Everyone loves shopping. The pleasure of buying your favorite thing is incomparable. But wandering from shops to shops in search of that particular item with the right quality and price is a daunting task. Purplista, a Bangalore based startup wants to make all this easier.
Research Online Purchase Offline (ROPO) is a trait widely observed among Indian shoppers. Purplista has enhanced it a step further by integrating it with location based mapping.
Purplista went live in March 2013 with the aim of bringing shops to buyers instead of traditional way of buyers going to retail outlets. Generally, consumers are found scouring retail stores before they finally buy a product. Quality, best price, design and other product attributes are examined before doing a transaction. Users spend a good amount of time and effort in running from one brick and mortar store to another. Moreover, Indian consumers are still not comfortable in buying certain products, which has a touch and feel factor, online.
Such consumers who rely on multichannel mode for shopping are the target segment of Purplista. The website tracks user’s location and displays all the listed brick and mortar stores within 3, 5 and 10 km distance range from it. Consumers can compare various product attributes and prices online using the site and can then directly walk-in in the nearby shop to pick the product manually. This way the users can check the item physically before buying (touch and feel factor) and it saves time and effort of browsing store shelves for finding the right deal.
As of now the startup has services in Bangalore and Chennai for which it has partnered with more than 100 stores. A monthly subscription fees is charged as commission from the retailers. Soon, the company plans to expand in Hyderabad and then in other cities. Currently, categories like consumer electronics, mobile, home and kitchen appliances are available but soon the firm will include music instruments and furniture too.
An option to check availability of a product in certain stores is available. Here, a buyer inputs his contact information such as email id and phone number and requests to check availability of the desired product from a given store. The startup then contacts the concerned store and comes back with the status within 30 minutes. Along with shoppers it also helps shop owners to trace the traction and demand of their store.
The feature is similar to showrooming where shoppers check out the products off-line and then buy it online, only here products are compared online and then bought from physical retail stores. The site is a marketplace which lists local shops present at a location with their product catalogues. There are no transactions happening on the site.
Another online service which provides localised price comparison option to users is PriceBaba, though unlike Purplista, it’s search is limited to a city and not to a specified region in respect to a user’s location. Also PriceBaba is limited to mobile phones while Purplista has other categories too.
Buy Online, Pickup in Store (or BOPS) is a feature where users buy products online and then collect it from the nearby location. On the same lines, the startup plans to integrate a “Reserve” feature. Using it users can reserve the products they find suitable from the desired listed store by paying a small amount of reservation fees. The product can then be delivered within 3 to 4 hours of ordering or users can pick it manually. Upon completing the transaction successfully, the reserve fees will be returned back to users.
Including other options such as reviews, ratings etc will be more helpful in engaging consumers.
This Startup Coverage is part of NextBigWhat’s ‘India. Get Independent. #StartupCampaign’, supported by Canaan Partners and Shopify India. During this campaign, NextBigWhat will profile upcoming Indian startups. If you want to have your startup featured, please submit details here.]