Looking back a decade or so, you could see people only buying from a retail store and nothing online. That trust and integrity with offline stores was massive, while trusting online sites was close to nil. However, with the technology boom and the internet’s reliability, things have taken a turn for the best. Different offline retail stores have shifted to e-commerce platforms that offer different services in the way the fashion industry ships things out.
Disrupting the market with something entirely new is Baaz. Baaz is a company that provides a live video shopping experience for retailers where all their clothing lines and other things can be managed through in-video catalogues, live chats and much more. Venture Mirror had the unique opportunity to speak with Chitresh Parihar, the CEO and founder of Baaz, in understanding how he started the company and what it’s all about. Read all the excerpts from our interview given below.
What is the startup / product / venture about? Give us a brief description of it.
We enable live video shopping for the global non-marketplace ecommerce industry. A retailer can create a live video shopping store in less than 1 min & start selling using Baaz. He can host live videos, manage in-video catalogs, in-video live chats with customers, collect instant payments, in-video checkouts, automated promotions, manage shipping & influencers all from a single mobile app. If he wants to integrate live video shopping on top of their existing ecommerce website, we provide them with technology for that. Baaz also integrates/syncs up with Shopify globally.
Physical stores provide a trustworthy shopping experience but are very expensive to run. Whereas, e-commerce provides convenience & ease of distribution but requires expertise along with time to show results and can be sometimes expensive too. And with live video shopping stores, we intend to bring the trustworthy-ness of physical shopping and convenience as well as ease of distribution of e-commerce together at fraction of cost to retail stores around the world.
How many co-founders are there? Please introduce them and their backgrounds.
We are 2 cofounders.
– Chitresh Parihar(30 Years) – Founder & CEO @Baaz. An engineering college dropout, former president @aiesec, marketing manager @patrika group & cofounder @Playlyfe(exited).
– Ruben Gregory(30 Years) – Cofounder & CTO @Baaz. B.Tech @Anna University, MS RnD @University of Texas, Research Assistant @CommScope & RnD Engineer @James Hardie in the US.
How did you come up with the idea? What motivated you to do this?
While working with several local retailers across Bangalore for over two years across eCommerce, advertising, marketing, and content landscape, between November 2019 to Feb 2020 we were regularly noticing an increasing number of retailers providing live video shopping to customers using Whatsapp Videos, Zoom Video Calls, Facebook Live, Instagram Live or Youtube Live as an alternative to physical(offline) shopping due to customer’s hesitation to come out after COVID-19 ‘s news were spreading.
Across all the live video shopping experiences that we witnessed, we found that it required extensive use of different technologies(videos, chats, order management, payments, marketing, and shipping) to complete a single transaction. Such as using one tool for hosting live videos, another for chatting/communication/sending product pics or screenshots/customer support, another for payments, another for shipping, and another for marketing/promoting. We felt this was too inefficient and started looking for alternatives that could help solve this inefficiency problem for retailers. We were unsuccessful in finding a relevant solution & hence decided to build it ourselves.
Today, in the non-marketplace eCommerce model(indie store’s ecommerce websites, website builders, social commerce, other similar selling platforms) the live video commerce is very unorganized, unstructured and there is an increasing need for a tool that can enable a retail store to add live video shopping.
Who is your target market? Why do you think your product will appeal to them?
We primarily target 2 types of retails stores globally:-
a) a store that wishes to add live video shopping to his/her existing online selling strategy. A store that has an e-commerce website, all the social handles managed well, and a marketing team and wants to add a layer of live video shopping on their website using our technology. It saves effort & time in enabling complete live video shopping and makes the whole process efficient.
b) a store that has started coming online recently after lockdowns and doesn’t know much about technology or building an eCommerce site himself. So selling through a tool like ours helps him get to market faster with little to no upfront cost.
We aim to be the go-to tool for any retailer globally who wishes to add live video shopping and millions of retailers who are transitioning to online from offline every day.
Who are your competitors? How are you different from them?
Live Scale, PopShop Live & Spin Live
What are the future plans with the product/startup? Any new features you are planning on?
We’re building an ecosystem around live video shopping. So everything that helps a retailer provide a superior shopping experience to customers will inherently become part of it. Things like live video hosting, video archives, in-video catalogs, in-video chats, in-video checkouts, shipping integrations and promotions that allows a store to reach a larger audience are all integrated into our existing mobile app.
We currently offer integration with Shopify & stand alone websites. Going forward, we intend to add integrations with several other platforms like these which allows seamless experience for retailers around the world.