Amidst all this hoopla around ecommerce, the following fact might come as a surprise to many – only 7% of all commodity sales in the US is made online.If this is true for one of the most mature ecommerce markets in the world, it will be that much more true in emerging markets, like India.
Long story short, most people still prefer to buy offline. Going by the vast market share offline shopping holds and the current growth rate of ecommerce, it sure looks like it will stay this way for a long time to come. Another trend that has emerged with ecommerce is consumers researching online and buying offline.
Wooplr is a Bangalore based startup which aims to leverage the old and the new. By creating a location based online portal for products from physical shops, Wooplr aims to exemplify the research online and buy offline model in India.
A pintrest of sorts for the offline world
Wooplr is laid out pictorially, where a user would find tiles of interesting products to choose from. Upon clicking the tile, you’d get more information about the product, such as, which shop is it from and where the shop is.
Tied to this second screen are social sharing features and a recommendation feature, where users can “love” a particular product suggestion (think Facebook like). Furthermore, users can comment on the product page, which ensures engagement on the platform.
Wooplr is also centered around people, who’d provide another way of discovering new products for users. Based on the recommendations and loves that I make, my profile will be populated with those products. Furthermore, you can follow these people on Wooplr.
The platform consists of products from three main categories – Fashion, Food and Decor. Co-Founder Arjun Zacharia believes that these categories consist of the most frequently shopped products, which lends itself well to the platform.
Completing the buying cycle
Having run a 6 month closed beta, Wooplr has a large assortment of products. This is really good sign for the platform as all content is user generated. However, Wooplr, which launched today, only provides the aforementioned information about products as of now. It doesn’t provide prices of the products and it doesn’t notify the merchants that people are interested in the product.
Co-founder Soumen Sarkar believes that the next phase for Wooplr will be in completing the customers buying cycle. He shared that in the near future, Wooplr would be adding these mising features on the platform.
Wooplr also has a mobile app for Android.
In our interaction with Arjun, he said, “as long as there are women, offline shopping will continue to have a greater market share.” He believes that online shopping can never replace the therapeutic effect that offline shopping has for women. As a system that assists offline shopping, Wooplr has a great chance for quick adoption.
I’d like to think of Wooplr as a Zomato for products, and if it plays its cards right, it might even enjoy similar success, not too long from now.