How does an Indian online store move from almost failing to shipping worldwide? We spoke to the famous “heritagewear” brand from Rajasthan, Aachho, to take cues from their real life example.
Aachho is one of the few Indian stores to have been on all of Shopify’s plans, progressing from Shopify’s basic package to the enterprise Shopify Plus plan. From an idea in the head of Rimjhim Hada and Anurag Singh Khangarot, to a brand that is worn by celebrities like Soha Ali Khan and Esha Deol, Aachho has certainly grown in an enviable way through this progression.
What contributed to their success? We got the story right from the horse’s mouth. But before we move on to priceless tips for small businesses from these real-life entrepreneurs, here’s a quick background on how Aachho came into being.
From Christmas to Valentine: The birth of Aachho
Partners in life, Rimjhim and Anurag, started discussing the idea of Aachho almost as soon as they got married in 2016. “I’d grown up seeing all these beautiful Rajasthani Poshaks and every time I would wear these outfits, compliments were sure to follow,” says Rimjhim, “I wanted to introduce people from all over the country and the world to this traditional form of art, and allow them to experience the joy of these beautiful pieces of clothing.” Her husband, Anurag, was extremely supportive of her dream. He believed in her vision, and that’s how the seed of Aachho was sown.
“Although we started thinking about Aachho in 2016, it did not take off immediately,” Anurag reminisces. “It took us a good 1.5 years, lots of preparation and many iterations to get the engine going.”
Read on for some of the learnings from their journey!
1. What’s in a name? Searchability
Aachho is a Marwadi word (in fact the first word in the Marwadi dictionary) and it means “too good”. One of the first things we asked the founders of Aachho was how they came up with this unique name. Their answer surprised us, and also gave us our first tip.
“We wanted our store to be easy to find online, and what better way to do this than with a unique name,” says Anurag. “We were able to align the essence of the product, bring in the traditional flavour of the art and find a name that would help us be uniquely discoverable on search engines,” Rimjhim adds, “What more could we ask for!” What more indeed!
Aachho’s approach of thinking about searchability is our first tip. All online businesses must think about how they can optimize for search engines, making it easier for their customers to find them. There are many ways you can do this – right from starting with a name that is unique, to showing up in search results for the right keywords.
If you’re new to the world of SEO or Search Engine Optimization, here are a few resources to help you get started:
2. Self-help is the best help: Advantage Shopify
An ecommerce website should feature high on the checklist of anyone looking to start an online business. Although Rimjhim did have a background in software engineering, they decided to outsource this line item.
“We thought it would be easier to have someone else build our website. But after many months of reaching out to the top names in website creation, we came to the conclusion that there was no value for money,” Rimjhim notes. “Besides, we also realized that we didn’t want to give anyone else the control of our data and, more importantly, the user journeys we wanted to create,” adds Anurag.
After some research, Rimjhim discovered Shopify and they haven’t looked back since. “Shopify is really easy to set up, even for someone with no technical background,” says Rimjhim, “While the Aachho website took us about a month to take live, most of this time was primarily taken by us to get the groundwork ready for the catalogue. Our second website, Jaysole, took us a few days to take live. And of course, that was on Shopify as well.”
“If you don’t want to make an investment initially, this is the great way to get the features at relatively lower spends and in a way that makes sense for you to scale,” adds Anurag. “Plus the support you get from the Shopify ecosystem is invaluable!”
This brings us to our second takeaway: if you’re not sure, or want to start a low investment business, use an ecommerce platform like Shopify to get started. You can start with the free trial and then scale as you need, just like Aachho did.
Not only does Shopify offer you ease of set-up, at nominal costs, you also get the advantage of security, reliability and the support of a world-class ecosystem to help your business succeed. You can read more about the various plans we offer here, and choose one to quickly get your online store up and running.
3. Pricing is key
Team Aachho learned a very important lesson very early on in their journey, knowing the market and their customers. “When we started, our pricing was anything but competitive. It was no wonder then that we were unable to find many takers. Fortunately, we figured this out early on and doubled down on market research to find the right pricing niche,” shares Anurag. This can truly be the make or break parameter to determine the success of your business.
If you want some tips on the various pricing strategies and how to pick yours, here are a few resources to point you in the right direction:
4. Establish your domain. Literally.
Imposters and frauds are the biggest threats to genuine online businesses. And Aachho dealt with this first hand when they saw images from their online catalogues being used by local shops in their offline signage and merchandise. “It was about a year after shelving the idea of Aachho that actually a family member brought this to our attention, when they went shopping to the local market and came across packaging with our images on them,” shares Rimjhim.
“It really shook me, on one hand, to see all our hard work simply being used like that with no credit. But on the other hand, it gave me a boost knowing that our work was so well-liked that others were using it to drive sales. And that gave me the much needed push to get Aachho going again.”
Not only did Aachho have to deal with offline copycats, they also had unethical businesses use variations of their online domain name to try and con unsuspecting buyers. “Cyber squatting is apparently very common online, and we got first-hand experience with this where someone had cleverly bought the lookalike domain with a spelling mistake, and was selling similar products to deceive the customer by using the credibility of Aachho,” Anurag says.
What lessons can you learn from this? As your business grows, so does the likelihood of others trying to ride on the wave of your success. While this can seem like a petty problem, this can lead to lowered customer trust. So it is important to be mindful of these possibilities and keep your eyes peeled for such activities and take corrective action as soon as possible. These actions include registering a complaint and/or issuing an advisory to your client base, so they can take precautions.
Also think about buying associated domain names (like slight variations of your brand name) to ensure that you capture the online domain before others get the opportunity to squat on this potentially prime online real estate. Here is a list of best domain registrars you can use to buy related domains.
Anurag and Rimjhim took copyright infringement in their stride and used it as the reason to get their brand fired up again, this can be quite daunting for small businesses. If you want to know more about copyright infringement, and the legal recourse you can seek, take a look at the resources we’ve linked below.
And like Aachho, use it to strengthen your resolve rather than get you down.
5. Demand generation that works: Aachho’s 4 pillars of marketing
It is a no brainer that any business needs demand to succeed. And a great way of generating demand is through marketing. When we asked Aachho their go-to strategies they were very clear. “We get most of our business through online ads, influencer marketing, emailers and word of mouth,” lists Rimjhim. “Competition is stiff in the online market, and it can be complicated to figure out the dynamics. But the right mix of these strategies should do the trick,” says Anurag.
While this mix worked for Aachho, a lot depends on your market, audience and product. Here’s how you can build a marketing plan that actually works. Speaking specifically about the strategies adopted by Aachho, here is a beginner’s guide to influencer marketing, and another one to help you identify which influencers may be good for your brand.
With Marketing in Shopify, we help you create, launch and measure your Facebook and Google Ads. Shopify Email also gives you the tools to help you incorporate Email Marketing best practices and helps you connect with your customers in their inbox.
It also allows you to put in place email automations that help you ace your post-purchase experience.
Word of mouth can be your biggest marketing tool, and you earn this by winning the customer’s trust. Word of mouth can also be converted into a customer testimonial, and here is how you can harness the power of these testimonials to influence decisions.
The last word
“All of this aside, our winning strategy is to be authentic and unique, and deliver quality products. Nothing works better than letting your products speak for you!,” Rimjhim and Anurag insist, signing off.
Aachho started their ecommerce engine with Shopify in 2018, and have since gone on to flourish. They’ve extended their reach to global markets, have opened a sister brand and it won’t be long till you see Aachho products in a retail store near you.
We hope you’ve taken away some great learnings from their journey. If you’re ready to begin your own, get started today with our 14 day free trial!
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