Simsim, a social commerce startup in India, said Friday it had raised $ 16 million in seven months of its existence to help replicate the offline retail experience in the digital world with the help of influencers.
The Gurgaon-based startup announced that it had raised $ 16 million in Accel Partners, Shunwei Capital's seed capital, Series A and Series B financing rounds and good capital. (The final round, Series B, was $ 8 million.)
“Although e-commerce providers offer significant discounts, most of the sales in India are still made in brick-and-mortar stores. There is a simple reason for that: trust, ”said Amit Bagaria, co-founder of Simsim, in an interview with theinformationsuperhighway.
The vast majority of Indians still don't like to read descriptions – even in English, he said.
Simsim takes a different approach to seize this opportunity. In the app, users can watch short videos created in local languages by influencers using beauty products, or try clothes and explain the advantages and disadvantages of the products. Below the video, the items are displayed as they are being discussed and users can tap to proceed with the purchase.
“Videos help educate users about the category. For example, so many of them may not have used face masks. However, it will be easier if the community influencer can show them how to use it, ”said Rohan Malhotra, Managing Partner at Good Capital, in an interview with theinformationsuperhighway.
Influencers typically sell a number of items, and users can follow them to search the past catalog and keep track of future sales, said Bagaria, who previously worked at the financial services company Paytm's e-commerce company ,
"This interactivity enables Simsim to mimic the offline store experience," said Malhotra, one of the earliest investors in Meesho. also a social commerce startup that was supported by Facebook and Prosus Ventures last year.
"The nice thing about social commerce for me is that you don't change consumer behavior. People are used to consuming on WhatsApp – and it works for Meesho. Here you get the touch and feel of experience and can imagine the objects much more mentally, ”he said.
Simsim manages the inventory it obtains from manufacturers and brands and works with a number of logistics companies to deliver the products.
“Several Indian cities are some of the largest production centers for various high-quality products. But these people were unable to efficiently sell online or expand their network in the offline world. On Simsim, they can work with influencers and market their products, ”said Bagaria.
The platform now works with more than 1,200 influencers who receive a commission for every item sold, said Bagaria, who plans to increase that number to 100,000 in the coming years.
Even though Simsim, which has been open to users for six months, is still in its early stages, it is gradually showing some growth. It has amassed over a million users, most of whom live in small towns, and sells thousands of items every day, Bagaria said.
He said the platform, which currently supports Hindi, Tamil, Bengali and English, will add more than a dozen additional languages by the end of the year. In about a month, Simsim also plans to show live videos where influencers can answer user questions.
In recent years, a handful of startups have emerged in India trying to rethink the nation's e-commerce market. Amazon and Walmart, Both, who poured billions of dollars into India, have also taken note of this. Both have added support for Hindi over the past two years and have further improved their platforms to expand their reach.