Blinkstore is a simple solution for creating and selling custom-designed products without managing production, inventory, or shipping. Free forever!
In this article, I talk about what is creator commerce, the state of e-commerce, what’s next in creator commerce, and what blinkstore is building to enable commerce for millions of creators in India.
When individuals (content creators, public figures) monetize their audience by selling various physical or digital goods it is called “Creator commerce”. Creator commerce has existed in different forms for decades. Public figures and celebrities make use of their personal brand to launch merchandise lines and products to sell them to their fans.
Because of the Internet, the rise of social media and e-commerce, more people got the opportunity to launch their businesses online and sell directly to fans/customers anywhere in the world. This empowers people to earn a living by doing what they love and supports many as an extra source of income. Now we’ve platforms like Shopify, Eqwid, and many others that make it easy for anyone to start their online store.
These platforms and new creators together birthed new niches of products, built the demand, and catered to it. In the last 5 years only, from 2017 to 2021, E-commerce has doubled and grown from $2.2 trillion to a $4.4 trillion industry (excluding the B2B).
Table Of Contents
E-commerce in India
Looking specifically at India, the market was $38.5 billion in 2017 and now it stands at $64 billion (2020). The expected growth by 2026 is $200 billion (in market size).
Currently, the shares of product categories in e-commerce (India) are:
- Electronics 48%,
- Apparels 29%, and
- Home and furnishing 9%.
The rest of the market share goes to beauty and personal care, baby products, books, and others.
Even a proportional growth in these product categories (that’ll eventually make up $84 billion in e-commerce in India in 2021), implies a huge rise in consumer demands. There are numerous factors that’ll contribute to this growth: smartphone adoption, Internet penetration, Internet literacy, and Bharat’s first products catering to the niches and specific needs of India’s population.
Rise of creator commerce
What’s the state of creators (influencers) in India?
India has ~100M Instagram users, the second-biggest market in the world by the share of users. By one statistic, 36% of Instagram accounts have 10k-100k followers. These millions of users who command a good following adopt various proven and new methods to monetize their audience. And features like the Instagram store, Instagram checkout, swipe-up links, and link in bio help them by reducing the friction between product discovery and buying.
Looking specifically at India, the rise of Meesho (social commerce platform) that primarily encourages and enables people to sell products to their friends and family through WhatsApp suggests people buying on WhatsApp. WhatsApp Business with its features like Cart, groups, and catalog is disrupting E-commerce slowly.
Another huge consumer platform is YouTube. YouTube has ~325 Million monthly active users in India. YouTube store, links in description and promotional videos are the features and methods that creators use to monetize their audience beyond YouTube’s monetization model. This has proven itself as a platform for discovery and is seamlessly supporting the creators in selling their products using YouTube Store on their channel.
YouTube, Instagram, and WhatsApp are the key consumer platforms that dominate in India. We are also seeing the rise of short-form video content and social media apps specifically designed for regional languages.
Enabling creators to do commerce with ease
The platforms like Meesho, Marsplay, and similar social commerce (dropshipping enablers) answer the question “What should I sell online? and Who fulfils it?”. These platforms operate as aggregators of drop-shippers without calling them drop-shippers. We do not label the users of these platforms as creators. But as online sellers.
Another segment of online sellers, who we call creators are people who design, make/craft, ideate, and create products that are unique to them. Products (digital or physical) that buyers cannot get from anywhere else. This segment is tech-savvy and knows how to make use of no-code tools and social media to sell online.
In the west, platforms like Redbubble and Teespring cater to this segment (both approach the solution differently). They are providing ease. Such platforms provide an interface to create (design and customize) products online, list them on store/marketplace, prints, and ships to the buyers. The creators of these products earn the margin they set. Unlike dropshipping, the products are unique and the buyers are buying them to support the creator or because they are interested in that niche.
First time online shoppers and super-niches
Coming back to the scope of creator commerce in India, a diverse country with thousands of super-niches and demands. The first time online shoppers start with gateway purchases, like electronics, home appliances, and clothes. These are the low ticket, high variety, offers, and exclusive online mobile sales. Also the years of efforts and market building by Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Paytm Mall, and various online marketplaces.
Potential to disrupt fashion, decor, and self-care
Super niches, unlimited varieties, and infinite possibilities exist in the fashion, decor, and self-care industry. Where individuals know the needs of people around them better than the biggest brands in the market. This industry also runs on the aspirational and aesthetic needs apart from the functional needs. Platforms that enable creator commerce with ease caters to the consumer needs that the market can’t meet.
Take the example of Zazzle. In the USA, you can customize, sell or order from hundreds of product categories in decor, fashion, and utilities. This is one domain where diversity, trends, and special taste/needs leads to super-niche of products.
Building Blinkstore with the focus on India
Blinkstore automates and runs your e-commerce business for you. This is how it works, you sign-up and set-up your store within seconds. Name your online store, pick a theme, and link your social media, Done! Your store is live.
Next, you select products you want to sell from the catalog and customize them as per the needs of your brand and buyers. Add these custom designed products to your store front and add your margin on the base price. You are ready to sell! Use your social media and influence to promote your products.
The moment someone makes a purchase, Blinkstore‘s tech will automatically prepare and ship the product. And the profit is yours. Read below to learn more about what makes blinkstore tech powerful:
Magic of Blinkstore Tech
The tech that powers blinkstore can also power print-on-demand for individuals, storefront management, and it can work for physical as well as digital products. The creators (sellers) can also host their store on custom domains for more personalization.
For print-on-demand powered stores, the tech manages printing, inventory, shipping, live order tracking, invoicing, withdrawals, and social integrations that are required to run an online store.
All businesses that run big-screen (laptops, desktops, ipads) first in the west need to adapt to mobile with ease in India. On blinkstore, customizing and creating products is as easy as making an Instagram post or putting up a status on WhatsApp. The store builder and dashboard for sellers works beautifully on mobile.
Social Selling / Social Commerce
Store creation not only happens on the web, but the blinkstore powered stores seamlessly integrate with WhatsApp Business, Facebook/Instagram store, and YouTube store.
Soon, the blinkstore tech will also support managing the storefront by chatting with our WahtsApp bot. Which can also be used to place order. The lessons learned by observing the journey of Meesho will definitely help us in integrating the right and easy social selling experience on Blinkstore.
One-click Checkout Links
The conventional journey to make a purchase is shortening. Buyers do not need to follow the conventional journey to make a purchase anymore. The one-click checkout links can consolidate all the data from the buyer’s side and complete the purchase experience in one step.
Join the early access waitlist on blinkstore.in. We’ll inform you as soon as the doors open for our first 100 creators. Write to us at [email protected] for any queries.
To join the Blinkstore team, check out the open positions on AngelList.
This blog was originally published on theXYZ’s Medium Publication.