This Delhi-based startup is building a phygital shopping future for Indians
While e-commerce has certainly taken off in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak, offering convenience and a plethora of options at the touch of a finger, it also leads to a serious lack of trust. When shopping online, people also tend to receive poor quality products, have long refund times and exchanges are a huge challenge as well.
This is why, for Indians, the love for assisted shopping has not long been lost, as shopping is seen as a social activity, with many people still valuing touch and feel.
Founded in August 2020 by husband-wife duo Purnima Vardhan and Taponeel Mukherjee, Delhi-based 335bazaar creates an omnichannel-hyperlocal retail model for neighborhood lifestyle stores. The model converts unorganized lifestyle stores into 335 bazaar experience centers.
Founders Poornima Vardhan and Taponeel Mukherjee
Taponeel Mukherjee, co-founder of 335bazaar, told YourStory: “Our vision is to provide one billion Indians with a great shopping experience through the seamless interplay of online and offline worlds.”
The business is built on two main pillars: 335bazaar Experience Centers which deliver a mall-like experience to Indian consumers at affordable prices through a direct factory-to-consumer model, as well as social commerce through live feeds that use technology to provide live deals, group shopping, and entertainment.
The company launched two experience centers in Bhogal (South Delhi) and Madhu Vihar (East Delhi). He plans to open 100 stores in the next six months in all Delhi neighborhood markets.
How do consumers buy on 335bazaar?
There are four ways that 335bazaar allows consumers to buy on the platform. The first is livestreams, through which the startup not only offers a product, but also offers consumers an entertaining and transparent shopping experience.
The company also brings the store to consumers via video shopping. The third is BOPIS – Buy online, pay in store, through which 335bazaar serves its consumers who prefer the convenience of online shopping to the experience of offline shopping.
The fourth goes through a hyper-local and digitally connected network offline fashion, which provides consumers with both the products and the desired experience.
“At 335bazaar, we are transforming the entire unorganized retail value chain through technology and business model innovation. Our consumers decide what they want, and it’s in real time, ”says Taponeel, saying they are focusing on the most important word of the next decade -“ phygital ”.
Both Poornima and Taponeel are former investment bankers and obtained their MBAs from Wharton School and INSEAD respectively. Previously, Taponeel advised several retail businesses and Poornima ran a direct consumer brand.
At start-up, Poornima and Taponeel focus on building the business and core strategy.
“We have over 13 years of combined retail expertise in India – from contract manufacturing to distribution in the 50 largest Tier I, II, III and IV cities in India,” says Taponeel.
335bazaar’s platform is seamlessly connected from factory to consumer using technology.
“We are building a business that connects the physical world and the digital world. This is unprecedented and therefore the challenge. It’s a complete opportunity for the blue ocean, ”he adds.
Currently, the startup has a team of 35+ members.
The present and the future
According to Invest India, the global retail market is expected to cross the $ 1.75 trillion mark by 2026, up from $ 795 billion in 2017.
“With our unique India-centric business model and the expertise of our founder, we are confident enough to gain market share in this highly fragmented retail market,” said Taponeel. “We have no direct competitors as this is a new business model for India.”
As of April 2021, 335bazaar had received seed funding from Global Village, the venture capital fund backed by some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, including Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Reid hoffman.
“We believe 335bazaar is the future of Indian commerce, and we have partnered with top Silicon Valley investors to develop our vision,” said Poornima Vardhan, co-founder of 335bazaar.
“We make money from sales because we’re a technology-driven business company,” she adds.
335bazaar competes indirectly with online and offline retail in India, but “we offer the best of both worlds: the convenience of online shopping and the experience of offline shopping,” says Taponeel.