For years now, we have been living in ‘Urban Jungles’ surrounded by huge walls of concrete in cities with the air quality so bad, that it has long crossed the line into the hazardous kind mainly in the metropolitan cities. People spend an exorbitant sum of money working on the aesthetics of their surroundings, yet often look past a masterpiece nature has offered us, called plants. Out of all the things that one can turn to make their surroundings beautiful and healthy to live in at the same time, plants have long been overlooked. If you come across an electronic gadget which relieves your stress, purifies the air around you while being pleasing to the eye, you would wonder how far technology has come. Researchers have suggested that having a plant in your vicinity tends to have the same effect on a person’s psyche as having a pet, although to a lesser extent, for obvious reasons.
While working in the plant industry and experimenting with a few similar ideas for a year, we realised that the nursery industry is an unorganised and a scattered market which lacked standardisation in the quality and prices of plants. There are over 1700 local nurseries in Delhi-NCR alone, out of which only 5-7% operate online taking advantage of the technological advancements that have made their way to the market. A vast majority of this industry still runs offline which is one of the reasons why it lags behind in comparison to other industries. The demand from the customers is steadily expanding, but the chaos that exists here mars the potential growth that one could witness if online adoption could be mainstream.
At Sowl Switch, we decided to make the process of picking out and buying a plant much easier and accessible while helping the small nurseries achieve growth at the same time. Since the plant industry is mostly unorganised and therefore getting more obsolete day by day, with the fear of being taken over by a few big players who have expertise in the area. Even though the current online resellers have limited variety, they are earning huge margins by selling products which match the quality that a local nursery would provide. Thus, the monopoly of the online business owners has started to hurt the local nursery owners. This is what our Sowl Switch platform was purposely built to do, to organise the local nursery owners and get their businesses online. Not only that, since we are also working to create a chain of supply, the local nurseries will have access to the same quality of plants, albeit at much more affordable rates, saving time and effort for them.
The massive divide between the next-gen that heavily relies on technology for everything and the whole plant industry was clearly discernible, which created a need to develop an online platform for nurseries so they can reach out to a whole new pool of customers who like to shop online without having to worry about the logistics of going out and creating an online platform for themselves. The plant nurseries as they are now, are a frontier for the online world and Sowl Switch is the Lewis and Clark Expedition of this wild west.
And that is exactly what we're doing right now. We have acquired 17 nurseries in Gurugram alone who have registered on the platform since it went live in January, 2020. They have already started using their web portals to receive inventory orders from small nursery owners, whilst also working on training their workers and nursery operators to embrace this new technological advancement and learn the a wholesome experience to their buyers.
Nihal Chasta & Saumya Garg
Co-founders, Sowl Switch