Ever wondered why review sites like Zomato or Trip Advisor are so successful? Because you just need to talk to people you know, about the best restaurant that you can go to, or a nice holiday destination that you’d like to go. But there’s more to travel or eating out than just finding a place or great food. Many factors have to be taken before making a decision, and these review sites bring all of them together in one consolidated platform.
Shopping online is not very different. While you might know what product can be found where, things like price points and delivery time play a very important role in a buying decision. While products have had review sites, there isn’t a consolidated portal in India, for all the aspects of online shopping - there needs to be a portal that will give a consumer knowledge about an ecommerce portal’s product assortment, delivery, discounts and offers, and the overall experience of shopping. Now, the larger brands like Flipkart or Myntra can provide this information to their potential customers through their well established (not to mention expensive) marketing channels. But what about the smaller players?
There is a need for review site for the shopping experience; and, addressing this need is Chennai-based, FabBucket, born out of the troubles that Antony faced while running his own ecommerce outfit. He says, “We weren’t very big and didn’t serve many customers and we couldn’t afford thing like COD. But the ones that we did serve, we served them well. If there was a place where our customers could speak about the good service they got from us, it could have got us some more traction.”
FabBucket started off as a product review site, WhatsFab.com, from where Antony and his co-founder, Palaniappan Chellappan, pivoted to being an online shopping review site. Antony says, “I think there are a lot people in the product review and price comparison space. But there isn’t a portal where people can get and provide information about every aspect of online shopping. That’s FabBucket.”
A heavy social influence
There are bits of various social networks on FabBucket. You can log in with Facebook or Twitter and you’re presented with a Facebook like news feed, which is your shopping feed. There’s a public and private feed. The public feed shows you all the happenings at FabBucket, while the private feed is generated based on your interactions with FabBucket. You can also post on FabBucket, like Facebook, with an option to post on Facebook and twitter as well, while doing so.
Along with the Facebook-like functions of replying to people’s posts and tagging them, you can follow people on FabBucket, you can like products, and add products to a wishlist (or in this case, your bucket). You can access other users’ buckets and vice versa. There’s also a chrome plugin, where you can add products from any ecommerce site on the web. And if you’re a Pinterest user, you’ll notice its influence on FabBucket in the way in which the products are laid out on the feeds.
Antony is mindful of this. He says, “We have laid a lot of emphasis on social interactions. While you can always discover new products and ecommerce sites with what other users post on the site, people who know me will take my experience of shopping at an ecommerce portal quite seriously.”
Now we could spend time on user experience of the site, but what really defines the FabBucket experience for me is the discovery of an ecommerce portal called PlanetSuperheroes.com. They provide superhero apparel. I had no idea that they existed, and through FabBucket, they’ve got a new customer.
Not only did I get to know about them, but I also found like-minded people on FabBucket who’re buying things that even I’d like to buy. Furthermore, I found out which places where the stuff I wanted is the cheapest.
This is the benefit that Antony and team wanted to bring with FabBucket. He says, “Within Amazon, some products’ fulfillment is done by someone else. In these cases, the delivery times can be a little late. Not to say that you shouldn’t buy from there, but with FabBucket, you will know this through others’ experiences.”
I really think this is a benefit. FabBucket, as it is now can be more intuitive, but understanding its benefit doesn’t take long, and that’s why I think it will stick, at least for me. The company is currently self-funded and will remain that way for another six months, at least, shared Antony. The revenue model is based on the affiliate model, which again will be fully implemented after reaching a critical number of users.
There are benefits all over in using FabBucket. As a consumer, I get all the information I ever needed about online shopping, and it can be heavily customized to the liking of a user by its social features. On the business end, it’s another channel for an ecommerce player, and the smaller players, like PlanetSuperheroes.com, can greatly benefit from the visibility that FabBucket provides. And with enough user traction, it can be quite a significant channel.
As of now, the challenge lies in marketing the product, but given the benefit that it brings, I think it has the viral word of mouth quotient to quickly become popular among online shoppers.
Check out FabBucket and tell us what you think.