Conversational AI atop Social Commerce - Next Big Thing After E-Commerce
“This is how we have been empowering everyone with an entrepreneurial streak to start their own business and gain financial freedom with little or no resources. Shop101 is a social reselling platform where anyone can come and become an entrepreneur with ZERO investment and start earning money. All you need is the willpower to hustle. We provide a wide range of products to sell and manage end-to-end fulfilment along with providing the technological tools to leverage social media to drive sales. So a homemaker could download the app, curate the products she thinks her social circle might like, and share them. In a nutshell, we want to democratize entrepreneurship in India. We thrive to make commerce better for people including housewives, college students, and young graduates who want to be self-dependent and make their lives better from the comfort of their home." Koushik Mandal, VP Data Science and Analytics, Shop101
“I started small but with the money I made by reselling with Shop101, I have been able to even buy a car & a home. My husband and family believe in me more than ever!” - Mrs Sahasri, Housewife
“After losing my job, I started my own reselling business and started earning even more than my last salary! And thank you Shop101 for the Fastest Business Award!” - Mr Pavan, Full Time Shop101 Reseller
“I’ve been running an e-commerce business for the past 4 years and I have worked with many companies. But my experience with Shop101 has been most rewarding. Our Category Manager has helped me in every situation and his efforts and dedication helped me grow my overall sales. Even during the lockdown, the payments were not delayed. " - Viki Sharma, Viki Fashionz
About Shop 101
Reselling is emerging as one of the popular activities in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities of India. With the newest technologies, online reselling is now possible with a smartphone making it one of the easiest and cheapest methods to earn money from home. Leveraging this opportunity, Abhinav Jain founded Shop101with the aim to become the most trusted reselling partner to millions of Indians and democratize entrepreneurship. It is a platform where anyone from anywhere in India can start their online business with zero investment.
Anyone can register themselves as resellers on the app, all one needs is a smartphone with internet access. Once on the app, all the app user has got to do is pick the products they like and share them with their friends & family on social media by adding a markup amount. This markup amount is then credited to their bank account after the completion of the order cycle.
AI-based Learning for Social Commerce
India is a country with the largest population of people between the ages of 18-35. A country this young has many social media users. While earlier, the focus was more on passing free time by scrolling through different social media platforms; the situation is much different now. Most young people today depend on social media for information. Everything from networking to reading news & shopping. Almost everything is just a click away on your social media apps.
Social Commerce is a subset of e-commerce. In simple words, it is online shopping or e-commerce transactions through social media platforms. The benefit of Social Commerce is how it has brought shopping and brands right to people’s homes. Anybody can start their own online business and sell products globally. Social commerce has empowered people, especially in tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India to take charge of their own lives and discover the entrepreneur in them.
To enable people to start earning from home and establish their own online business, the first important step is to help them learn the important aspects of online selling. An individual needs to gain an understanding of how they can utilize social commerce apps to the fullest and leverage opportunities presented by Social media apps to gain maximum profits from their businesses.
Can conversational AI and WhatsApp chatbots enable an effortless learning experience for the to-be- business owners of India?
AI-based WhatsApp chatbots provide an interactive learning experience while utilizing less human resources. It's a great way for any individual to learn everything that they need to know before starting their own business. It provides a repository of all the relevant information in one place and it makes the individual’s navigation through the learning content very easy.
E-commerce Vs. Social Commerce
Social commerce is very different from other platforms, it enables small merchants or common people in India to live their dream of being an entrepreneur. Other e-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart will not allow resellers to sell all the products available on their website, they will only allow them to sell from their own supply. On the other hand, most social commerce platforms enable everyone to start their business without any monetary investment by choosing from over one lakh products available on the app and reselling them through social media channels.
The recent pandemic has accelerated the growth of e-commerce in India. Consumers are increasingly shifting to online shopping to avoid stepping out of their homes and being exposed to the disease. It is a great time for people to bring their businesses online.
30% of online shoppers say they would likely buy directly from a social media network like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. - BigCommerce
Social media refers to online stores traffic has grown more than 100% in the past two years, more than the growth of any other channel.
Digital commerce technologies span multiple vendors and have numerous internal business stakeholders. This leads to challenges and the need for a common language to understand the digital commerce technology landscape.
By 2023, artificial intelligence will be used by at least 90% of digital commerce organizations.
By 2023, 15% of medium to high gross merchandise value digital commerce organizations will have deployed their own marketplaces.
By 2023, over 50% of the effort and cost in a digital commerce platform program will be spent on integrations with internal and external systems.
The percentage of retailers in North America using social media as e-commerce nearly doubled in a year’s time - from 17% (2017) to 33% (2018).
According to Facebook, 70% of shoppers look to Instagram for product discovery.
60% of Instagram users say they find new products on Instagram. Thus, it makes sense to sell on Instagram.
Pinterest also has Buyable pins, released in 2015, and had over 60M buyable pins in its first six months.
84% of shoppers review at least one social media site before making a purchase.
Low-cost products and impulse buy make higher sales as it keeps with people’s state of mind.
84% of consumers felt convinced enough to buy a product after watching a video about it.
In studying the desires of modern consumers, Drift found there to be a huge swing towards instant answers which can only be achieved through automated chatbots. Consumers want to interact with your brand 24 hours a day without having to wait for a response.
Nearly 60% of the consumers surveyed click on links sent in commerce category groups they’re in to read more about the subject & 50% said they click on links to view the offering
44% said they forward interesting content from those groups to friends.
In order to ensure the success of their businesses, a reseller needs to develop an intuitive understanding of the online market as well as the products provided by the social commerce apps. Better understanding leads to better in-app engagement of the user, better retention as well as a robust GMV generation for the app.
The ideal goal for the company is to help the user get activated within 24 hours on the app and help them get at least 5 orders in the first week. The users who meet this goal are very likely to become successful resellers.
Back until April 2020, to ensure a good learning experience for their users, Shop101 app provided manual support through WhatsApp and phone calls. Shop101 would employ KAMs (Key Account Managers) who would provide virtual assistance to the resellers and help them grow their business. Although this system is helpful for the resellers, it is highly inefficient for the company and demands a large number of human resources.
Solution: Learning over Yellow Messenger’s Conversational AI Chatbots
The pandemic provided Shop101 with the challenge to keep the learning initiative for resellers unhindered. In this regard, AI-based learning seemed the best way to keep our resellers engaged. We decided to target one of the most popular messaging platforms- WhatsApp for this system. Keeping the user personas in mind and thus the relatability intact, we developed an elaborate learning flow. And launched the chatbot named “Shubhika”. The primary motive for this chatbot was to provide all the information necessary for the reseller and boost the number of activations and orders.
Shares: The number of products shared by a reseller on social media is an important metric since the shares directly translate into orders.
UserActivation: When a new user places their first order for their customer, it's called user activation.
Orders and GMV: The number of orders placed by a reseller directly impacts the GMV generated by the company.
6% of the users who signed up during July and August adopted to learn on the Yellow Messenger Chatbot - Shubhika.
The chatbot Shubhika increased the 24-hour activation rate from 4% to 8%.
The users who interacted with the chatbot were twice as likely to place 5 orders in the first 7 days.
The resellers who interacted with the chatbot placed 2.23 times more orders than the users who did not interact with the bot.
The resellers who interacted with the chatbot generated 2.21 times the GMV generated by other resellers (GMV/user).
The learning system provided the appropriate information and successfully pushed the resellers to place more orders.
Users that interacted with Yellow Messenger’s Shubhika
5 orders in the first 7 days
Users that interacted with Yellow Messenger’s Shubhika
Benefits of Conversational AI atop Social Commerce Platforms
Social commerce apps like Shop101 provide all such individuals with everything that they need to start their online business. The app is basically an aggregator of products from thousands of manufacturers, which can be sold by the reseller on social media. While selling products the reseller adds their profits on each product.
Shop101 then takes care of all the logistics and delivers the product to the customer’s doorsteps. Since the product is directly taken from the manufacturer to the customer, the reseller does not have to keep any inventory. Moreover, Shop101 provides a website to every reseller so that they can generate an online presence for their business.
Zero-investment Initiative for resellers/manufacturers:
One of the common misconceptions about starting any business is that you need a large capital to invest, to begin with, a high probability of failure. Social Commerce has been successful to break such barriers. The USP of social commerce for resellers is that this is a zero investment initiative. It is a good platform to earn from home and establish their own online business and can access social commerce apps to do so.
Onboard resellers and bringing them up to speed:
Yellow Messenger’s chatbot deployed for Shop101 has shortened the learning curve for resellers. Since chatting with a chatbot to learn selling tactics is faster than learning from a live agent, more resellers were onboarded. There was an exponential increase in revenue. As the pandemic brought social interactions to a stand-still, the wave of rapid digitization caused new people to be introduced to such platforms. These first-time resellers have mentioned that going back to old methods of conducting business would be less likely for them now that they’ve got a good grip of such aggregators.
Reduced overhead, time:
Previously, the learning happened through individual key account managers that were needed to be trained themselves. The cost of hiring and training these managers has been decimated since all human resources have been replaced by the virtual assistant, Shubhika. It gave Shop101 tremendous growth.
Real-time learning/Instantaneous and apt responses:
Shubhika is capable of handling multiple queries simultaneously with 100% accuracy and speed. The chances of errors have been decimated. Shubhika’s capabilities aren’t restricted to simply e-learning. As the business expands, her technological know-how can be used for other functions.
Enhanced Customer Engagement:
As mentioned earlier, users that interacted with the chatbot were twice as likely to place orders than those who didn’t. This holds true, for other use cases too. Shubhika is capable of upselling and providing customer support besides delivering the best learning experience for resellers. This has caused Shop101 to expand its capabilities rapidly.
Aavi Mathuan is a marketer, web dev and content creator at Yellow Messenger. Her core interests lie in the space of technology and brand psychology. Her natural affinity towards design, content and storytelling is refreshingly perceptive and insightful. She lives with her happy puppy in Bangalore, India.