While e-commerce has revolutionised the way users shop, in recent times it has also thrown new challenges to startups and established players. Customers are now spoilt for choice and sometimes aren’t able to make decisions about their purchases with the information provided.
When it comes to fashion, people prefer to shop offline in brick and mortar stores as there are many other factors involved such as fit and feel of the product compared to other categories. While the benefits of offline shopping in this case cannot be provided online it is possible to utilize technology and make the experience better.
Fabence.com is a personalized fashion discovery engine and shopping assistant. They aim to make it easier for customers to discover fashion products in a personalized manner. At the basic level they allow users to discover fashion products from various portals such as Flipkart, Myntra, and Limeroad etc on one platform.
Their approach to solving this problem is to bring technology and fashion together and provide a technology and design intensive platform to users.Their aim is to focus on every detail of the product and provide an improved user experience. They claim that this approach has allowed them to differentiate themselves in various aspects in terms of search ability, user interface and ease of discovery.
Fabence was launched in beta on 15th August 2014 by Anshul Gupta. He is pursuing Commerce at Shri Ram College of Commerce, New Delhi, and looking after strategy and operations at Fabence. After getting feedback from their early adopters, the startup decided to pivot in terms of design of their platform. They then went live with a new avatar in December 2014 and launched officially.
The startup roped in Amit Gupta, who has been credited with starting and establishing Churchill India and Royal Bank of Scotland IDC, as their mentor. Amit has close to 25 years of corporate experience, having held top leadership positions in both national and international firms. Close to their official launch in December, Snehil Khanor, a web entrepreneur with eight years of experience, joined the startup as a technology advisor and consultant. A B.Tech in Computer Science, he has previously worked at Letsbuy looking over the product and technology.
Fabence claims to be growing at 70% MOM with a run rate of 80k visits. So far they have focused on direct and SEO based growth with a degree of activity on social media. Swati Singh, who had been involved with multiple startups and taken up various corporate roles for 20 years, looks after the social media presence of Fabence.
The startup claims that more than 60% percent of their users go to various sites and roughly 2% of the click-through traffic make transactions. They are also seeing a constant rise in visits and transactions from mobile devices. Aisha Khandelwal, Anshul’s friend at SRCC, looks after offline marketing for the startup. The startup has partnered with major players in the market and is now in talks with various sites for further integration.
How it works
The platform is accessible to users but for some features such as ‘personalized recommendations’ and ‘Hunt with friends’, users need to sign up and register. The sign up process involves providing attributes like body type, build, and complexion etc. This helps the inbuilt fashion stylist, an intelligence based algorithm, suggest products that would look good depending on a user’s attributes.
Users can check out ‘Trending’ or ‘Featured’ products or search for desired products based on their customized search filters. The ‘Trending’ tab, gets updated every two hours and represents the most popular products as per the user’s choice. ‘Featured products’ are those products that the Fabence team chooses, which they think might interest users. Users can also ‘Hunt’ for products with friends and discover fashion products online in real time like they would do in a mall or showroom.
Fabence claims to have implemented technologies that allow them to have most detailed set of filters in the entire market and a category based ‘quick’ search that none of their competitors have. This allows users to do a free text search and get results of exactly what they are looking for without clicking anywhere.
While Fabence caters to the needs of men, women and kids, other competitors Voonik, Roposo, Violet Street cater to only women, while Yebhi caters to men and women. While the ‘search filters’ on Fabence were unique, we found that their other claim was not so.Voonik.com has also implemented the ‘Free text search’mechanism.
Related read: [App Fridays ] Voonik: personal shopping redefined
Funding and future plans
The startup recently raised 60% of its initial funding requirements through placements with angel investors. It is expecting to raise the remainder this month.The funds would mainly be used to grow the team, scale up technology and marketing. They were chosen among India's top 5 student run startups as per the judges choice award at the Tata first Dot competition. They are also considering applying for a major round towards the later part of the year and are working on a mobile app.
Website : Fabence