Companies

BigBox aims to disrupt Indian e-commerce sector with video shopping app

Sangeetha Chengappa Bengaluru | Updated on June 26, 2021

Santhosh Palavesh, founder and CEO, BigBox

Plans to onboard 2,000 sellers in the next six months

Bootstrapped start-up, BigBox is all set to disrupt the e-commerce ecosystem with its realtime Video-commerce app that went live on May 18 for customers in Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

The app, which is available on both Android and iOS, allows customers to video call and shop from kirana or other brand stores.

Retailers need not require e-commerce expertise or a website to start video selling, nor do they have to burn cash for digital marketing. BigBox handles door-to-door deliveries through third-party logistics providers, for these sellers. BigBox offers 27 categories of video shopping spanning Mobiles & Electronics, Grocery, Jewellery, Furniture, Footwear to Services, Restaurants, Pharmacy, Men’s Wear, Women’s Wear, Industrial Goods, Sports & Outdoor etc.

Vivek Electronics, Derby Jeans, Basicslife, Sangeetha Mobiles, Pothys Hypermarket, Godrej Real Good, LKS Goldhouse, Thulasi Pharmacy, Hi Style are some of the brands selling on BigBox.

“When the pandemic broke out, my company UMM Digital had generated hundreds of e-commerce projects because many retailers wanted to go online during the lockdown. I also got the opportunity to collaborate with Academy10X and RAI and trained close to 8,000-10,000 retailers,” Santhosh Palavesh, founder and CEO, BigBox told BusinessLine. UMM Digital provides technology development services and other digital solutions to start-ups and companies.

Pointing out that Covid had also woken up retailers to the immense potential of video shopping, he said, “While V-commerce is popular in China, it is all about going live on Instagram and YouTube and letting your sales guys shout out the products that customers should buy, very similar to Naaptol.com, a model which will not appeal to most brands. I also saw a lot of retailers trying to sell on Whatsapp but, it is not scalable and has many privacy issues. That’s how the idea for BigBox germinated.”

To start video selling on BigBox, retailers have to download the BigBox Seller App and sign up using their mobile number. After choosing a subscription package to begin with and entering payment details, they have to enter store location and other details to start selling.

V-commerce vs E-commerce

Why would retailers opt for V-commerce instead of E-commerce? “Every retailer faces four major challenges in e-commerce. First, is to get an e-commerce website up and running, which can cost anywhere from ₹5,000-5 crore. Second, even if the retailer builds the website, cataloguing is a huge challenge – getting the photoshoot done, products organised, inventory sorted etc. Third, is the biggest cashburn in the form of Google/Facebook marketing. Even if these three challenges are successfully addressed, there is no guarantee that the retailer will succeed,” said Palavesh.

In India, e-commerce conversion rates are around 0.8 to 2.5 per cent but video shopping sees 70 per cent conversions. E-commerce sees 40 per cent product returns, the cost of which is passed on to retailers by marketplaces. In contrast, video shopping has low to nil returns. “High commissions are charged by e-commerce marketplaces whereas zero commissions are charged by BigBox,” added Palavesh.

BigBox is currently offering free trials for sellers, brands, kiranas to help them go online for the first 2-6 months, after which they can opt for paid subscription packages starting from as low as ₹2,500/month onwards. BigBox aims to onboard 2,000 sellers in the next 6 months and achieve $5,00,000 in revenue in its first year.

Published on June 25, 2021

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