Santhosh Palavesh, Founder & CEO, BigBox

Santhosh Palavesh, a serial tech entrepreneur is the Founder & CEO of BigBox – India’s first ever Video Commerce (V-Commerce) marketplace that helps traditional shop owners to digitise their business in a matter of minutes. Santhosh’s passion for technology has enabled him to work with multiple start-ups helping them to build their products from scratch and launch in the market. With an overall experience of 13 years, Santhosh has created successful go-to-market strategies for start-ups across Blockchain, Ed-tech, E-commerce, SAAS, B2C/B2B and Gaming platforms. Constant recognition of his work and the significant knack for digital technology motivated him to build UMM Digital – a passionate venture established in his sophomore year is now a successful product innovation & digital transformation firm handling 500+ clientele, staffing 120+ employees in five different countries.

 

The first-ever TV commercial aired on July 1, 1941, made by Bulova Watches, forever revolutionizing the world of advertisement. People love videos because they are quick, entertaining, and engaging. Even Google algorithms prioritize websites that have video content which means a better ranking for your online business. 

vCommerce is strategically using high-quality video content to sell services or products on the internet. China started the video commerce trend by popularising live-streaming retail, and the global COVID19 pandemic pushed it to the forefront. It is popular among the younger demographic that had to shift their in-store shopping habits to online purchasing. 

Indian retailers have been in a digital war of their own with tough competition in the eCommerce market. 80% of eCommerce revenue generated in India does not belong to the average Indian retailer. SMEs have yet to crack the formula to become a successful eCommerce venture.

From high website costs to reluctant consumers, the Indian retail industry is plagued by problems. 

Indian retailers v/s eCommerce

  • Major market share owned by two eCommerce giants
  • High website and maintenance costs with low conversion rates
  • Internet connectivity issues 
  • Lack of trust from consumers
  • High rate of refunds and returns 
  • Expensive delivery charges
  • Lack of technical know-how
  • Difficult algorithm by most ecom platforms

Even though the online market is tough, with the ongoing pandemic restrictions, many retailers had to make a move to eCommerce. People have drastically changed their shopping habits which were clearly witnessed in the past two years.  The Indian E-commerce market is expected to grow to US$ 200 billion by 2026 from US$ 38.5 billion as of 2017.  

Today there are approximately 1 billion cell phones in the country, and with rapid digitalization and better internet connectivity, more than 50% of Indian consumers will shop online by 2026. The competition in the eCommerce industry will only get more brutal, and the Indian retailer needs to find a way to survive. 

vCommerce can provide respite from the high expenditures and slow returns from eCommerce platforms. With integrated video calling, new vCommerce players are changing the game for the average Indian retailer. Consumers love the in-store experience provided by video chat, and retailers benefit from a number of vCommerce perks. 

vCommerce the future for Indian Retailers

  • Sell quickly through video calls 
  • No complicated algorithms 
  • No need for a laptop
  • Easy to create catalogs
  • Interact with genuine customers to reduce returns
  • Utilize your sales skills instead of worrying about technical know-how
  • Create virtual branches to expand your business
  • Give your customers the in-store experience
  • See quicker results with video selling 

Indian retailers are known for their innate selling skills and warm customer service. Even though COVID19 forced a lot of Indians to shift to online shopping, they miss shopping in real-time. Many consumers expressed concern about buying things like furniture, vehicles, and expensive electronics online. With video shopping, consumers can trust the store because they have already seen the product. 

Why Consumers will love vCommerce

  • Virtual shopping, real-time experience
  • Visual representation of the product
  • Hyperlocal market
  • Shop from anywhere & anytime
  • Manage privacy
  • Video call to start shopping

vCommerce will prove to be the best way to shop in the coming years and give Indian retailers the boost they have been looking for. Building eCommerce websites takes time, money, and skills, and even after all of the work, 90% of Indian online businesses fail to make it. 

Shift to the vCommerce market from an eCommerce market is inevitable. Will the Indian retailer’s market use the vCommerce platform to get out of the COVID19 rut? Or will they pass on this fantastic opportunity?

Indian Retail: the future 

India has the second-largest population in the world, which means it has a billion consumers for the retail industry. Yet, the retail sector remains largely unorganized. With rapid urbanization, better internet connectivity, and more customer spend, the retail industry will prosper in the country. The problem is how the average retailer will compete with eCommerce giants like Amazon or Flipkart? 

Switching to a vCommerce platform can help Indian retailers make a huge difference in the way they sell their products. Let’s have  a look at the advantages of vCommerce over eCommerce for the Indian retail industry:

  • Better conversion rates than eCommerce. 22% of online businesses fail within the first year of business. Building and maintaining a website is a huge expenditure and takes a lot of time. Consumers do not like or revisit websites that look unattractive, are unresponsive, or crash several times. With a vCommerce model, retailers do not need to build an external website because they can directly sell through video chats. 
  • Personalized selling. The Indian consumer is frugal with their spending and may not trust some random website or social media ad. The many fake websites, cheap products, and online frauds plaguing the internet will help immensely if the consumer can see the product before purchasing. The Indian retailer also has the opportunity to wow their customers with their innate selling skills. 
  • No catalogs. Creating an impressive and high-resolution catalog means hiring a professional photographer and models and investing a lot of money. It becomes a hectic task for retailers who sell multiple products like garments or shoes to keep your catalog updated. Selling through a video chat means you can directly show your products to the consumer, and all you need is your phone. 
  • Customer loyalty. Consumers love a personalized shopping experience as opposed to buying from a catalog. They want to look at the product before investing their money. Through video selling, retailers can build a huge customer base that will remain loyal to their brand. 

The COVID19 pandemic changed the Retail industry forever, and it is slowly recovering. Consumers are willing to start shopping more, but eCommerce is not meeting their expectations. A vCommerce platform will encourage a hyperlocal market and bring the Indian Retailer to the forefront. It is time to make the switch. 

 

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