Amid all the noise about e-commerce and mobile shopping growing in markets like India, there’s magic in the real store. Apple has been able to thrive on that idea with its experience centres across the world, and over time, its model has been followed by Androidland and dealers in the electronics segment.
If many shoppers in India still prefer touch-and-feel and want to try out clothes, for example, before buying them, there’s sense in maximising the joy of shopping or adding some fun elements to it. In the early half of 2013, three entrepreneurs (all IIT-Bombay alumni) set out to do just that.
The start-up now has 14 brands on board as clients with a presence in more than 90 stores across the country. Being Human, Satya Paul and Nike are just some names that have chosen to trust the start-up’s big idea while India and West Asia have emerged its strongest markets.
Little tweak, big difference
Shopsense has an interactive platform that works to enhance the shopping experience. It brings the best of digital and physical shopping to the customer, though all it translates to is a kiosk on the shopfloor.
The device began to be installed in Being Human stores around the middle of 2014. Shoppers spend time at the kiosk dressing up actor and brand ambassador Salman Khan in various styles. While his celebrity status is a big draw, the brand is able to capture what items in a season’s collection are popular and in what colours. There was arguably no efficient way to gather this information before and to the depth that is possible with a Shopsense solution.
Kunal Mehta, Vice-President — Business Development and Marketing, Being Human, reports that the kiosk alone accounts for 8-10 per cent jump in the brand’s revenues with an effective loyalty programme beefing that up further.
“We’ve placed it in strategic locations across 24 out of our 35 stores. Nearly 70 per cent of our walk-in customers go to the kiosk, spend at least 5-6 minutes engaging with the store and its products,” Mehta says.
Harsh Shah, Co-founder, Shopsense, explains, “Consumers are using technology like never before but stores and brands were a decade behind.
We wanted to help close that gap by enabling brands to scale up their technology while offering consumers an engaging shopping experience.”
Far and wide
Shopsense works on a SaaS model and clients are charged on a ‘per store per month’ basis. Since kicking off operations in early 2013, the company has seen an overall growth in traction that amounts to 35 per cent MoM. Funded first by Powai Lake Ventures and then Kae Capital, Shopsense plans to be in 120 stores by this fiscal-end after already signing up with a total of 150 stores.
“The store is the real deal when it comes to achieving traction for product sales,” Harsh Shah declares.
Shopsense offers three products to brands — Match, React and Lemur. Match helps shoppers mix and match clothes visualise what goes well together.
Lemur is a search, discovery and recommendation engine. Recommendations are based on a user’s shopping journey.
“Physical retail is facing a lot of heat from e-commerce players. E-commerce channels are great for discounts, but the shopping experience is always more pertinent in the longer run,” adds Shah.
From offering free Wi-Fi to bringing digital shopping to the shopfloor with the purpose of increasing sales from the store, much will change in the way large retail names engage with shoppers.
With a keen focus on discovery-oriented categories such as apparel and footwear to jewellery, watches and other accessories, Shopsense plans to grow aggressively in South-East Asia starting from Pakistan and Sri Lanka.