Before founding Caprimul, our Co-founders, Ron and Yahya, used to handle the tech and marketing operations for Plankogram Pvt Ltd, a furniture company situated in the heart of Bengaluru. During their time at Plankogram, they realised that furniture manufacturing was one of India’s biggest unorganised sectors that desperately needed an overhaul. Realising the opportunity, the duo decided to get out in order to pursue their visions, and thus Planks was born.
The idea behind Planks was simple. Instead of being just another furniture manufacturer, we wanted to use the power of modern computing to curate and aggregate the best manufacturers across the city and make them easily accessible to customers through a simple application. The problem we set out to solve was complicated and required an enormous amount of work to set it in motion. Our approach was to look at individual aspects of the whole business seperately and to develop sandboxed solutions for each of them that would eventually connect to our larger vision.
Online furniture retail has many benefits over traditional brick and mortar furniture shops. It brings you the choice of more designs, inspirations, unlimited customisations and in most cases, better pricing too, mainly due to the cut in costs for running and maintaining a physical store. Even though online furniture retail platforms are nothing new, it’s still something even the most high profile companies in this industry fail to implement properly. Most of them suffer from bad UI/UX, lack of proper information and specifications, complicated navigation, annoying ads, badly rendered 3D images, lack of 360 degree view and a general lack of quality. At Planks, we knew from the very beginning that customer satisfaction would be the key metric for setting up our e-commerce website in an emerging highly competitive world of online marketplaces. Rather than going for the traditional time consuming process of custom building an e-commerce website, with Planks, we chose Shopify which turned out to be a great solution for us.
Shopify offers the latest and greatest tech solutions to run an online store with endless customisation options enabled by giving you access to the underlying front end code and apis. It had everything we needed to get started quickly and whatever it lacked, we could build it on our own in record time, thanks to it’s graphql based apis and incredible documentation. Shopify gave us an incredible product and inventory management system, easy integration with Amazon, Google, Facebook, Instagram, Razorpay etc that helped us go live within hours of initial setup. It's advanced inbuilt analytics and integration with Google’s Search and Analytics gave us all the data we required to build upon the initial design and develop a user centric design that was both appealing and resourceful . Creating marketing campaigns were a breeze with Shopify's marketing tools and it directly integrates with Google and Facebook ad platforms.
Our next focus was to build an administration tool for the entire business. Manufacturing a furniture product involves sourcing the different raw materials and elements separately and passing through multiple vendors in multiple locations, at different stages of the production process. As Planks offers customised furniture, the design phase calls for recurrent communication between the clients and their internal team, which has to be tracked internally and reviewed periodically. Fulfilment across various channels including shopify has to be managed, tracked and reported to customers. We wanted to build an administration software that lets us do all the above and more, all the same running smoothly.
We used shopify apis to keep it in sync with all our online store data and the rest in our own Postgres database instances. Nodejs was the chosen framework to build our internal apis and we deployed a vuejs based front end to access them. The administration dashboard thus acts as a single point of management for all verticals of the business thus enabling them to upscale quickly and efficiently.