In India, TV commerce and e-commerce had started gaining grounds almost in the same period when the likes of Naaptol and HomeShop18 were leading the television commerce space. ShopCJ, and cable TV network – Den further joined the bandwagon.
Amidst exceptional growth of e-commerce in the past decade, television commerce has lost its sheen and in dying state. At the same time, if you look closely, there has been in the growth of shoppers using videos.
However, the device has changed to a smartphone from TV. The testimonial for this growth is BulBul. The seven-month-old startup released several datapoints comprising of GMV, traction, videos viewed, likes and share for the first time.
According to a blogpost by Sachin Bhatia, the firm has recorded a GMV of Rs 15 crore and served over 2,80,000 customers who did 400,000 transactions on the platform.
A platform similar to TikTok, Vigo and other Chinese video-sharing apps, BulBul leverages influencers, especially women, who convince vernacular speaking customers with a short video to buy their products.
Selling products across different categories like home, kitchen, apparel, cosmetics, fitness, health, beauty, and jewellery, BulBul has claimed to garner over 1.4 million likes, 6 million shares and 1 million comments via 10 million minutes content consumed by customers with more than 15 million video views.
To learn from the Chinese ecosystem, BulBul also has a cross border team in Gurugram, Bengaluru and Yiwu (China).
China is a leader in live streaming commerce where Alibaba and its subsidiary AliExpress LIVE uses influencers to sell products through videos. The concept is highly popular amongst shoppers in China.
Founded by the co-founder of MakeMyTrip and TrulyMadly – Bhatia, Atit Jain and Sichen Sianna Liu – BulBul- had raised early investment from Sequoia and Leo Capital. Entrackr had exclusively reported about BulBul launch as well as its seed round.
Bhatia also revealed that the company has raised Rs 105 crore in total from Sequoia India, Surge and Leo Capital. Beijing-based alternative asset management firm CDH Investments has come as a new investor on board.
It was also a part of Sequoia’s first cohort of accelerator program – Surge.
While social commerce (including video and influencer commerce has drawn the significant interest of venture capitals, investors also have turned cautious as scaled startups in the space, finding tough to figure out the unit economics.
Many experts believe that large e-commerce firms have an advantage in social commerce space as they have organic traffic and understanding of supply chain et al.
Social commerce is likely to become an auxiliary to the e-commerce sector in the long haul. Moreover, a clutch of startups including BulBul, SimSim and EkAnek aim to build substantial businesses from tier II, III, IV cities and rural areas.
Given that the new format in e-commerce space has been a buzzword and turned new darling for venture capitalists, startups including SimSim, EkAnek and BulBul will be exciting to watch out for.