The Scope of Unique Gift Items should Never be Limited- A Rendevous with Prasanjit of Tohfah4u.com
Don’t you feel that a good idea and good products should never have limited scope? That customers, should not be denied access to them? Exactly the thought Prasanjit had when he created Tohfah4u.com.
Starting from a well-known gift shop in Jamshedpur, he decided to take a plunge into online selling. Since then he has never looked back. From catering to giants like the Tata Group and Asian paints, Tohfah4u also keeps anyone in India who wants to buy a gift, satisfied. Amazing and inspiring isn’t it? So let us see what the creator has to say about his journey.
1. Before we begin, tell us about your brand? What products do you sell?
Tohfah4u.com is an online personalized gifts store with a difference. It deals in a unique and unparalleled product range of 500+ products including personalized 3D Photo Crystals, Laser Engraved Wooden Plaques, Digitized Photo Caricatures, Corporate Gifts and Trophies.
We are committed to providing awesome and personal gifts at great prices. We have products of value from Rs.45 to Rs.8,500. It is for people of all ages who are tired and bored of gifting the same old mementos and showpieces to their loved ones, and are looking for something unique to express their love.
We adhere to the market of new age buyers who are looking for the latest products in the gifting industry. Our products and trophies enjoy a huge response among corporate organizations also. The website has 17000+ followers on Facebook, and we have worked with biggies such as the Tata Group, XLRI, Metalsa, Havells, Asian Paints and many more.
2. What’s the story behind you taking the plunge into e-commerce and starting your own online store?
This is an interesting question.
It started as a small gift store in the heart of Jamshedpur. We had an excellent range of gifts but not many people knew about it. So, initially it was launched as a simple non-ecommerce website displaying the products available at the store. The website was shared and promoted using social platforms to let people know about the store and its unique products. But quite interestingly, many people from metros and other cities showed interest in our products. Then, due to overwhelming response the website was transformed into an e-commerce website and Tohfah4u.com was born. It went on to become the city’s first online retail store.
Today, we ship products across the length and breadth of the country, and have clients (both retail and corporate) in many cities including the metros.
3. What all online marketing channels have you dabbled into since you started, say blog or social media, etc that have helped increase your sales? Which ones have shown you maximum returns?
Gifting sector is very different from apparels and electronics. Customers buy gifts only when they need them- which means advertising would only create awareness and limited demand. But by using Google Adwords, we were able to be at the right place at the right time. Thus, we use Adwords as our major source of online marketing and it has helped increase our sales tremendously. We use Facebook as a medium for campaigns and marketing, only during occasions such as Valentine’s Day, New Year, Diwali, etc.
4. Apart from your online store, what are some of your other point of sales? Say, exhibitions, retail outlets, etc. Which ones have worked best for you?
We still hold and run our retail outlet in Jamshedpur because that is where we started, and it is still our registered address. Our retail outlet has become the major supplier of gifts and trophies to almost all the corporate houses, organizations, educational institutions and businesses. We also sell at online marketplaces such as Shopclues, Amazon and Snapdeal.
5. How has the whole experience of setting up your own online store with Zepo been?
Honestly, the entire back-end support by Zepo is awesome and that is what exactly we were looking for – a robust yet colourful website with strong admin support. The entire system of managing products and orders is smooth like silk. It took me only a few days to get my website up and running and in no time orders had started coming in. Zepo, you are AWESOME!
6. Can you tell us about 2 features on the Zepo platform that you absolutely love and can’t do without?
2 features we can’t do without:
• Image Upload and Text Upload Options.
• Zepo-AVN Logistics support.
2 features that need to be improved/added:
• Mouse-Over feature can be improved. For example, when the products are listed in the category, if the viewer puts their cursor over the product, product options that are available (colour variants/ size variants) should pop up.
• There should be an option of adding product themes/templates for customers to choose from. For example, if you want to buy a personalized coffee mug, you can choose from a wide variety of designs that can be printed using your photo and message. Also, there should be option of being able to upload multiple pics for personalized products.
Now some questions for you, as an entrepreneur!
1. What were you doing before you started with Tohfah4u?
I was a Gold-Medalist in school. I did my grads in commerce from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. I had cleared PCC of Chartered Accountancy in one shot (both groups), but I realized that I wanted to do something of my own. I quit studies midway. To get a basic idea of business, I joined my dad in his work. After bringing many changes and innovations to his business, I wanted to start something of my own. That time, there was no customized gifts store in Jamshedpur and I had to face great difficulty every time I wanted to buy something for my loved ones. That is when the idea of customized gifts store hit me.
2. Keeping the same levels of enthusiasm every day is not easy. What keeps you inspired and motivated every day?
The fan mails and pictures that we receive from our customers saying how much their loved ones appreciated their gift, keep us motivated. Our objective is to bring back the joy of gifting. We know that with every product that we create, we bring a smile on somebody’s face. The very thought of it keeps us in high spirits.
3. What are some of the decisions that have worked best for you in your business?
Deciding against COD has definitely benefited our business. There are no returns and no extra costs on unsold products. This way, we are able to sell products at a lesser price than any of our competitors.
4. If you could give one piece of advice to other internet entrepreneurs who are trying to make money with their online store, what would it be?
That time is gone when you could start an online business selling apparels and t-shirts and make millions out of it. The net is crowded with such sellers- both big and small. If you want to start an online business, you need to have unique products, or lowest prices, or both. All in all, you have to provide all your customers great value for their money. And like any other business, an online business takes time to flourish. Be patient.
5. What are your future plans regarding your business?
Our team is working on 2 projects- accessories and t-shirts.There are many websites selling t-shirts which are printed using screen printing process; which is why the graphics printed on their t-shirts fade away after a few washes. Our team has developed a system of providing guaranteed and permanent prints on t-shirts. As soon as our designing team is ready with their designs, we will launch our range of t-shirts with guaranteed prints, starting at a price of just Rs.250.
Our designers are also working on mobile cases, iphone and ipad cases, lockets and mugs, and many other products. We are planning to launch our own imprint brand by the end of October. The prices would be one of the lowest across the web.
Thank you Prasanjit for taking the time to share your story with our readers. We wish you all the best!
Are you all inspired and motivated? Do you have any unique products which you think should be available to a larger audience? Why don’t you give Zepo a try and start your online store in the next 5 mins.