Social Commerce Fortunes Hinge On Local Influencers

Mumbai: Local influencers will drive growth on social commerce platforms this year, founders and analysts told ET.

The growth will be supported by social commerce startups expanding into new product categories and branching into new social messaging applications, they said.

Live video, influencer and AI/AR-led, real-life shopping experience will play a key role, according to Tarun Davda, managing director, Matrix India.

Direct-to-consumer sales by recruiting and training local influencers and creating models to generate loyalty among influencers will help these platforms drive sales, experts said.

The trust built by these influencers will help platforms sell high-value products and unlock newer customer segments, they said.

Going deeper into “voice, vernacular, and video” will be crucial, said Ankur Pahwa, leader, ecommerce and consumer internet, EY.

DealShare has been using its army of 30,000 customers on WhatsApp to drive sales on the platform in the past, which incentivised them through buyback credit.

Select resellers will be provided training this year to become local influencers in order to drive demand aggregation and will have the opportunity to make up to 2% of total sales that they facilitate. DealShare plans to pick these influencers from its existing pool of customers. It also plans to recruit influencers from other social marketing and social commerce platforms such as Meesho.

“Now, we are making this a part of their earnings and this can become a full-time business,” says DealShare cofounder Sourjyendu Medda. “We believe that this is going to be much bigger than all the old modes. They bring business and they will earn in cash for that.”

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The company had raised $21 million led by WestBridge Capital last year. It is targeting 1,000 influencers by March and has already added 100 in the past week since the programme launched.

Glowroad is banking on its network of 10 million registered resellers, of whom many hundred thousands actively use the app to drive sales, it said. Close to 60% of the total are in Tier III cities and lower. On top of brands getting access to new geographies, local influencers help break inertia due to personal connection and, in turn, have the chance to make more money, according to Kunal Sinha, cofounder of Glowroad.

Social commerce startups are also expanding into new categories since product curation will continue to be critical, both to maintain influencer stickiness and sales.

Kiko TV, which pivoted to being a live commerce and assisted shopping experience app, is set to rope in a luxury automaker to its platform this month. Founder Shivam Varshney said a two-way live communication between merchants and videos with embedded sales links will help initiate sales for categories such as heavy electronics and automobiles.

Glowroad is adding top online education and insurance policy players to its portfolio this month.


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