Humans are social beasts and hence shopping is inherently social. While the online buying trend continues to grow, our tendency to find out what our friends intend to buy and what they have bought also grows. In today’s social times, quite a few startups are trying to solve the same i.e. bringing the social layer to online shopping making the experience an interesting and social one.
Delhi based startup Baggout is doing this via a portal and an Android app. The main objective of the startup is to make the online buying behavior process simple by adding a social layer for users, and for eCommerce portals it means more customers at their door steps.
Social curation on the Baggout mobile app
Baggout right now works with a Facebook login as the recommendation engine is built over Facebook using its APIs. However, it would be good if other social logins or a basic email login is provided too. I gave the mobile app a go; after the authentication was done I landed on a neat screen that is displayed to your right.
The home screen is divided into three major sections – Trending, Friends and Me. Trending, as the name goes, pulls up products that are being talked about. In other words in these sections you will get an idea on what to look for if you intend to buy something new.
Friends, by the name should be the feed that tells me about my friend’s activities. Right now the feature is showing me all my activities. I guess the startup needs to fix this and may be correct it to ‘My Feed’.
Me as the name hints is a snapshot of my profile - Number of Facebook friends that are using the app, products uploaded and the activities that I have performed.
Buying on the Baggout mobile app
While browsing products if you like anything, just tap on it and you will get the details of it. You can either like the product, leave a comment and even click on the Buy button if you wish to. On click of the buy option, you are taken to the website which actually is selling. So in other words selling operation is not taken care by Baggout. The screen grab at your right gives you a quick look of the product display screen.
The mobile app also has a Baggout drop down button on the top. On click, apart from the About and Logout feature, you can access the Categories feature too. So if you are interested in a certain category you can select the one and make it your default landing. Right now there are categories like – Women, Men, Book, Home, Gadgets, etc.
Other than the mobile app crashing quite frequently during my test, the mobile app has some features missing from the web version which is a much more stable platform. The Add Purchase option is missing from the mobile app that allows a user to add product along with details. I am sure the app will add this in the coming iterations.
Design and user experience
Right now the mobile app seems to be in its nascent stage. Though it curates items for you and has a simple mobile design, the experience is not smooth. As stated earlier, the app crashed several times while I was testing it.
Design wise it can do much better. Right now it has the bare minimum features but with these it is a very difficult choice for a user to make a buying decision. Buying books is fine but when it comes to clothing/accessories, a user would wish to have a better virtual feel. Moreover, when the selling operations are not being handled, the curation should be of products that are easily available or cater to a niche. Something that Bangalore based startup Wooplr is trying to do. The startup had recently tied up with virtual store fronts for small and medium businesses to connect with Wooplr users on their recommended products. It tied up with businesses like Avirate, boutique stores, home studios and flea market brands such as No Strings Attached and Cupcake Noggins.
Also, the payment option is not that great an experience, even though it is not being handled by the app. The product selling websites are not mobile responsive and hence can be a pain or might kill a user’s excitement to buy the product. Indirectly this could harm Baggout.
Other players in the market
Social discovery or curation is becoming a crowded space but if done in a smart way can be appealing. Right now there are players like Wooplr, Clipr, Klip, Blonkr, among others. While Wooplr is focussing on women products, Klip, the Mumbai based startup that started from wish listing, and is a social recommendation and commerce platform now wants to focus on the lifestyle market. At the same time Blonkr helps you in making purchase decisions with the help of friends whom you know or trust because of similar interests and knowledge.
I have been updated that Baggout is planning to introduce some more interesting features to get more traction. It would be interesting to hear from the Founders on the product road map and in the mean time you can also give Baggout a try.