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[Tech50] How hyperlocal video shopping app Bigbox is disrupting the online retail landscape

[Tech50] How hyperlocal video shopping app Bigbox is disrupting the online retail landscape
Written by publishing team

In the dynamically changing retail landscape of India, Santhosh Palavesh has disrupted the online market with its video shopping app, big box in 2021.

What is the solution offered by Santhosh by Chennai-based Bigbox Retail Tech Solutions Llp which offers a local shopping experience by enabling face-to-face video interactions between sellers and consumers? The platform runs on the motto: Deliver an instant in-store experience.

santosh, engineering graduate, and R Balachandar, expert in the field of branding and marketing, hm Bigbox founders, one of your storyTech50 2021 Emerging.

Launched in May 2021, the company currently has 135 brands including Nykaa, Decathlon, Caratlane, Basics, Derby and Fossil across nearly 20 categories including grocery. The best selling categories are fashion, electronics, menswear, mobile phones, laptops, shoes, etc. 5700 customers including app download and web subscription.

Santhosh explains the concept by taking us through Lifecycle and Vulnerabilities of the Online Seller.

“Let’s say someone has a store and they want to sell online. You can either have an e-commerce site developed for your brand or create your store on giant marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart and the like, but they charge huge commissions and players who are not subject to GST cannot ( GST (Goods and Services Tax) register on those platforms. Even if a trademark is incorporated, it does not automatically guarantee high search returns because it may appear 16th, 17th, or just below the rankings,” Santosh explains.

If a seller decides to take an online store, they have to buy a domain and server, and even with relatively easier website development tools at one’s disposal today, one would still need a website developer to get this done. Then there’s also the problem of product shoots and catalog management to deal with.

Site promotion is the next hurdle – how by setting search engine optimization (SEO) and navigating digital marketing. One should also start spending money on social media platforms including Instagram, Facebook and Google.

“A seller spends months developing a website, struggles with catalog management and Shopify data shows that on average, $41,000 is burned in the first year by every ecommerce company to build a base. The average seller battles trust issues and poor conversion rates.”90 Ten percent of online businesses start failing because of poor conversion because they are unable to build trust. Ten percent continue to thrive, of which four percent are big players,” Santosh adds.

The client spends hours of time browsing websites and does not trust random websites. And if a customer buys a product at all, he buys it on the basis of the pictures of the product, expecting to get the same product. In the event of a mismatch, the customer returns the product. It is known that 69 percent of customers abandon their shopping cart and proceed to purchase from an offline store, Santosh states.

“So, shoppers need a better, faster way to shop. Shoppers need experience and sellers need a platform on which they can deliver the experience they offer in a physical store. Most importantly, sellers need to sell on a platform where there is no catalog management headache,” Santosh explains. They want to sell on a platform where the conversion rate is higher and they sell using the most important asset they have, which is speaking and selling.”

Instead of customers entering stores through technology, Bigbox brings stores to the convenience of customers. The video shopping platform allows shoppers to discover, follow and enjoy personalized in-store shopping experiences through video calls. The four sides of the journey are: video calling and shopping, brand discovery, integrated payments, and automated delivery.

Unique Feature

With so many stories now offering services on WhatsApp, Santhosh says Bigbox’s USP is user privacy. Just to give an example, a sales agent can shoot a video for a customer. On our platform, you can contact a store but we don’t share your phone number or email ID. And if the seller tries to take a screenshot of you, we will be alerted and penalized. Only the customer can contact the seller, and the seller can’t contact the customer. On WhatsApp, you are added to random groups And the app is not connected,” Santosh points out.

Bigbox also has five sales agents, so the seller can process five customer calls in parallel.

Giant cognition problem

Sellers often find it difficult to put aside a dedicated person who must be trained to answer calls. The biggest challenge is convincing the seller that this model will work and that scale is the challenge. “We have sellers questioning they get 10,000 calls a day, so how are they going to get 10,000 dealers? First of all, if they ever get 10,000 calls, that’s a good problem to solve. Let’s start getting 100 calls a day and making 1,500 sales a day. Not It’s as if the showroom receives 10,000 visitors a day, and barely gets 30 to 40 visitors,” Santosh explains. So, the problem is that the moment people look at a solution, they think of it in terms of a billion dollars when we should start with the millions, he adds.

Bigbox’s first milestone or achievement was getting the first brand to believe this model would work. “It’s not like sellers don’t want to invest in a resource dedicated to video calling, but they usually want to see a competitor do it,” Santhosh shares. Bigbox has also partnered with a human resources company to get its brand resources to be placed in their facilities to begin selling through video.

“We look forward to advertising more intensely in Chennai and Bengaluru once we have 500 brands on our platform. We are working with brands that dare to explore the new form factor of shopping, and are looking for champions in every category – with Shoppers Stop, every brand must sell Retail to follow. With Caratlane, every jewelry brand is expected to follow,” Santhosh shares.

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