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3OtherThings, a social discovery platform bridging the online-offline gap in retail

3OtherThings, a social discovery platform bridging the online-offline gap in retail

Friday May 17, 2013 , 4 min Read

While e-commerce has, on one hand made our shopping experience easy, it is far from taking over the offline markets. This has resulted in the whole shopping experience becoming fragmented and the gap between product availability and customer service in online and offline retail is, in a way, adding to the chaos. Mumbai based startup, 3OtherThings is a social platform which is trying to organize this chaos by bridging the gap between online and offline retail (they presented at TC Disrupt).

Manoj Shinde
Manoj Shinde

3OtherThings is the brainwave of Manoj Shinde, Darshana Gajare and Abhijit Nair. While Manoj brings in his experience of working with brands like Adidas and QuikSilver in the US and Reliance brands closer home, Darshana, who has studied fashion entrepreneurship from London College of Fashion brings on table her experience with retail brands such as Burberry, London and DIESEL, India. Abhijit, a computer engineer, is their programming and technical architecture partner, having previously worked with Pyxis Architects and co-founded NestWell Technologies.

We caught up with Manoj, to know where it all began and where they see it going.

The starting point

3OtherThings is a social platform, for curating and organizing online and offline retail products. If this sounds like Pinterest, co-founder Manoj points out the basic difference, “our platform is utility based, where we are trying to organize and offer services which are so far missing from retail experience, especially offline retail”. The newly launched social platform offers services such as:

  • curating a wish list from online and offline stores,
  • access to consumers for inventory and availability of products at offline stores,
  • an online communication line between consumers and offline retailers, with the ‘reserve a product’ feature, and
  • access to retailers of the consumers’ wish list, to help them gauge consumer needs/wants.


Darshana Gajare
Darshana Gajare

When asked about the genesis of the venture, Manoj says, the idea came to him few years back while he was working for another brand trying to bridge the physical and online store experience to solve problems such as product search, color, size and location. “I wanted to save time and hassle of all those generic problems one faces while shopping offline,” says Manoj, of their ‘concept written on a paper napkin at a cafe - turned into a business’.

Why offline stores when everyone is so focussed on e-commerce?

Manoj says his work experience with retail taught him a few things: a large part of retail still happens offline since the online model is largely targeted at discounted sales, consumer insights is conspicuous by its absence in that segment and consumer access to information is another problem area.

“A platform like ours, not only creates a communication channel between offline retailers and consumers, it also bridges a gap between offline and online retail as well as helps reduce consumer acquisition cost for offline stores”, says Manoj, of the inclusion of offline stores in the business idea which germinated as ‘an interactive platform’ to curate online retail.

Abhijit Nair
Abhijit Nair

The website gives access to registered offline stores to showcase their product pictures and details in the online world and also ‘know their consumers’ better through the wish lists.

Speaking of the business model now, Manoj elaborates, “rapidly growing organized offline retail, 130 million internet users and burgeoning e-commerce story is reshaping multiple sectors in India. With these developments, there are multiple challenges that both consumers and retailers are facing. Our vision is to become a demand generating, business intelligence and in-store experience, all in one place”.

Just the beginning

The company, which is currently bootstrapped, is driving its revenue through the monthly subscriptions for retailers, while the platform remains free for use to the consumers. But they are working on a few models including making the engagements on the platform, a source of revenue, going forward.

While the team hasn’t started active marketing yet, Manoj says the visibility they got through the TechCrunch platform has opened up discussions with partners and investors, which will help them get a foothold in the market and with the global expansion plans. The team is now focused on getting subscriptions from retailers and is targeting to have at least 10 brands on board in the next six months, a prerequisite for a user database. The website will launch officially in the next couple of weeks.

Techsparks 2013, the largest technology product startup recognition platform of India KickStarts on May 18. Join us for this 7 city startup extravaganza!