“Young children spend more time at home,therefore, activity based learning is essential for their brain development.” - Rishi Das, CEO and Co-Founder Xplorabox
The education system has been evolving ever since and today we are going back to Montessori methodology to educate young kids. Parents are looking for a “learning by doing” solution that enables their kids to learn different concept in a fun and self-engaging manner. In order to understand the changing preference and evolving educational demand we reached out to Rishi Das, CEO and Co-Founder of Xplorabox, a company that provides activity kit for kids on subscription basis.
Here are some edited excerpts of the interview:
Question 1: When and how did you came up with the idea of Xplorabox and how has been your experience in the industry so far?
Answer: Dhirendra Meena and myself came up with the idea of Xplorabox in late 2015. We were young parents at that time and we realised that there is lack of engaging activities for children in kindergarten and pre-primary. Kids in the age group of 2-6 years are very enthusiastic and due to lack of outdoor activities, kids end up creating ruckus at home. To avoid this parent had to keep their kids engaged in mobile phones and other digital channels. Kids back then started getting addicted to mobile phones and other digital screens which are harmful for their brain.
We as parents were determined to find an alternative to screens and regular toys. That’s when we heard about the concept of activity kits and we started our research to understand perception of different parents towards the concept. Post our research we launched our first product in late 2016.
Initially, we realised that there was lack of awareness about this fun and educational product. However, with increasing internet penetration, awareness about the concept has increased and many parents have started using activity kits as a substitute to toys. As of date, we have served +50,000 subscribers and 80% of our subscribers tend to renew their subscription.
Question 2: What is the design of a Xplorabox and how is it different from other activity boxes?
Answer: Parents would invest on activity kits only if it is educational, value for money as well as self-engaging. The idea behind Xplorabox is not to provide story books and regular worksheets because we believe that there are various famous story book available in the market and our intention is not to come up with another story book which may or may not add value. Xplorabox contains 4 physical theme based activities which include model building activities, board game activities or DIY activities and 8 write and wipe worksheets. Most of our competitors provide only 3 activities but we believe that the activity kit should keep the child engaged for the entire month and therefore our boxes usually have more than 4 activities.
Question 3: Do you align the activities to the school curriculum? Do you think a digital element should be included in the subscription in order to provide better learning?
Answer: Themes and concepts of the Xplorabox are based on the school curriculum for different age groups. However, the entire school curriculum cannot be delivered through physical activities. Therefore we strongly believe that a digital element should be included in the subscription to provide a holistic solution. Xplorabox, however, focuses on kids in age group of 2-6 years. School curriculum for younger kids is generic which can be easily incorporated in hands-on activities and therefore we do not focus on digital engagement. Therefore we provide basic digital engagement with free access to Xplorabox app to all the subscribers, the app includes +1,400 interactive worksheets with real time input and output technology.
Question 4: What are the challenges faced in the industry? Are there any government constraints?
Answer: The biggest challenge is lack of awareness. The subscription model is new to the B2C market. The other challenge is inertia in use of digital payment. 70% of our orders are on cash on delivery basis.
Question 5: The industry is majorly dominated by Flintobox and Magic Crate. What are the few strategies adopted by Xplorabox to maintain the competitive edge in the industry? What do you think are the success factors in the industry?
Answer: We majorly focus on customer retention and therefore, our strategies revolve around knowing our customer better. We also focus on evolving our product to serve our customer better and therefore we provide various value added services. We give free access to our paid app that has huge repository of worksheets to all Xplorabox subscribers. As of date, +80,000 parents have downloaded the app and +30,000 downloads were made during the lockdown period between April-June, 2020. In the coming months, we are also introducing our blended products based on practical subjects such as maths, for kids above 6 years. With our blended product we are trying to build a long term relationship with our customers.
Question 6: How has corona virus impacted the industry? What does the future of the industry looks like and what are your future plans?
Answer: Unlike other industries and companies our business was not affected by corona virus. We focus on kindergarten kids and since most of the schools are shut parents are finding it difficult to engage their young and enthusiastic kids. The online teaching methodology does not works for KG kids and therefore young parents need a fun and educational way of keeping their child engaged. Also, the adoption of digital payment has also increased during the lockdown due to safety reasons which has helped in driving our business. In future, we may strategies to enter into B2B business to provide solutions to kindergarten schools.
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