India has an enormous appetite for window shopping and that explains the innovative ways in which stores showcase their wares and best offers. ‘Window shopping’ is such a social activity that some of my friends have even included it into their weekend plans. While a large chunk of window shoppers pass by the display, a few of them enquire about the products and deals on offer, and still fewer might buy if they know the deal is good value for their money.
And, window shoppers often do their research by window shopping at all the local stores before they make the final purchase. With the increasing adoption of internet, most of these window shoppers now resort to online research. Referred to as ROPO (research online, purchase offline), they are now better equipped with smartphones and data connections. Even as ecommerce explodes, by 2020, 97% of the estimated retail sales of Rs 62,40,000 crore will still happen off line, reports Technopak.
Exploring this market opportunity is Bangalore-based startup, Comma Technology Services through its window shopping mobile app ‘Retale’. Founded by non-tech cofounders – Shreya Siroya and Aditya Sisodiya, Retale is a one-stop destination for window shopping at the top stores and brands in your location, while also earning rewards for social sharing.
Available for both Android and iOS, Retale has a one-time registration process where one can sign in through email or Facebook. One has to also verify their mobile number and set up the city location. The app currently supports window shopping only for Bangalore. For Bangalorites, you need to enable your GPS for the app to identify your exact location, so it could recommend stores near you.
Product search and discovery
While the home page welcomes you with featured offers, there are many ways to browse through. You can search in the search bar at the top or select the categories of your interest from ‘Men’s fashion’, Gadget add-ons’, ‘Desserts’, ‘Home & Garden’ and more. Alternately, you can tap on ‘Showcase’ and select a category to browse through the products in that category. ‘Expert’ throws up brand suggestions based on your interests and profile.
The big red button at the centre shows you the stores located nearby. Since I was in Pune, the app did not list any stores near me. Newsfeed, as the name suggests, tells you the activities of your friends and the brands you have followed. This will be populated once you follow brands and more of your friends use Retale. The app offers points for inviting your friends, which can be redeemed through the ‘Rewards’ button.
All product listings feature the store along with its phone numbers and map. Clicking on the ‘visit store’ takes you to the store’s brand page that showcases its products, updates and newsfeed. You can follow your favourite store to know the new arrivals and deal and also share on Facebook.
Your personal ‘Profile’ can be accessed to see your wishlist, calendar and brands you are ‘following’.
Should you go for Retale?
If you live in Bangalore and believe in window shopping, Retale might help you in discovering some good deals in your city. Moreover the incentives for using the app and sharing your finds along with the social layer, further adds to its appeal. However, the app could be further simplified to provide for a smooth user experience, in terms of navigation and menu options. (Also, I am yet to receive the mobile verification code).
Nevertheless, the app is addressing a very deserving local requirement with its quick search and product discovery, and also being a helping hand to offline stores. The challenges for Retale are quite many – from growing users on the platform to ensuring the store deals are updated with accurate information and prices. It makes good business sense to start up with Bangalore, gain decent traction and then probably move to other cities in phases.
Do give it a shot if you live in Bangalore, we would love to know your experience.