99presents is a site that wishes to provide you with a better social shopping experience by connecting your Facebook interests and activities. A market that is soon catching up and here we try to bring you a review of the site.
Shopping is a social activity and Facebook is the social network where 53 million Indians are spending their time actively. So we are going to see lot of startups trying to capture this virgin market. 99presents is one such startup that is trying to create a dent into this market. The Co-Founders, Jwalant Patel and Minal J Patel ventured into this market six months ago as a gifting app but now they have given a social layer to it. The duo has also managed to secure the initial round of funding, as shared by Yourstory. So I dug deeper to find out how 99presents works and how well it is placed against its competitors.
How does 99presents work?
At the moment, the social shopping app works through Facebook login even though the Twitter login is out there. So after the initial level of authentication, you would land on the 99presents Facebook app. The app is divided into three tabs – Gallery, Friends and Wishes. In addition to this, you are shown a list of products that you might like depending upon your activity on Facebook and the app also gives a list of friends that are having their birthday today.
The tab Friends is the list of friends that are on Facebook and sorted along with their birthdays. If you click on them, then you are shown a list of products that might interest your friend. “Wishes” is a tab that shows your wish list.
However, if you have made your mind to gift a friend then on click of the item, you are taken to the Amazon site where you can purchase the product.
Can it be better?
The idea of showing me gifts depending on my activities is interesting. Additionally, the app tells me the birthdays of my friends and is suggesting me gifts. I have tried testing its intelligence for one of my friend and the few items shown at the top were quite relevant. The app suggested me a bunch of blogging books for my friend who is a blogger too.
However, the app has confused me a bit. At times upon logging via FB app, I was taken into Facebook and at other times, I was taken to a 99presents.com site for shopping. I am surprised why both these actions are being performed since it is sure to frustrate a user.
Nevertheless, I found the 99presents.com site much more elegant and user friendly than the Facebook one. The design is cleaner and navigation is easy unlike the Facebook. You can search for products and the best part is that these goods can be transacted on Indian ecommerce sites unlike the Facebook one where you were taken to the international site of Amazon.
The site also allows you to search based on occasions. For example, if it is your spouse’s birthday then click on birthday tag and the site would ask for the gender choice and depending on the answer, it will show you relevant gift items for you to make a suitable decision.
The site definitely can be better if it sorts out why there are two different instances running at the same time. Along with this, it would be great to know who among my friends has bought the product while I am making a decision to buy the product. Adding a review from my friends is another area that 99presents can ponder over. Similar features have been explored by Koolkart and are doing well.
99presents is not the only one who is trying to crack this market but there is Exprestore too. Then there is Badhai.in which works again in the same way but it gives you gift coupons that you can redeem at most of the leading ecommerce stores.
However, last year we had reviewed Trolly that was also in the same space but has pivoted recently for reasons that are not clear. I had earlier debated that ecommerce in India will gradually shift to social but it won’t happen soon and not for all verticals.
Saying that, 99presents has a stiff competition from its competitors which are better placed in the market in terms of design and execution. For example, Exprestore takes care of your complete shopping experience but 99presents is giving me a choice but not the complete experience. So these things will have to be looked at by the startup otherwise it won’t be an easy ride in the Indian market.
Hopefully, 99presents can tie up the glitches and provide a competitive market not only for its competitors but for users too. Do give a try to 99presents and let us know what you think about it.