We're Experimenting With ‘Engineering As Marketing’ Method: Mithun Adith, SpotKwik
In an interview with BW Disrupt, Mithun Adith, Chasing Extraordinary Opportunities (CEO), SpotKwik - a Silicon Valley Funded & NASSCOM Incubated Startup, talks about company's key points, competition and more
Brief us about your business model like how did the idea came to start and how does it work?
Almost a year ago, at a bachelorette party, one of my friends was very disappointed because the shoes that she had ordered online didn’t fit her. We had to run to the physical store to buy the right pair at the eleventh hour. This incident got me thinking that there are so many people out there spending so much time on purchase decisions when they could spend their valuable time with friends and family. Even after so much effort, most of the time, we end up choosing the wrong products. Online shopping isn't so much fun after all. That is when we decided to do something so that all my friends and family out there can spot the right product quickly.
How does it work?
Discover the products you love
Try before you buy using our Augmented reality filters to find the size and fit
You can share the filter with your friends., family or validated expert reviewers using our in-built messaging system
You can take an informed buying decision.
What are the unique key points of your company?
People seek validation in Social media, go through reviews, reach out to influencer videos/tutorials on YouTube. The solutions are scattered across several platforms. Yet, the uncertainty is undeniable in online shopping. That is where, SpotKwik’s unique approach of Augmented reality experience combined with trusted endorsement from influencers, friends and family gives a whole new dimension to online shopping. It’s a step into a future where social media, influencers, Augmented reality technology and e-commerce becomes forever entwined.
Also, the early funds from Silicon Valley Investors and a strong team with a proven work record give us an edge over others in the market.
How are you different from the existing competitors?
We do not have any direct competition yet. We brace ourselves as a ‘first-to-the-market’ product. Nevertheless, we have big sharks like Amazon, Flipkart who own major e-commerce market share and other community selling platforms like Meesho and Trell as our indirect competitors. In any other store, people have to take a guess on how the product looks on them and they have to make the purchase decision with the help of ‘Reviews’. They are mostly implanted and not very reliable as the reviewers are strangers. We bring the whole trial room experience to the small device in your palm through our AR filters. We help people connect with expert opinion leaders aka ‘Friendfleuncers’ and with their friends and family to get reliable and amazing suggestions. Without Spotkwik, there’s a huge chance of ending up disappointed. Also, where is the fun in shopping all alone?
What is the funding status and monetization model?
We have raised a seed fund from Silicon Valley Investors, MARL 5G Accelerator - next-gen DeepTech startups Accelerator. We are a Community-Selling Augmented Reality Shopping Platform. Our community of Friendfluencers (invite-only expert reviewers) and merchants share their products on SpotKwik, which can be virtually experienced with our AR technology. Every time, when a purchase is made, we get a flat commission out of it. It’s more of a pay per sale model. We have partnered with some of the top online stores in India, as well as with a couple of local vendors across Bangalore.
What challenges are you facing in running your business?
Anusha and I have had many challenges throughout this journey. One such challenge is to find and build the right team. In the initial stages, the company didn’t have sufficient capital to fund a team to help us turn the idea into a go-to-market product. We inspired 5 people by selling them why we are doing this and what we are solving. This gave them all a great kick and they started giving their blood, sweat and tears.
How has been the people's response so far?
Just after our early launch into the market in January 2020, we have grown into a community of 6000+ shoppers and it's still growing. Every day, more than 500 recommendations are happening among our users. Our platform has become the latest go-to destination for influencers across India. They provide authentic recommendations from categories like Fashion, Travel, lifestyle, clothing, and books.
What are the traction details (like users, app downloads & other achievements of the company)?
Raised seed funding from Silicon Valley Investors
Recognised in the list of ' TimesNext Super30 Startups' in India.
Out of the 280+ applications received, we got Selected at IIM-B's Launchpad as one among the 31 ventures.
Incubated at NASSCOM 10000 Startups Virtual Incubation.
Our Product traction since Jan 2020 - 6500+ Registered users, 200+ Content Creators, and AR in beta with 1000+ beta users.
How do you look at expansion?
We have a strong vision to bring the ‘virtual trial room experience’ to the tier II and tier III cities in India and empower them to shop from home. We want them to make informed purchase decisions with the help of immediate opinions from friends, family and expert reviewers. For the next 2 quarters, we will make a strong foothold in those unserved 200Mn Indian users. We also aim to start serving in the west by July 2021.
What are your marketing plans?
We are really bored with the orthodox marketing activities and we strictly say no to the traditional way of acquiring users. We inculcate the unique Traction-thinking mindset, right from product development to distribution. We have our proprietary growth channels within our product, like influencer marketing, which acts as a primary source of user acquisition. Also, we are experimenting with the ‘Engineering as Marketing’ Method that was born out of our own Traction Lab to fasten up the growth.
What has been the biggest learning’s so far?
Right from the inception, we want to know everything about our potential customers. We believe the more we understand our target audience, the better we serve for them. Hence, we have an efficient feedback system and the most important learnings from our audience so far is: As a brand owner or marketer, you know what makes your product any different from others on the market, and you’re ready to list its features and benefits, run ads, and show it off with great product shots. But this is really NOT ENOUGH for your customer to buy from you. In fact, people want to know about other customers’ experiences, and they specifically search for any bad experiences with your product and they want to be so sure that this is worth their penny, before making a purchase. It’s really important for any brand/store/platform to incorporate ‘Social Proof’ into their product.
What is the market size and opportunity?
It is an incredibly large opportunity. I believe that it's going to one of the next hot areas. Today, young consumers use social media as a vehicle for product discovery and inspiration. In fact, around 63% of millennials and Gen Z get instant gratification and the product recommendations from peers and relatable people via social channels. Intertwining Social, e-commerce, video, AR and influencer marketing all in one place is the bold step towards the future of shopping and it creates a strong emotional connection between brands and shoppers. These changing preferences in new-age shoppers along with the Atma nirbhar vision from the Indian government and the computational advancements in mobile phones gives us the prime time to serve the 1.2 Billion user base without any hassle.
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