Buyers are now using such sites increasingly to pick fashion products
Akriti Saxena calls herself an online shopaholic. The 24-yearold Delhi consultant's wardrobe is full of clothes bought from Myntra, Jabong and niche fashion portals like StalkBuyLove and Cupcake and Closet, but Saxena has chosen few straight ones from these stores. She depends on product-discovery websites to help her out in making a decision.
“It has become really easy to sort through the clutter online and find clothes tuned to my tastes owing to customised product-discovery sites,“ she said.
Saxena is one of many who, faced with the problem of too many choices online, are depending on websites such as Roposo, Voonik and Fabity to choose what they want. These sites use algorithms to search the Web for data such as the body type and style preferences that consumers key in to select products that suit them.
These websites have tie-ups with ecommerce portals to get access to their collections. At the same time, they help consumers with a more sophisticated personalised product selection and style advice by building expert curation algorithms into their platforms.The customer gets more targeted options, without individually visiting each portal.
“There is so much clutter online with more than a million clothing products alone that targeting product discovery was the need of the hour,“ said Mayank Bhangadia, who cofounded Roposo. The Gurgaon-based company , which was launched in May , helps customers discover fashion products from more than 150 online stores.
Roposo makes revenue from commissions and advertisements and claims to be getting more than half a million users on its platform every month. The company has raised about $1 million from India Quotient, 5 Ideas Startup Superfuel and Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal.
“Consumers do have a need to go through a product-discovery site since all of a sudden there is huge availability of merchandise online,“ said Arvind Singhal, chairman of retail advisory firm Technopak.
“There are multiple players in this space and there is no immediate leader,“ said Praveen Sinha, MD of Jabong.“If someone has a unique technology or platform to offer, (and) which cannot be done in-house by us, then we would be willing to look at the possibility of acquiring,“ he said. Myntra COO Ganesh Subramanian said his company , too, would consider such deals.
These platforms also help discover newer brands, which may not have the cash to spare on marketing or customer acquisition. “Platforms like Roposo can give great visibility to our brand,“ said Tushar Ahluwalia, cofounder of StalkBuyLove.com, an online fashion brand targeted at women.
While some platforms help with discovery, others like Voonik also act like a personal stylist, helping narrow down search to what would fit a customer's exact body type and taste.
“I was frustrated that I could never get clothes that suit me,“ said Voonik CEO Sujayath Ali. “The same way Amazon has bridged the gap between a geek and a common man for electronics, I wanted Voonik to bridge the gap between a fashionista and a common man.“ Bengaluru-based Voonik, founded in January 2013, doesn't stock its own inventory. It showcases items from multiple stores and once the order is completed, it earns a commission.