[Tech50] How the Bigbox hyperlocal video shopping app is disrupting the online retail landscape
In India’s ever-changing retail landscape, Santhosh Palavesh has shaken up the online marketplace with a video shopping app,in 2021.
What does Santhosh solve through Chennai-based Bigbox Retail Tech Solutions Llp, which delivers a hyper-local shopping experience by enabling face-to-face video interactions between sellers and consumers? The platform operates under the motto: Instant In-Store Experience Delivered.
Santhosh, graduate in engineering and R Balachandar, an expert in the field in branding and marketing, are the Bigbox co-founders, one of Your storyTech50 2021 startups.
Launched in May 2021, the company currently has 135 brands including Nykaa, Decathlon, Caratlane, Basics, Derby, Fossil in nearly 20 categories including grocery. The best-selling categories are Fashion, Electronics, Menswear, Cell Phones, Laptops, Footwear, etc. The platform has nearly 5,700 clients, including app downloads and web registration.
Santhosh explains the concept by guiding us through the life cycle and pain points of an online seller.
“Let’s say someone has a store and wants to sell online. You can either develop an ecommerce site for your brand or build your store in giant marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, etc. these platforms. And even if a brand is integrated, it does not automatically guarantee high search returns, as it may appear in 16th or 17th place or at the very bottom in terms of rankings, ”explains Santhosh.
If a seller decides to take an online store, they have to buy a domain and a server, and even with relatively simpler website development tools at their disposal today, it would still take a website developer to do it. To do. Then there is also the problem of product photoshoots and catalog management to deal with.
Website promotion is the next hurdle – what about search engine optimization (SEO) mapping and digital marketing navigation. There is also a need to start spending money on social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook and Google.
“A salesperson spends months developing a website, struggles with catalog management, and data from Shopify shows that on average, $ 41,000 is spent in the first year by each ecommerce business to build a base . The average salesperson struggles with trust issues and low conversion rates. 90% of online businesses start to fail due to poor conversion because they are unable to build trust. 10% continue to thrive, of which 4% are emerging as the big players, ”adds Santhosh.
A customer spends hours browsing websites and doesn’t trust random websites. And, if the customer buys a product, they buy it based on product photos, expecting to receive the same product. In the event of a mismatch, the customer returns the product. 69 percent of customers are known to abandon their cart and they make the purchase from an offline store, Santhosh recalls.
“So buyers need a better, faster way to shop. Buyers need an experience, and sellers need a platform through which they can deliver the experience they offer in a physical store. Most importantly, sellers need to sell on a platform where the headache of catalog management isn’t there. They want to sell on a platform where the conversion rate is higher and they sell using the most important asset they have, namely talking and selling, ”says Santhosh.
Rather than letting customers enter stores through technology, Bigbox brings stores into the palms of customers. The video shopping platform enables shoppers to discover, track and enjoy personalized shopping experiences in stores through video calls. The four aspects of the journey are: Video call and shop, brand discovery, integrated payments, automated delivery.
The unique advantage
With many stories now providing services on WhatsApp, Santhosh says Bigbox’s USP is its users’ privacy. Just to give an example, a sales agent can take a screenshot of a customer’s video. “On our platform, you call a store but we don’t share your phone number or email id. And if a seller tries to take a screenshot of you, we’re alerted and penalized. Only a customer can call the salesperson, the salesperson cannot call the customer. On WhatsApp, you are added to random groups and the app doesn’t work, ”Santhosh points out.
Bigbox also has five sales agents, so a salesperson can make five customer calls at the same time.
The giant perception problem
Often times, salespeople find it difficult to set aside a dedicated person who should be trained to answer calls. The biggest challenge is getting the seller to believe that this model will work and the scale is the challenge. “We’ve had salespeople questioning whether they get 10,000 calls a day, how would they get 10,000 agents? First of all, if they get 10,000 calls, that’s a good problem to solve. Let’s start getting 100 calls per day and making 1,500 sales per day. It’s not like a showroom gets 10,000 visitors a day, it barely gets 30 to 40 visitors, ”says Santhosh. So the problem is, as soon as people look for a solution, they think about it from a billion dollar perspective when we should start with millions, he adds.
The first milestone or achievement for Bigbox was to make the first brand believe that this model would work. “It’s not like salespeople don’t want to invest in a dedicated video calling resource, but typically they want to see a competitor do it first,” Santhosh shares. Bigbox has also partnered with a human resources company to have their brand resources placed on their premises to start selling via video.
“We are looking to advertise in Chennai and Bengaluru once we have 500 brands on our platform. We work with brands that dare to explore this new shopping form factor, and we seek out the champions in every category – with Shoppers Stop, every retail brand must follow. With Caratlane, all jewelry brands should follow, ”Santhosh shares.