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“Traditional retailers are adopting appropriate digital initiatives to compete in a new environment”

By N Jayalakshmi | January 13, 2022

ShopX  recently piloted its omnichannel platform, which delivers everyday value and savings to consumers by digitizing offers of thousands of offline retailers and brands and making them discoverable to consumers. In an exclusive interaction with Retail4Growth,  Amit Sharma, CEO & Co-founder, ShopX, talks about how digitization can redefine the small retail ecosystem and more...

Amit Sharma, CEO & Co-founder, ShopXCould you tell us more about the pilot app you have recently launched?

ShopX is building India’s leading Omnichannel value discovery and transactions platform for consumers. The ShopX consumer app delivers everyday value and savings to consumers by digitizing offers of thousands of offline retailers and brands and making them discoverable to consumers, using a gamified experience on the app. This also provides unique online and offline marketing and demand generation ability for small retailers and brands alike.

What kind of difference do you expect the app to make to the whole small retailers ecosystem?

There are 13 million offline retailers across India, and by 2030, the Indian retail opportunity is estimated to reach $1.5 trillion. The small retailer segment continues to be highly fragmented and disorganized and therein, we believe, lies the opportunity for the ShopX app. The biggest challenge faced by small retailers is the inability to digitize their stores and become discoverable online. Stores offer discounts and deals, and most consumers are unaware of local offers around them. The ShopX app addresses all these challenges and provides a simple to use platform that enables retailers to digitize their store and create an online presence, ensuring high visibility to a wide range of consumers in their neighborhood.

How does this change the dynamics of selling and distribution for brands, especially FMCG brands? Could you explain?

For brands, the ShopX app provides a low-cost method of omni channel marketing into a new pool of consumers in the Indian mass market. Traditional digital marketing channels are expensive and have the downside of lack of visibility for the brand to actual customer searches, data, and rich insights. ShopX seamlessly allows more consumers to discover stores and offers online and seamlessly supports the actual purchase, thus bringing the benefits of both online-offline shopping.

For D2C Brands, it is an efficient way to get offline customers to explore online brands via the app and tasks the offline traffic to their online stores.

When you began, how challenging was it for you to persuade small retailers to get on an eb2b platform?  Could you take us through that journey of reaching 2 lakh retailers?

When ShopX started in 2015, digital Adoption by retailers was our biggest challenge. The team took on the challenge of developing an uncomplicated and exciting app platform for our retail partners. With close to 100% of our base of retailers who were unaccustomed to the digital way of commerce and relied heavily on their conventional buying means, we aimed for a real breakthrough in terms of behaviour. Hence, our efforts were sectioned to create a great marketplace model and a compelling user interface.

During the pandemic, ShopX made a conscious change in its business model to an eB2B model. We modified our business model from a monolithic, full-stack model to an “open architecture” platform that partners, sellers and global brands can use to digitize their distribution.

Any data or stats you could share in the context of tech adoption by small retailers?

Indian retail is undergoing a rapid transformation propelled by several factors such as rising household incomes, increased consumerism, smartphone and internet proliferation, digital payments, and easy credit availability. While the retail sector is being disrupted by new-age digital retailers (adopting innovative business models), traditional retailers are attempting to bridge this gap by adopting appropriate digital initiatives and using technology as an enabler to compete in this new environment. We see technology adoption increasing with our retailers: 88% of retailers onboarded on the ShopX app have a LIVE offer and 55% of retailers are active on the app monthly.

In India, we continue to see millions of retailers adopt store management platforms, online ordering, and technology tools to automate monotonous tasks and improve their efficiency.

Any case study you can share to demonstrate how a retailer achieved some tangible business gains from using the ShopX platform?

Retailer - Juice Junction, Bangalore

Juice Junction has achieved a total of 77 transactions from SHOPX in 15 days, 56 unique customers, 20 repeat customers.

Testimonial from Juice Junction, “I love the SHOPX app; I am getting repeat customers and getting visibility in my locality. I am doing onboarding of customers on my own - if he gets the benefits, he is more likely to come back to me. Plus, I get incentives from SHOPX for doing it. This is the first app which has delivered as promised”.

Moving further, what are the specific areas where you see technology making a difference to the small retail ecosystem?

As the Indian offline retail segment continues rapid transformation on the back of technology adoption, I believe some of the specific areas that will be impacted are:

  • Technologies and platforms that allow for “pre-store” research
  • Contactless payments and growth of digital payments
  • Automation of marketing for retailers and customer loyalty systems
  • Omni channel growth and convergence of offline-online models.

What are your plans for 2022-23? How do you see the market shaping up this year?

After an extremely successful pilot in Bangalore, for this year, the focus will be on increasing the geographical spread across multiple cities in India and growing our customer and retailer base. We aim to onboard 1.5 million consumers on the app by the end of the year and will continue to promote the ShopX Digital Marketing platform to Brands and offline retailers alike to grow their business.

The offline retail market will continue to evolve with the O+O (Online to Offline) model converging and leading to omni channel marketing and selling opportunities for brands and retailers alike. This is a very exciting time for us, and we cannot wait to see what comes next in this ever-evolving retail space.

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