from roposo to trell, short video platforms carve out a space in social commerce

Local short video platforms are trying to shrug off the tag of being clones of TikTok, having taken the lead when it comes to social commerce.

TikTok, which became wildly popular in India before it was banned by the government in June 2020, embraced social commerce only this year. Homegrown app Trell brought brands, creators and buyers together on one platform last year, followed by Chingari and now Roposo.

Roposo, which claims a userbase of over 100 million, on October 13 launched live entertainment commerce. The new offering will let users shop for products recommended by creators in categories including fashion and beauty, health and fitness, electronics, home decor and lifestyle.

Trell also sees fashion and beauty as a potentially large category on its platform; it has also got on board brands form other categories including fintech and online gaming.

The platform, which until February had 400 personal care and beauty brands, has now expanded to over 600 brands, including Lakmé, Tresemmé, Ustraa, The Man Company, Dr Vaidya, MamaEarth, Plum, Wow and Mirabelle.

Regional markets rule

"Over 70 percent of the purchases have been from Tier-II, Tier-III and regional markets. And brands like Tinder, Poco, Upstox, PayTM, VI, The Games 24*7, Adda52, Domino’s have seen strong traction with our influencer marketing assets," Pulkit Agrawal, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Trell, told Moneycontrol.

Deepak Gupta, founding partner of seed-stage fund WEH Ventures, said users in Tier-I cities tend to go to direct shopping platforms like Nykaa and Amazon and look at the offerings on short-video platforms as an additional avenue.

“But there are a lot of others that are being catered to by these platforms," Gupta added.

Smaller cities are potentially the largest growth markets for short video platforms in terms of social commerce, according to Gupta.

Surge in shoppable content

Agrawal said earlier this year that social commerce on Trell was expanding 50 percent month on month.

Roposo has just stepped into the live shopping space. Chingari is eyeing annual revenue of $100 million in the next two years from its video commerce offering.

Overall, Agrawal said social commerce in India is projected to reach $70 billion by 2030, citing a report by Bain and Company.

He added that according to a RedSeer Consulting report social commerce is estimated to grab 5 percent of the Indian e-commerce market, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 65 percent between 2020 and 2025.

The US-based live streaming short-form video platform Firework, which entered India in 2019, is also betting on shoppable content.

"Firework has done over 25 live streams so far. We have been able to sell a sizeable amount. We did a gifting live stream where 30 products were being sold," said Sunil Nair, the India and EMEA CEO of Firework. EMEA is short for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

He said many brands were seeking access to Firework technology. "We are working with large format stores for live stream and are also in talks with a chain of salons. In the next six months, we expect to see more and more D2C brands, apparel, lifestyle taking up shoppable videos," said Nair.

Roposo vice president and general manager Mansi Jain said conversion rates of footfalls on live commerce sites into sales was 4 - 5x higher than those on regular e-commerce sites.

"This is something that has become huge in markets like China and the US. It is not so much about the duration of the content, but about creating interactive, immersive, real world shopping experiences for users, by talented creators who can truly influence buying decisions," she said.

Creators are key

Piyush Shah, a co-founder of the InMobi Group and president and chief operating officer of Glance, a lock-screen platform, said the company is looking to integrate a range of monetisation levers for its creators.

Shah added that Glance intends to become the largest platform for creator-led live shopping in India, and take it to Southeast Asia and the US in the coming quarter.

WEH Ventures' Gupta said short video platforms, through social commerce, were increasing the reach of influencers and of brands as well.

"Product sale is a dominant part of the revenue pie and this also attracts more influencers on a platform," he added.

Social commerce at a nascent stage

Social commerce in the short video space seems to be taking off, but is it is still a small market as of now, Gupta said. Product delivery is a hurdle, looking at the reviews on some of the platforms, he said.

While back-end operations could be a challenge, these platforms are leveraging the technology of e-commerce platforms and that could result in a better customer experience.

Chingari entered the shoppable video space by tying up with Amazon. Roposo will be leveraging full stack e-commerce platform Shop101’s technology. In June this year, Glance acquired Shop101.

Although shoppable videos are at a nascent stage in India, they are trending. "Social commerce connects brands directly with customers while also providing an easy way for people to purchase online, making it a highly profitable area with increasing demand," said Agrawal.

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