No billion-dollar baby: Why social, video and reseller commerce players are changing course

No billion-dollar baby: Why social, video and reseller commerce players are changing course

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Aditi Shrivastava

104 reads
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Aditi Shrivastava

104 reads

Five years ago, founders bet that the next billion new-to-internet users would get accustomed to a community and social form of commerce. But with consolidation and pivots in the space, it’s clear that standalone plays may not see a billion-dollar outcome

May 16, 2022

11 Min Read

In 2017, after spending a couple of years aggregating offline shops, Meesho decided to become a platform for homemakers to browse catalogues and “resell” products to their circles. The startup, founded by Vidit Aatrey and Sanjeev Barnwal, cashed in on that opportunity and broke out in 2021 as undisputedly the largest reseller platform.

Bulbul Shop, a video-commerce platform founded by Sachin Bhatia and Atit Jain in 2018, was on a tear. In July 2020, it raised $8.7 million from Info Edge, and was clocking 100,000 transactions every month by the end of December 2021.

In 2017-18, the idea of creating an alternative to Amazon and Flipkart sounded like a real opportunity. Meesho, Bulbul Shop, and a few others like them, hoped to make it big by building social commerce, reseller and video commerce platforms. They were targeting millions of users who were new to the internet. By combining online commerce with social communities, their consumers found shopping more fun and engaging. In some instances, they even felt it was more trustworthy and cheaper compared to other e-commerce websites and offline stores.

Collectively, the companies managed to raise over $800 million from various investors, including Sequoia Capital, Accel and Fosun. The future looked bright. Last year, Redseer, a consulting group, pegged social commerce as a $7-billion opportunity by 2025.

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