IIT Delhi, BITS Pilani alumni startup Glitstreet to let people ‘window shop’ online
Glitstreet is a website which lets users 'window-shop' through Delhi's best apparel markets online. Markets like Shahpur Jat, Hauz Khas Village, Lajpat Nagar, etc. are brought online for users to find out what is selling inside Delhi's premium boutiques and apparel stores and at what price. The site also has a detailed search allowing users to hunt for specific clothing in a specific range from a specific store.
A calculated leap of faith
The usual story would perhaps go like this -- young founders quit their well-paying jobs to start the company. However, this story is different. Pranav Gupta is a BITS Pilani graduate and a management consultant who quit his job with Opera but the other two Co-founders, Nitish Bhushan and Kartik Dhar (IIT Delhi), were lucky to get a break from their employer Bain & Company to pursue their endeavour. “Our employers have been incredibly supportive about this,” they claim. With a degree of security in mind, the trio started working out of an uncle’s basement in early 2014 but over the months, the entrepreneurial itch has only gotten stronger and their employers are aware of the fact that these people won't come back as employees.
How Glitstreet works
Glitstreet.com is a website which helps people browse the latest collections of designers, boutiques and apparel stores of Delhi. Using Glitstreet, people can see the best each store has to offer, shortlist the clothes they like, and then go to the store to pick them up. “There are so many online shopping websites out there, but not much is being done to make retail ‘in-store’ shopping smarter. The bulk of our shopping still happens in brick & mortar stores, and that’s the market we’re addressing,” says Nitish.
At present, they feature over 50 stores in Delhi with a hundred more being added in the next few weeks. Glitstreet has consciously targeted markets like Hauz Khas Village & Shahpur Jat, which have little or no online presence. “We wanted to give our users the familiarity of an online-shopping website, and yet maintain the premium look and feel associated with a fashion website,” says Kartik. The process of onboarding designers and boutiques has been a roller coaster ride for these consultants. "We were used to fixed timelines and certainty. Going on the road and just cold calling people has been a journey in itself. But we've learnt. After we get a call, we are able to convert 90% of the times," says Nitish. Glitstreet gives these designers and boutiques a good deal with getting their photographs clicked as well (for the portfolio on the site) which has been a puller.
While the website is Delhi focused, Glitstreet plans to enter two more cities within the year. They’re getting ready to capture the mobile phone audience as well. Pranav, the technology anchor of the team, says, “Our iOS and Android apps are under development, which will bring with them a whole suite of new features to assist people in shopping. We’re also investing in creating technology which will make it seamless for any vendor to update their collection in just a few clicks. Through the Glitstreet ecosystem, we want to change the way in-store shopping is done in India.”
With tonnes of startups coming online to build e-commerce ventures, the peripheral industry has seen a huge boost and areas like payments (PayU, CitrusPay, Instamojo), experience enhancers for merchants (MartJack, Zepo), better experience for customers (Fitiquette, etc) and logistics companies have grown tremendously.
Glitstreet would fall under the broad product discovery category where there are players for offline prices like PriceBaba, device discovery (Reviews42, FindYogi, Senseforth), etc. Mumbai-based ShopSense tries to improve in store experience by providing kiosks at the store for better experience to customers who walk in.
A growing space, it’d be interesting to see how Glitstreet moves towards gratifying the customer (that is, how will the transaction close after window shopping?) in the future.