Social e-commerce: Local focus for a bigger audience
DealShare, unlike most startups which operate from big cities like Bengaluru, operate from the Pink City.
DealShare, launched in September last year, is among new-wave ventures trying to get first-time internet users to make online purchases, be it household articles, groceries or electronics. It is largely based on the model of China’s Pinduoduo, which incentivises users for sharing product offers with friends and family members, who are then tempted to buy the products. But in a key feature, DealShare has incorporated regional languages to draw non-metro users.
“People started referring us to their friends on WhatsApp and through word-ofmouth as they found value in the incentives based on social sharing. Over 90% of our users are transacting online for the first time,” said Rao.
Rao and Medda, who hope to join their families in Bengaluru soon, said it was important to set up shop in Jaipur as it helped them understand the market and audience they wanted to serve. DealShare registers about 7,000 to 8,000 orders per day in the Pink City.
The company has raised $3.4 million from Matrix Partners, Falcon Edge, Omidyar Network and angel investors, and expanded outside Jaipur. It has operations in Ahmedabad, Kota, Ajmer and Sikar, and is eyeing markets in Maharashtra.
The company works with a limited number of products, which help it move the items faster and more frequently. Online grocer Grofers follows a similar strategy.
“We have about 500 stock keeping units, and most of our brands are local ones, which one may not see in bigger urban markets. Many of our consumers are not bothered about brand names,” said Medda.
DealShare gets customers from varied backgrounds — blue-collar workers, government employees and labourers. “Even while talking in Hindi, we use specific lingo or common phrases to make our service relatable,” said Rao.
About 70% of the items sold on DealShare are sourced from local manufacturers and they are mostly cheaper than national brands. Overall, it has served 2.5 lakh customers through about 10 lakh orders.