CHENNAI: Bengaluru-based e-commerce company ShopX is trying to disrupt the traditional retail ecosystem with its differentiated approach. A retail app that enables retailers to offer products and services to customers by listing the products and daily deals, ShopX is harnessing technology to bring e-commerce to the mainstream mass market in India by expanding the overall addressable market size.
Amit Sharma, CEO, ShopX, tells us that this becomes more relevant with the physical infrastructure of the country being decades behind the west.
“What we can do in India to race past the world is build digital infrastructure. But digital is not the only kind of access that needs to be scaled. What about language barrier? Access is not about data and smartphone only, access also means language and logistics,” he says.
“Our research finds that the large middle-income mass market in India is not comfortable shopping in
English. We need to think about whether most of the people can get a parcel delivered home. A lot of India cannot. Comfort and trust are crucial for interaction with a digital interface. Small retailers can solve these problems as they can talk to the customers in their native language, he can be a payment point, a point of delivery which solves the logistics problems and a trusted human interface to a digital platform,” he added.
In only a year of its existence, ShopX has empowered 40,000 retailers across 200 towns in 10 cities and reached out to 1 million customers. The company aims to provide the 600-million middle-income population in India (as against the current 50 million active internet buyer base) access to digital commerce.
The key is to localise as India is a country of countries. ShopX app runs in nine languages. Even the retailer training and management programmes are conducted in these languages.
Says Amit Sharma, “Every single brand is chasing the same 40 million people, the modern tech savvy crowd in the cities which is, of course a low hanging fruit. The model which is copied from the west suits these people. But we need something that is built for India. We have 1.4 crore retailers in India, each of them have about 1000 customers, we can convert these retailers into an success point for digital interaction.” With digital payments receiving a boost after demonetisation, ShopX wants to participate in the digital move and claims to be one of those few companies who are pushing the UPI standards. With Nandan Nilekani as an investor and Pramod Verma in their advisory board ShopX wants to be aggressive as far as digital payments is concerned.
“We are trying to establish a bank-to-bank payments service. I don’t think wallets are going to be the future in India. People don’t need an additional bucket to store their money. What we need is not a e-wallet, but a payment service from the existing bank accounts. It could be from a nationalised or cooperative bank account. We are planning to sign up 10 lakh retailers in the next few months into the ShopX open payment service, which is a large scale rollout of its kind. It accepts everything from bank to bank transfer, credit, debit, Rupay card everything,” says Amit.
ShopX has partnered with TRRAIN (Trust for Retailers and Retail Associates of India) to celebrate Retail employees day by offering a one-year educational scholarship programme for the children of the top performing retailers. About 10 scholarships from each state, where ShopX is a part of, is being sponsored.