Smit Shukla, VP marketing, speaks about its foray into the home appliances segment.
Urban Company, a player in the home services category, has tapped into the home solutions business with the launch of smart RO water purifiers under its sub-brand Native. The products are the outcome of a consumer insight that the platform has tracked over the past few years.
As of October 2023, the brand has provided maintenance for over 1 million water purifiers, revealing a prevalent pattern where the repetitive cost of servicing a defunct water purifier tops the price of a new one.
Abhiraj Singh Bhal, co-founder, Urban Company, points out that this insight served as the inception of its new products. He says, “The consumer has to spend 3-5 times more in cost of services than the upfront cost of water purifier. With this product, now the customer pain point of getting a service is solved.”
According to the brand, the purifiers are designed to operate without the need for servicing for a duration of two years. Bhal says, “When we started, one of the pain points by consumers was that the technician had to source filters from the market. So we thought, why don’t we get branded OEMS? We approached major OEMS, but at that time all of them declined. In 2018, the brand launched a sub-brand of water filters under the brand name TruWater. In the span of seven months, all the filters used in the service were sourced by us.”
The launch was accompanied by a dedicated ad film, showcasing the features of the products. The brand aims to leverage the ongoing Cricket World Cup frenzy, with the commercial running on CTV (connected Television).
With CTV being the chosen media channel, the brand is targeting a specified cohort with the campaign. As per Smit Shukla, VP, marketing, Urban Company, the platform is actively targeting second-time buyers of water purifiers.
He says, “Our primary target audience is the second-time buyers of water purifiers, who understand the intricacies and complications of servicing water purifiers. These consumers are on CTV, which will be our primary channel. Other than that, we will also employ social platforms to get wider attention.”
With servicing being one of the major footholds of Urban Company’s revenue, would a product lineup independent of servicing hamper the company’s overall business?
Bhal answers, “We’re a consumer-first company because if we don’t innovate, some other player will come around and disrupt the category. The only way to survive and thrive in this competitive industry is to challenge ourselves.”
The products are currently available on the Urban Company app, Amazon, and the top 50 stores of Croma. The brand is not accessing the traditional trade, as of now. The new Native M1 and M2 models will debut at an introductory price of Rs 13,499 and Rs 17, 499.
The Native M2 is integrated with the Urban Company application and shows the overall health of the water purifier. If any of the metrics is not at a certain level, it automatically triggers a warning to the brand prompting a service request.
Under the sub-brand Native, Urban Company is looking to launch other products in the home solutions category. The brand has already launched smart door locks, with a few more products up its sleeve.
The home service company is looking to allocate a significant amount of budget to promote the Native to its customers.
The category code of the water purifiers is built upon trust and the commitment to providing pure water. If the consumers trust the brand, they don’t feel the need to switch. Shukla says, “ We have the necessary accreditations to approve the quality of water. And we’re solving the biggest pain point of consumers by offering no service required for two years. The trust factor is going to build with time.”
In a category predominantly led by Kent, Pureit, and Aquaguard. Urban Company is up for a tough challenge in charting its place amongst the mix.
Shukla says, “These players have existed for decades, but we believe that we have launched something disruptive. We will be able to garner a decent market share.”
The category also sees a strong celebrity presence in terms of endorsements and promotions. Hema Malini for Kent, Madhuri Dixit for Aquaguard, and Sachin Tendulkar for Livpure are a few examples. Is Urban Company looking to follow the same path?
Shukla answers, “For now, we want our devices to be the hero of the conversation, and we’re confident that they are strong enough. We don’t need a celebrity for now. Let’s see how the future unfolds.”