I found myself on 100 Feet road in Indira Nagar, Bangalore a little over a month ago. Unlock 1.0 had just been, well, unlocked, and I was trying to quickly cover my sartorial needs before the next bat/pangolin/lab virus decided it too wanted to be a world traveler. But the road and its accompanying stores seemed eerie. There were no people in them save for the odd non-laid off salesperson. As I stepped in from one store to the other, I felt a strange sense of uneasiness. This high street of Namma Bengaluru, the pub capital of India, was now a ghost street. High-end boutique stores that once pulsated with the bustle of both locals & tourists were in disarray — some shut, many vacant, and a few others barely functional. As I struck up a conversation with one of the store owners, he quietly lamented how bad things were on the business side of things. Customers had stopped coming, and he was making only one or two sales during the entire day!
The Covid-19 pandemic has indeed upended physical retail. Sales have dropped drastically, with shoppers either unable to walk into stores or unwilling to take the risk. Brands and local stores are looking for new ways to reach their customers online and in the midst of crowded online marketplaces, trying to find new technologies & solutions to overcome this.
Empty store with less than 10% of traffic post COVID-19
“What are you doing to stay afloat in these market conditions?”, I asked one of the shopkeepers. “We didn’t take online channels seriously earlier, but now we have to do something on that front.”. “So are you making a website?”, I asked. “We have spoken to a few vendors but that isn’t something that can generate results for us immediately, so, on customer’s demand we are providing them with Whatsapp video calls to showcase our products, then whichever products they like, we send them payment links separately and after receiving payment, we ship the product through courier.”
This, my friends, is what you can loosely call “Live Video Shopping Experience”. Or in other words and what we like to call “a very inefficient way of doing things”. What’s wrong with that? you might ask. Hang on with me for a little & allow me to put up my case.
To answer the above question, I’ll have to start with another question — what comprises of a complete live video shopping experience? Going by the shopkeeper’s experience I can safely say a) product showcasing using live video, b) ability to have some kind of communication between shopkeeper & buyer, c) ability to add the latest inventory, d) a way to make and collect secure & instant payments, and e) fast & safe shipment to customer’s doorstep.
If my memory serves me well, while growing up(or to be more precise around late 90s), back in our hometown my dad would buy whole wheat grains(or gehu) in bulk(about a 10kg bag) every few months, then we’d give that bag to our neighborhood wheat mill(or atta chakki) and bring back a whole wheat flour(or gehu ka atta) to our place. Some of you might call this bizarre and unnecessary(if you haven’t seen that) and, some of you might be able to bring back those memories. If you’re wondering why the atta story in between all this, let me ask you to fast forward to the early 2000s. Instead of doing the whole process above, we were rather buying “aashirwaad atta”, which was basically the same whole wheat flour(atta), it came at a little extra price, but buying didn’t involve several steps in between to get to what we wanted. It was a processed whole wheat flour(“atta”) sold directly at a retail store in packed bags.
Now, coming back to what we started with, a live video shopping experience doesn’t have to be as bad or cumbersome, both for shoppers and shopkeepers. This was the story of live video shopping experiences in India up until now. Live video shopping today needs “processed atta’fied”.
Enter Baaz, it is now possible for stores to showcase products through Live videos, answer customer queries in real-time, manage inventory, collect secure & instant payments & provide free shipment across India — all through a single mobile app.
A live video shopping store powered by Baaz
And for customers to view live video product showcase without needing any mobile app, ask any questions in real-time, make secure and instant payments, and get the product delivered to their doorstep, all from the same place.
Now that world traveler 1.0 seems to have decided to linger on at some favorite cities for a bit more time, I called up the store owner at 100ft road. “How are things now?” I asked. He replied “Didn’t you see my live stream yesterday? I had 60 viewers and 12 orders.” I hung up with a smile on my face and a goodbye.
Provide live video shopping experience & increase your add to cart rate by up to 400%.
If your retail store has been impacted by the COVID-19’s lockdown & you’re looking to provide a superior experience of shopping to your customers reach out to us and we’ll set up a live video shopping store for you in a jiffy.
And by the way, we never switched back to buying whole wheat grains and I hope neither have you.
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