Instaclique, a start-up helping e-commerce companies in customer conversions, was recently adjudged as the winner of the PuneConnect 2013 Shootout. PuneConnect is an annual event organised by Software Exporters Association of Pune (SEAP) to connect established companies in Pune with innovative startups of the city.
Started in 2012 in Pune, Instaclique with a small team of five already has a few prestigious clients like Satya Paul, who use it to better the engagement on their online store. YourStory spoke to Avinash Shenoi, CEO, Instaclique to learn more about the venture. Avinash, who was the initial architect of the idea and product handles sales, marketing and business development aspect of it. Instaclique is his second entrepreneurial venture. The first was Niyuj, an outsourced product development company, which he founded in 2007 and grew it from zero to million dollars plus in revenue with over 50 employes across the US and India.
Avinash holds an engineering degree from Pune university, and Masters degree from the University of Maryland, USA. Excerpts from the interview.
What is idea? Is this idea new? What is it based on?
The idea is to bring offline buying experience online. We believe that as people offline like to go shopping with friends and family, they should be able to do the same online. For certain verticals like apparel, jewellery, watches, vacations etc. this would influence the buying decision. If you like two sarees, how do you decide to buy one without asking for an opinion from someone you trust? Also customers in these segments expect a certain level of personalization. Based on the intent and loyalty exhibited by the customers, at traditional offline stores salespersons tend to make a judgement call and provide a discount specifically to that customer. We bring this behavior to the e-store for their customers.
We have a product that is already live at large designer apparel brands like Satya Paul, where we have shown significant improvement in engagement metrics like average time on site, number of pages viewed and bounce rate, which leads to better conversions and increase in revenue.
Is the idea new?
Most other social commerce players leverage social media for brand awareness and advocacy on external social networks rather than in the e-store. We are focused on the e-store, and give customers who visit the e-store an engaging social experience, allowing them to socialize where they shop. We are instore, and focused when the visitor is considering a purchase. Hence the idea is original and we have filed for patents for this intellectual property.
For traditional offline stores, as an extenstion of this train of thought we have also developed a mobile offering. Customers who visit these stores can use our mobile app to scan the barcode of any product in the store, and immediately have access to friends, family and experts on their phone. They can also receive promotions on their phone, which they can redeem at check out.
What are your challenges?
Our biggest challenge right now is to scale, extend the value we are bringing to our initial customers, and eventually reach every e-store on the internet. Other challenges are operational like having access to great talent, access to mentors and funds in the absence of a vibrant startup ecosytem like that in the Bay Area CA, or Cambridge MA.
What is the market you intend to target?
High-end e-commerce (apparel, other designer goods, jewellery, watches and vacations). E-commerce is a 10 billion US dollars market in India, and we are only getting started. The US e-commerce market is worth 250 billion dollars. Even if we can improve conversions by 10 % it means a market potential of one billion US dollars in India and 25 billion dollars in the US. That is today, and it is only getting bigger.
What stage are you at presently?
Product ready and deployed with an initial set of customers, who are already generating value by increased engagement — 122 % more pages visited, 111 % decrease in bounce rate, and 60 % more time spent on site. We are now looking to take this to other stores in the verticals mentioned earlier.
How do you plan to scale?
Our plan to scale is to partner with large e-commerce platform vendors and system integrators to integrate with their offering, so as to be available to a large number of stores out of the box.