The entryway of an Indian Saree Store
A very Indian tradition for those starting their professional careers is to gift their parents from the first drawn salary. And invariably, a Saree for the mother often tends to be the majority choice. Indeed, what could be a better choice than this ubiquitous Indian garment that is probably the only article of clothing continuously worn for over 5000 years! That’s right — the earliest evidence of this unstitched, long fabric, usually six to nine meters long which is draped around the body by women, is found in figurines excavated from the Indus Valley!
While the choice of gift is often clear enough, what gives rise to confusion when purchasing, is the huge variety of options. After all, most freshers, especially boys, aren’t able to discern between a Benarasi & Kanchipuram saree, forget about the pallu work. I remember my dismay on entering a saree shop voluntarily for the first time. I had to make not one but three purchases, and each one came with a set of specific requirements. Considering I was based out of Bangalore while the gifts were for those in the East, there was no question that Kanchipuram & Mysore Silk were two of the three. The third was something not quite expensive but not that memorable either. Anyway, as I was saying, the interior of the shop was like a kaleidoscope — all kinds of colors and patterns unfurled one after another, until I was quite sure that this was some sneaky hypnotic trick that these shops deployed!! In the end, I did manage to get all three, and boy, was I rewarded with all kinds of praise & thanks by my aunts for giving them such beautiful sarees. I’m pretty sure they weren’t just being polite because one of them wore it at a wedding 12 years later!
In case you are curious, here’s a quick rundown on some of the various types of sarees — each specific to a region by which they are usually known. From the north are the famous Banarasi, Chikan, Bandhni & Kota Doria. The east has Tant, Baluchari, and Kantha. The south, of course, has Kanchipuram, Madisar, and Mysore. And finally, from the west comes Chanderi, Bandhej, Patola, and Paithani sarees.
Various types of Indian Sarees
Coming back to stores, the entire pandemic situation has upended retail shopping. Footfalls are at all-time lows & store owners are looking at all kinds of innovative practices to reach customers. One of our customers who owns a chain of apparel stores had started early, even before Covid-19 had announced itself to the world. He used to put up videos on youtube, explaining in-depth all the details & nuances of his merchandise, just as you would expect when you walk into a store. However, the rest of the experience was sub-optimal. To place an order, one had to take a screenshot of the running video where a particular item was being displayed and WhatsApp him at the number he had put up inside the video. The store owner would send the customer a payment link to confirm the order. The item(s) would then be shipped loosely using some courier partner like DTDC etc. Needless to say, he wasn’t too happy with this so-called ‘tech’ solution.
A saree shop seller is showcasing saree via a YouTube video post lockdowns
You can imagine his happy surprise when he discovered he could use Baaz to provide a complete live video shopping experience to customers, which included not just live video product demos but live chats where customers could ask any question in real-time, dynamic catalogs, secure & integrated payments, and free shipping. Indeed, the ability to put up the entire product catalog, complete with images, description & price and have them ready for purchase, all while live video streaming, has proved to be the biggest differentiator for the store owner.
Our customer hosting a live video show using Baaz App
In the context of sarees, for instance, one can display these resplendent garments in their full glory, focus on the zari/pallu and motifs if a customer so wanted, and help them complete the purchase as soon as they had made their minds up. The customers are happy with not having to install yet another app while still being able to relive the retail experience through a single link.
If you are a business owner affected by the drop in customer walk-ins and would like to resolve that with a cutting-edge yet easy solution, do reach out to us — some of our other customers have seen a dramatic increase in sales since they started using Baaz.