India Now - page 30

tea we consumed,” reminisces the tea
lover. This devotion was what fuelled
his determination to change the face
of the 200-year old tradition-bound
industry that Dugar felt was hampered
by the legacy systems. Indian teas like
Darjeeling, Assam, Kangra and Nilgiri
are iconic brands and their flavours
synonymous with the regions, as are the
wines of France, whiskeys of Scotland
or the chocolates of Switzerland, yet
they lacked global mindshare unlike the
reputed Earl Grey. Teabox moved in to
fill the space of a premium Indian tea
brand with a novel business model.
Disruptive Design
Some traditional practices of tea trade
still survive, for instance, book-keeping
by hand and a large chain of touch and
feel distribution and retail model dotted
with a number of agents and the auction
system that make the farm-to-cup jour-
ney complex and long. At the same time,
new marketing models are also mak-
ing inroads rapidly. Dugar established
his model on the twin foundations of
technology and internet, in a bid to
overcome the inherent shortcomings.
“The Indian tea industry is the world’s
second largest producer and fourth
largest exporter of tea. The entire value
chain comprising scores of middle men,
including brokers, importers, wholesal-
ers, distributors, etc took inordinately
long time for teas, once produced, to
reach the end consumer,” Dugar
explains the market mechanics. The
time taken to reach the market ranges
anywhere between three and six months
from the gardens to hit the shelves of
retail stores and by then most teas have
lost their aroma, flavour and taste. Most
importantly, the cost has increased x
number of times. “It is the freshness of
the tea that really determines the qual-
ity of it,” says the tea entrepreneur. The
kernel of his business idea based on the
premise of shortening the time span
between the cup and the lip literally, saw
Teabox working hard on its retail model
with a vengeance. It whittled down the
‘tea time to consumers’ from three to six
The Perfect Blend
Teabox, with its international staffing model, has got the perfect ingredients
to fix the right brew—energetic, committed, visionary, hardworking, passionate and driven.
months to seven days from the time of
manufacture by ensuring its presence
at the source for the freshest pick up
and the fastest delivery. Teabox has tem-
perature and humidity controlled ware-
houses at the source where it stores the
teas almost as soon as they are procured
fresh from the production centres. “This
gives us the first access to high quality
teas immediately after production,” he
says. In the span of the next 48 hours,
the teas are checked, vacuum-packed
and dispatched to fulfilment centres in
major markets, where they are then sent
to consumer destinations through the
logistics network of Teabox. lists the largest selection
of single estate teas online—150 single
estate teas drawn frommore than 100
tea estates across India and Nepal. Each
product page carries with it the details
of its origin, the date of picking, and a
detailed description of the tea notes—
much like how it is done with the fine
wines. “This sort of approach is new,
especially in the context of teas from
India and Nepal. It is a fairly simple
distribution model. Customers from any
part of the world can choose from over
200 varieties of teas listed on our portal.
Once the order has been placed, we ship
them out within 24 hours to any address
across the world. The teas typically reach
the customer within a week,” explains
Dugar. Over 95 per cent of its customers
reside outside India.
Freshly Brewed
In the fiercely competitive and tradition
bound industry, the core strategy of the
company centres on providing superior
customer experience and service to
customers. “We at Teabox are enabling
tea drinkers around the world to experi-
ence the taste and quality of fresh teas.
This forms the core of our approach
and everything we do stems from this
strategy,” says Dugar. Sure enough, each
of the company’s innovative approaches
are designed with its consumer interface
in mind—jargon free modern commu-
nication, small packages based on cus-
tomer feedback, free samples of other
premium products with ordered pack,
among others. The t-commerce (online
tea) company has a dedicated tech team
for each of its processes. One of their
jobs is to ensure that Teabox is the pre-
mium company to be thrown up in SEO
searches online. Once curious tea con-
sumers log on to the website, they are
offered personalised recommendations
based on Teabox’s 53 tea profiles.
The results are showing as reveals the
tech-savvy ‘teapreneur’, “At a fundamen-
tal level, we are using the power of inter-
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