Seniority is India’s first destination created specially for all senior citizens. They help with their specially curated products. You can browse through their e-commerce platform (www.seniority.in) or even they chain of retail stores. Seniority launched its first store and website www.seniority.in in February 2017.
About the founders
Ayush Agrawal, Co-Founder, Seniority: Ayush Agrawal is an alumnus of IIM Lucknow and has worked with CEAT Specialty, having expertise in business strategy and sales & marketing.
Driven by the aim to address the diverse needs of senior citizens in India today, he believes that this segment is an untapped market with tremendous growth potential. His larger aim in life is to drive real change in society and create a positive impact. For Ayush, the goal with Seniority is to build the first port of call for all seniors and their caregivers.
Tapan Mishra, Co-Founder, Seniority: An experienced professional, Tapan Mishra holds a Double Masters Degree from LSE and XIMB. He has experience in managing supply chain and operations with organizations like Trafigura Pte Ltd. and VoxPop Clothing.
He believes that his larger career goal is to continue to build businesses that solve real problems and makes the life of others simple and easier. Having detected the fragmented senior care market in India, Tapan aims to offer differentiated and innovative products with an unparalleled shopping experience through Seniority.
We are publishing an interview with co-founders of Seniority:
Q.: What is the problem you are trying to solve? Please share with us any insights that led you to believe that this is a big enough problem.
The population of the 60+ years age group is fast growing in India, from 8% of the total population in 2001, to 10% in 2011. In fact, recent reports suggest that by 2041, this number will rise to 20% of the total population. While it is true that India is a young country, what people tend to overlook is that India is also a rapidly ageing country.
A recently released CII report pegs the medical and lifestyle market for the economically independent senior urban population at about ₹43,000 crore. Senior citizens today not only have greater disposable income, but also more willingness to spend on themselves, their lifestyles and even hobbies. The rise in ‘empty nest syndrome’ has only added to the independence of seniors, making it imperative for brands to cater to this largely untapped consumer segment. We identified that the organized retail market for seniors is negligible and wanted to address this gap. That’s where the idea of Seniority was seeded to make it India’s largest shopping destination for senior citizens.
Q. : List all the names of the core Team Members, along with their Designated Roles .
Ans: We have more than 200 employees across India, consisting of a healthy mix of young, spirited individuals as well as experts who have proven experience in their respective domains. We have well-qualified graduates from premier B-schools such as ISB, IIM and IIT, along with professionals with previous work experience in e-commerce companies such as Myntra, Paytm, Ola, etc. who lend their valuable insights to the organization. The average age of employees is around 30 years.
Q.: Tell us about the Product / Solution. How did you get your first customer? Explain how you went about the Product-Market Fit Process.
Ans: Seniority is India’s largest shopping destination for senior citizens, with a thoughtfully curated product portfolio of over 10,000 products across medical and wellness to leisure and lifestyle categories. We have an omnichannel presence, where customers can visit our website (www.seniority.in) as well as stores across 4 cities- Pune, Coimbatore, Bhiwadi and Chennai to shop for their specific needs.
For the first 3 months after setting up Seniority, we kept experimenting with various versions of the business proposition to get an understanding of the direction we wanted to take. The initial objective was to onboard vendors, keep a motivated team together, interact with industry leaders and make our first few sales. We focused on a diligent market research to adopt best practices before actually venturing out in the market. A few initial hiccups here and there helped us reach a threshold where we could officially reach out to our target audience. There has been no looking back ever since, and we are determined to strike a balance between stabilizing existing processes and introducing new ones to keep up with the dynamic work environment.
Q.: What is your USP? * What is the insight that you have about this market, which no one else has?
Ans: Seniority stands out from its peers because we talk about ‘seniority’ or being a senior citizen as the ‘second innings’ of lives. Most of our contemporaries are still caught up in the regressive thinking of seniors being needy and disabled, and this reflects in their product portfolio which largely comprises medical and disability products. We have taken a starkly different swing at this, our tagline is ‘Live Evergreen’ and we want to tell our customers that we are here for all their needs – medical, daily living, kitchen and hobbies. Our community engagement initiatives such as yoga, Zumba, health camps, karaoke nights, movie screenings, etc. help our customers feel valued and cherished.
A core understanding of our consumers and the senior ecosystem, along with a seamless assisted shopping experience, enables us to curate specific products for them. In a first-of-its-kind feature in the e-commerce space, we have enabled shopping through WhatsApp because it is an easy-to-use platform for senior citizens.
Q.: What were your assumptions when you entered the market, learning that you have? Who in your mind is your ideal customer? Do you have at least one of them signed up?
Ans: The first assumption when we started Seniority was that the senior care market would largely be driven by offline purchases. However, through the course of our business operations, we discovered that seniors are becoming increasingly tech savvy and comfortable with e-commerce as a platform. Presently, around 95% of our total orders are placed online, and we have been making conscious efforts to grow since then.
Besides, keeping our core target consumers in mind, one could easily assume that medical aids would be the most sought-after category by seniors. While we started out with a 3:1 ratio of medical and lifestyle products, we soon realized that there is tremendous demand for lifestyle and hobby products among seniors. Today, the ratio has completely reversed and about 3/4th of our product portfolio consists of home essentials, kitchen & dining, hobby, daily living as well as gifting products.
Q.: What has been your biggest failure as an entrepreneur and what did you learn from it?
Ans: We look at failures as the stepping stones to success and strive to overcome the obstacles by working our way around these. It is difficult for any organization to earn the trust of customers initially, and there have been times when we were consumed in self-doubt, but things have fared much better ever since, and we are quite positive about our growth now. From serving 10,000 customers in June 2017 to now having more than 4 lac happy customers, the journey has been phenomenal, and we look forward to more such milestones.
Q.: How are you pricing the Product? What is the logic behind it? What is the model you are following – Free / Freemium / Premium etc.? Explain your thought process.
Ans: Seniority is not a marketplace where different sellers come together to sell their products, instead we invest efforts in ensuring that only products that meet certain pre-defined quality standards are added to our portfolio. We have also successfully forged exclusive partnerships with global brands like Drive DevilBiss, Peta (UK) Ltd., Etac, Tenura to bring top-class engineered products to consumers in India. Our prices are competitive according to market standards, and we continue to provide our customers with exciting offers for their benefit.
Q.: Please tell us about the investors (if any)
Ans: Seniority started with a $1 million seed funding and later raised $5 million over two rounds of funding from RPG Ventures.
Q.: Is there any interesting success story of your startup? If yes, please write about it?
Ans: Seniority has grown about 5X times since its official launch. In terms of revenue, we crossed the first 1 crore (in GMV) in the first 6 months of operations itself. We are growing at more than double the rate every year, registering a month-on-month growth of 10-15%. We have processed more than 8 lac orders till date and served more than 4 lac customers. Customer feedback has been overwhelming and there has been a spurt in demand for a larger variety of convenience products for them.
On 21st June 2018 (International Day of Yoga), we created a historic achievement by capturing Pune’s largest crowd of senior citizens coming together to perform ‘hatha’ yoga and were awarded the Limca Book of Records for the same. We collaborated with the Indian School of Design & Innovation to launch the DISC Challenge (Design Innovation for Senior Care) – a first of its kind challenge in India aimed to recognize the evolving needs of seniors and create solutions that are reflective of their contexts and realities.
Q.: Since inception, give us a sense of the value of business done by your venture? Please explain in detail.
Ans: We complete around 1500 orders a day (roughly 1 order per minute), with an average order value of INR 800-1000. Around 35% of the revenue per month comes from repeat orders. We recently celebrated our grand anniversary and here’s a snippet of our memorable journey – http://bit.ly/3bvP1bL.
Q.: What is the big picture of your startup? Is this Product/service leading to something bigger? If so, how?
Ans: Seniority has a vision of becoming the one-stop shop for all medical, lifestyle and gifting needs of seniors and their caregivers. We are most excited about launching our private label range of products, consisting of thoughtfully crafted and quality assured solutions to meet the evolving needs of seniors. We are also rigorously expanding our presence in the online shopping space as well as offline stores through various retail formats. With a brand ethos as ‘Live Evergreen’, Seniority aims to resonate with and propagate the senior citizens of today, who are independent and empowered in their own right.
Q.: Who do You Perceive as Your Competition? How do you differentiate yourself with them?
Ans: We have had the first mover’s advantage all along and don’t have any competitors at the same scale yet. However, we do firmly believe that our level of curation basis the feedback of our customers, backed by unparalleled customer service is one of our best highlighters. The best way to keep any direct / indirect competition at bay is to provide an excellent and seamless shopping experience to the customers to win their trust and ensure brand stickiness. Once they build a comfort level with a brand or organization, they are hesitant and reluctant to move on from that and try something new.
Q.: What message do you want to convey to fellow entrepreneurs?
Ans: It’s important to trust your instincts and learn from your failures.
Thank you. All the best!