Atul Nath, co-founder of Mojo Box, talks about the challenges of running the business, the process of curating sample boxes, and more.
While the Coronavirus pandemic forced a lot of businesses to shut down, it also created opportunities for new businesses to come up. One such business born out of the pandemic is Mojo Box. Co-founded by Atul S Nath and Amrita Kumar, Mojo Box is a brand engagement and sampling platform. It addresses the consumers directly in their homes.
The company was started in July 2020, and it claims to have made an attempt to reinvent the means of consumer discovery. “We have delivered close to 1.5 lakh boxes across 20-plus cities in India. We do multiple runs of the Mojo Box every quarter, targeting specific consumer cohorts,” says Nath.
The boxes contain a curation of samples of products across categories. They are curated every month and specific customers are given the options to buy them based on their interest. On the website, the customers can create their profiles with their interests. It gives the Mojo Box team an idea of what products the customers would be interested in sampling.
Over a call with afaqs!, Nath mentions that he had come up with this idea for the company as early as 2014, but at the time, the e-commerce sector in the country was not as developed as it is today. When COVID hit, there was a shift and an increased dependence on e-commerce platforms to buy even essential household items.
“Right now, the overall e-commerce and home delivery ecosystem is more robust and developed than it has been in the past. This is what prompted us to launch the company at this time,” he says.
Nath is also running a company called Candid Marketing – which is more than two decades old, and he felt that the time was right to go ahead with Mojo Box. Some of the brands that have been sampled on the platform include those from Bombay Shaving Company, ITC Foods, Cadbury, Titan Skinn, Nourish Organics, Plum Body Lovin, Flavure, Slurrp Farm, The Woman’s Company, etc.
The key elements of the box are put together, keeping in mind the objective of targeting specific consumer profiles, social media amplification, physical product discovery and experience, along with online engagement and product/sample feedback. All this, in turn, lead to product sales on e-commerce platforms. Mojo Box has a very engaged Instagram community of more than 27,000 people.
The consumers register themselves on the platform and fill in a form, which has information about their interests, hence, creating a profile which has social, demographic and economic details about them. This data is important to the marketers, and Nath touts this as Mojo Box’s strength – making sure the right product reaches the relevant consumer. The platform has more than 1.4 lakh registered users, as of now.
“Every brand has its own target audience. So, the target audience for each curated box differs, depending on who the brand wants to target, depending on the content of the boxes. As of now, we have curated five or six different boxes for the next three months and they will be delivered to the customers, basis their interest.”
Nath adds that for the longest time, sampling has been a challenge for the brands, and even more so after COVID hit. This is one of the key focus areas for the company – to induce trials and gather feedback on the samples it sends out as a part of the boxes, says Nath.
“Thirty-five to 40 per cent of the consumers on our platform give feedback on the brands that they use. Along with the products delivered, we put in literature about the brand, the website, where the consumers can buy the products, and so on. We also communicate with them via SMS and emails, because at the end of the day, the sampling must lead to business and sales. That’s the final culmination of this process and the most crucial one too.”
Nath also mentions that the company focuses strongly on the areas of social influence to spread the word about the brand. It works with micro-influencers, who post content on Facebook and Instagram, which again helps the company get traction in terms of the orders placed.
However, it wasn’t easy to get the ball rolling and the company saw some hesitation from the customers. The boxes are prepaid (the company does not have a cash on delivery option yet), so there was hesitancy to put their money down at the risk of the products not being delivered in the first place.
Nath mentions that once the customers started buying their products and liked the offering – they themselves started organically commenting on the social media content. This encouraged other users to buy and trust the company.
Credibility was, indeed, one of the biggest challenges that the brand faced, but it wasn’t the only one. Though the business was born during COVID, the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown restrictions made it difficult for the brand to function. “Lockdown had a big impact on delivery and also posed logistical challenges for us when it came to procuring stock.”
Subscription boxes typically deliver a set of products to the consumers, who pay for the products for a fixed time period. Mojo Box, however, doesn’t work on a subscription basis. The customers can pay and purchase a box at any time they want – giving them an option to opt out of buying it if they don’t like the curation of products that month.
Nath reveals that interestingly, 100 per cent of their customers access the site and place orders via mobile. The company also plans to create an app in future to build on this insight, he signs off.