This story is about Chumbak’s entry into online world with Google AdWords. Gone are the days when start ups would take years an years to get visibility and prosper. Today, a start up can easily reach out to hundreds of thousands people and succeed without having to spend a huge sum – but only if it knows how to make the best use of the Web and its various free services available online.
One such story is of Shubhra Chadda and her husband Vivek Prabhakar, the founders of the quirky homogenous products and magnets – Chumbak . This is a typical rags to riches story with a twist at the end where a couple decided to turn around their careers by selling off their home in Bangalore . They had an idea of a startup that sells products that epitomizes colorful Indian designs in small quantities. The designs of the product they sell are quirky and colorful, but what stands out is the Indian-ness of their designs.The idea excited them , but then came the hurdle that every small enterpreuner in India faces – how to advertise and market the product in a country with the second largest population in the world and limited connectivity .
As a small start-up, Chumbak needed a cost-effective way to get the word out about its products, build a community of people supportive of the brand and introduce products and create a niche space of their own. That is how they stumbled upon Google Adwords. Google Adwords – an online advertising service that enables advertisers to compete to display brief advertising copy to web users, based in part on keywords- was the perfect tool to help them to achieve their goals. Through Adwords they promoted their Ad Campaign and promoted their products . Yet they felt they could not compete in the vast forray of Keywords . Therefore instead of focussing on words which would yield good results and high returns , they turned their attention to terms like ‘auto-rickshaw’ and ‘boxers’ and have people searching for those words, stumble upon Chumbak.
“We look at AdWords quite differently. We decided to step back and look at categories like coffee mugs, fridge magnet, postcards, etc that people search for less, but make sure that we were the leaders in the same. In this case, AdWords helped us spread the word,” is how Vivek Prabhakar describes using Google Adwords.
Now a hugely profitable company , Chumbak recovered its costs and started to break-even within 5 months of its setup. Such was the influence of the strategy enabled by the firm that Google selected them as one of the three companies from across the world for a case study about how companies have successfully used Google services. They were also one of the first brands to be chosen from India who were the topic of a case study by Facebook.
What made them stand out was their volumes of products which ranged from INR 95 to 1,495 along with active and smart utilization of Google Adwords which was the center of their marketing strategy. All they did was engage with their customers, responde quickly to queries, hold interesting contests and crowdsource ideas for new launches along with giving a peek, using Facebook ads to target sponsored stories about their products to friends of its 100K+ fans through their website.
Today because of their unique strategies they have now been able to expand their business to over 150 retail outlets across India and to top that they also made their presence in 70 multi-branded outlets in Japan. Due to the overwhelming success of the Bangalore-based startup which had raised $2 million in Series A funding from venture capital firm Seedfund in 2012, now plan to expand their E-commerce division and try to quadruple their sales via www.chumbak.com andwww.flipkart.com. The company has set itself a sales target of Rs 400 crore in the next three years.The latest reports estimate that the comapny earns more than 20 % of its revenue via online sales.
Chumbak has already performed well enough to be a part of a three-company case study by Google for its ‘The Web Is What You Make Of It’ campaign.Most importantly, the couple enjoy what they do, and can’t wait to get their expansion plans rolling.