a scope for a pure-play T shirt brand. Because there is a wide acceptance of this category among all demographic profiles in the Indian market. Ladies, Kids, Gents, youth ;all like wearing T-shirts.

In this perspective, Inkfruit has done the right move in tapping this market. Here the differentiation is with design. The company smartly is trying to tap the design talents in the country in a very economical way. We know that reputed designers are costly while there is a huge design talent in India who are looking for platforms to express their skills. Inkfruit offers them the much desired platform.

But all are not rosy for the business model of Inkfruit. The concept of e-retailing is in the nascent stage. The penetration of Internet among the consumers is a vital variable in the success of any e-retailing venture.
There are security fears among consumers in using internet for shopping . To tide over this fear, Inkfruit has introduced Cash-on- Delivery at an additional cost of Rs 30.

With regard to the branding, Inkfruit has to have more clarity. Is it going to be a corporate brand or the T-shirt brand or is it going to be the store brand ?

From the pictures of T-shirts in the website , It is not clear whether there is Inkfruit label in it.According to the company, the name of the designer features on the label which would be a highly motivating factor for the designers.

So with regard to the brand, Inkfruit has to decide and convey its basic brand values to the consumers.
In the marketing perspective, I feel that Inkfruit should be branding its T shirts either using the corporate name or other suitable names. Then they can develop designer series based on the results of the community voting.

Another factor is the sustainability of the model . Inkfruit has tapped the enormous potential of ' Word of Mouse ' and the marketing team has been proactive in reaching out the bloggers and CGM publishers. So far Inkfruit has got tremendous support from the bloggers and online publishers. The brand has to take it forward to the next level of engagement.

T shirt is more of an experiential product which the consumer would like to see, touch and feel before going to make the purchase. So the challenge for the company is to tide over this experiential nature of this product and make the consumer to look at the design and then buy.

To do that , the company may have to induce the customer to make trial purchases. Although the price is reasonable at Rs 349, if a customer wants to order it through COD, then the cost will come to Rs 409. This can put off those customers who wants to try it off. So the company can rethink on the delivery/ COD cost to induce more trial purchases.

It is not easy to make the customers vote for designs and then buy from the website. That require lot of effort from the company . In branding jargon , the level is the Active Engagement where the consumer will use their personal time to participate in activities connected with the brand.

Inkfruit is a unique brand with lot of potential . The realization of this potential is dependant on the effort of building a community around this brand.
Checkout the brand site :