Mobile focused zero-commission marketplace Shopo has launched peer to peer chat functionality and is piloting vernacular content in Hindi. The new peer to peer chat designed to enable social shopping online, allows buyers on Shopo to chat and exchange views, product images, browse simultaneously through multiple selections with their social groups and friend lists and share screens for quick shopping.
For buyers and sellers who prefer to engage and transact in vernacular languages, certain features on the Shopo Android app will be available in the Hindi language. YourStory has tried the Hindi features on the app and it works well for sellers who aren’t comfortable with English.
The Alibaba-backed Snapdeal had launched mobile-only marketplace Shopo to sell fresh as well as used goods in July this year. According to a PTI report, Snapdeal will be investing $100 million in Shopo over the next two years.
Speaking about the new engagement features, Sandeep Komaravelly, Senior Vice President of Shopo, said, “According to consumer feedback on the impact of direct engagement on their purchase decisions, we found that buyers want a more seamless chat experience which mimics their offline behaviour. In the offline world, a person will go to a store and discuss multiple products before making up his/her mind. We have enabled a similar behaviour on Shopo with our peer to peer chat. Users also want to find their favourite shops easily because of which we added the ‘search for shops’ functionality. Keeping in mind our vision to create life-changing experiences for buyer and sellers across the board, we have initiated our vernacular journey with this update.”
The Gurgaon-based company has also introduced a feature for enabling auto generation of product cards for listed products. Product cards are images of the product with price and product description which can be directly shared by users through chat.This allows customers to talk to sellers in a similar way they do on other messaging platforms like Whatsapp. The product cards can also be shared by customers on their social networks.
Importantly, its rival Flipkart had rolled out a ‘social shopping experience’ Ping so that users can chat with friends while shopping and share experience using text, photos, and emoticons in real time. Unlike Paytm, Snapdeal isn’t charging payment processing fee, however, it is planning to facilitate payment and logistics part for merchants listed on Shopo.
Providing chat platform for smooth communication by the e-commerce players isn’t a new concept. Earlier, Quikr and most recently Shopclues rolled out a chat platform for transparent communication between the stakeholders. However, Shopo’s chat feature is different from aforementioned companies as it does not control the platform much. It will certainly boost consumer as well as merchant trust and confidence.
E-commerce companies had tried going vernacular way earlier but didn’t yield much traction and appreciation from consumers. Snapdeal launched Hindi and Tamil options for users in January last year, however, surprisingly YourStory didn't find the vernacular options on the website.
Snapdeal is betting big on Shopo that primarily competes with Paytm’s Zero commission model marketplace and newly-launched Kraftly. It would be interesting to see how this vernacular attempt fares up for Shopo in the future.