[Startup Bharat] How Indore-based Byloapp is connecting online customers with local businesses
Increased digitisation has given a push to the ecommerce segment causing businesses to move online. While they have been making the online transition during the pandemic, digitising local businesses might require more steps than just have an online presence.
Indore-based Byloapp is looking to help local businesses and merchants digitise their businesses and connect with users online. Founded in 2019 by Rohit Verma, Byloapp provides a location-based informative socio-commerce platform where users can search and connect with local businesses.
Speaking with YourStory, Rohit explains thatwas initially launched as a platform to find deals and discounts at local businesses. However, while doing the market research prior to the launch, the team realised there was a larger problem of digitisation among local merchants.
Image Credit: Byloapp
He adds that while many local businesses might have a social media presence or online website, most of their operations happened offline.
“We were looking to launch deals and discount platform and were surveying the local businesses and help them understand the importance of offering discounts and such in order to attract customers. But we realised that about 90 percent of local businesses were offline. Even if they had social media presence, they were operating mostly offline. Realising this, we pivoted our model and began helping them to digitise their businesses,” he says.
Post COVID-19 led lockdowns, it pivoted once again to create a network of businesses where they could communicate with each other and also with the customers online and launched the search engine platform to help businesses get an online presence and also connect with users directly.
Hailing from Indore, Rohit explains that starting up from one’s hometown will be advantageous for entrepreneurs as they are already familiar with the market sentiment and problems which need to be solved.
Image Credit: Byloapp
Bylo: Buy Local & By Location
Rohit explains that Bylo, which is an abbreviation for Buy Local and By Location, offers a Google-like search engine to users to find and connect with local businesses.
With an aim to boost Vocal for Local mission, it acts as a hyper-local market guide for customers based on their location. The platform keeps users informed about the local market, available businesses, available products and services, live offers, and discounts, among others.
“We are purely hyperlocal. Users can get on the Byloapp platform and search for businesses using pin code, locality, category, or the business name,” he adds.
Rohit explains that merchants can reach out to Byloapp using their phone number or email or through the official website. Post this, the Byloapp team will reach out to them for information regarding their business and also physically verify them.
The startup helps businesses create online pages to be listed on the search engine. It helps in branding the businesses by customising the appearance of their webpage, creates images, logos, descriptions, etc., to catch the attention of the potential customers.
He also adds that Byloapp mainly targets consumers from the millennial and GenZ age who might form a major part of the online population.
“We launched our mobile platform’s MVP three months ago across the Android & iOS store for beta users. Currently, there are two different MVPs, one for customers and one for merchants. Collectively, the MVP has over 500 beta users and the beta user sign-ups are still happening via our digital campaigns and website. Our full-fledged version is in production right now and will be launched by the end of September 2021,” he adds.
The app will include features such as hyper-local customer social activity timeline, live offers and discounts feed, market guide feature called “take me there”, BuyLocal window among others.
Illustration: YS Design
Business and more
Byloapp is present in 41 cities and has listed over 14,000 businesses across 50 categories including food, fashion, fitness, wellness, clothing, electronics, and many more on its search engine.
The founder explains the startup is currently in the process of verifying 6,000 more businesses to be listed on the platform.
Speaking about the business model, Rohit says the startup is working to establish a network of hyperlocal businesses online and help them move online. In order to spread awareness about the platform, it is onboarding the merchants for free of cost. Once it establishes the network, it will be operating on a subscription-based model.
“By September end, we are looking to double our reach and be present in about 80 cities and onboard about 40,000 businesses,” Rohit says.
He also explains the bootstrapped startup is also planning to raise external funds. Rohit reveals that they will actively go out to raise funds post-September after meeting their own goals. The founder adds he has invested Rs 1 crore to date in Byloapp.
The hyperlocal market has been gaining momentum with an increase in demand for ecommerce and home delivery services. Amid the pandemic, the need to get essentials such as groceries, medicines, food, delivered at doorstep further boosted the segment.
According to a report by Allied Market Research, the global hyperlocal services market size is estimated to reach $3,634.3 billion by 2027 growing at a CAGR of 17.9 percent.
In India, players such as Dunzo, Housejoy, UrbanClap, Zomato, Bigbasket, and Grofers, among others, are operating in the hyperlocal space.