Technology has potential to impact common lives and any industry: Deepak Jain, Baggout
I have always been intrigued by Technology and its potential to impact common lives and big companies alike. Having seen it disrupt Big Hedge Funds and conventional Education companies while working at DE Shaw and IREO respectively; I was always convinced that Technology can impact any and every industry.
Around 2013, e-commerce in India started growing and everyone was going gaga about it. In fact, a few of my friends were either working in such startups or were launching their own. It was during that time that I and my wife Anu (after she was frustrated by the online fashion buying experience) decided to launch Baggout.
We believe that Fashion as an industry is still to be disrupted by technology. There is a huge difference between Online and Offline Fashion Shopping Experience. Our aim is to bridge that through technology and make Online Fashion Shopping appealing to users without the aid of discounts.
There are two areas where Technology has the potential to create disruption in fashion – One is on Consumer side wherein the User Experience can be elevated using technology and the other is on the supplier side wherein Technology can be used to help them manufacture and manage their inventory better. We focus on creating technology to improve the user experience.
We launched our venture in 2013 and went live with the website during that year. The idea was to generate sales for Fashion companies by providing a great user experience and we launched Baggout.com which works as an affiliate website redirecting traffic to partner sites where the transaction is completed. We felt that the two biggest problems in User Experience are 1) Lack of Personalization 2) Missing Curation. Both these factors, lead to a catalog like experience which is fine for categories like Mobile Phones but it simply couldn’t work for a high-involvement category like Fashion. We faced a number of issues in the starting months such as attracting users but slowly we learnt the ropes. We bootstrapped our venture for over two years before raising our first round of capital from some well known Angel Investors in 2016.
We run the B2C portal which acts as a Personal Stylist for Women and works on handpicked inventory from 100+ partner retailers. The differentiation lies in our capabilities to handle millions of SKUs and coming up with a handpicked feed of best products. The experience is powered by some sophisticated underlying technology –
- Metadata Creation – This forms the foundation on which everything else works. This is a rather complex field comprising Text Recognition and Image recognition complementing each other in perfect unison. Herein, the systems tag simple attributes like Type, Color and Brand and some rather complex attributes such as Style Sensibility and Bodyshape to every product.
- Recommendations – We have Automated Intelligent recommendations for users based on user profiles and the product being browsed.
- Buy the Look – Fashion buying especially in “Women segment” happens on the basis of Looks. Currently, looks are created manually. We have created technology which mimics expert stylists and creates “second to none” looks for every product in the Inventory.
- Selling through Inspirational Content – Fashion is not a “Need” but is a “Want” so inspiration plays a big role. We have a scaled content system wherein products get plugged automatically based on context.
How Fashion Industry is Embracing us
Our product is being embraced by customers as well as brands. Till date, we have driven over 50,000 orders for our partner retailers. On B2B side of the business, we are currently working with some large fashion brands to help improve their conversions and are helping a number of brands in generating traffic and visibility.
Fashion e-commerce in India is expected to grow to 30-40 Billion USD by 2020; however, it hinges largely on creating technology to provide a great user experience. Also, with the GMV monster thrown out of the window by investors and entrepreneurs alike; it is time for fashion brands to embrace technology and create value for the customers. It can mean investing more on technology in-house or in collaborating with companies which have solved these complex problems. Dodging technology on the fire-power of money has stopped working for now.
We hope to fill in some pieces to this jigsaw puzzle and help create a profitable online sales channel for fashion brands.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the publication