The social commerce model of business has become rapidly popular among Indian consumers in recent times. Particularly, with the rise of influencer marketing and the creator's economy, social commerce has become an important model of business for the online ecosystem.
However, because it’s a new segment, businesses are still figuring out the right strategies to gain consumers and retain the same. Social marketplace platform Stage3 has been successfully acing in the particular segment with currently witnessing 200 percent YoY growth and a 30 percent increase in social media followers in just a year.
“Stage3 operates on a unique blend of fashion and technology to build a robust social commerce ecosystem that facilitates an immersive shopping experience. We cater to the needs of GenZ and millennials looking for unique, stylish, affordable options,” said Sanchit Baweja, Co-Founder, Stage3.
The brand's content-driven approach creates a seamless segment engagement between buyers, sellers, and end customers, making the entire shopping experience enjoyable and less wasteful. “Our primary USP is to offer highly curated, one-of-a-kind inventory that facilitates discovery-led, engaging shopping experiences. It is filled with exclusive styles from celebrities, influencers, and brands," Baweja further stated.
The massive transition to online platforms and rapidly increasing social media penetration in recent times are in fact the two significant trends that have significantly helped the brand's growth.
Founded in 2017 and the social commerce marketplace was launched in 2021, the company’s intention was to cater to the fashion needs and preferences of millennials and Gen Z consumers by harnessing the power of a decisive fashion and technology ecosystem. The brand believes that the most significant gap that Stage3 is bridging is the broken, incomplete shopping experience of traditional e-commerce platforms.
Current Market View
India can have 228 million native social commerce consumers by the end of 2022, a 45 percent jump from the current user base, as shoppers discover newer ways of buying goods online such as through YouTube, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram, according to a report by Recogn.
This growth is also aided by a boom in the creator economy in India and consequently, brands are further fueling it by enabling them and setting up their digital storefronts seamlessly through its platform.
In order to maintain traction in the social commerce ecosystem, Stage3 leverages AI and ML, and a lot of its core tech operations are based on Java. The brand also added key functionalities based on ML to provide a better customer experience.
Focus On Influencer Marketing
Baweja shared: “We also deliver specially curated and hyper-personalized style directly from fashion influencers, and allow brands/ boutiques to engage with our community of influencers. Besides, our influencer-based business model is straightforward; providing a discovery-led shopping experience, Stage3 capitalizes on our closely built influencer's network, while influencers can promote/ sell products of emerging homegrown D2C brands.”
Additionally, the company has worked in collaborations with Bhoot Police, a 2021-Bollywood film by TIPS and 12th Street Entertainment featuring celebrities like Jacqueline Fernandez, Yami Gautam, Saif Ali Khan, and Arjun Kapoor, which has proved nothing short of a boon for customers, the company stated. Stage3 also offers consumers exclusive access to top trends and coveted styles from celebrities.
“Our long-standing relationship with Bollywood, production houses, and other key players in the fashion industry is coming to fruition. We are leveraging these connections to offer the latest fashion ensemble to our customers,” Baweja added.
Currently, the company is backed by several marquee investors and advisors that include Anaita Adjania Shroff, Fashion Director, Vogue Magazine; Prof. Balaji Prabhakar, Prof of Computer Science at Stanford University, and Prof. Ananth Raman, Professor of Supply Chain and Logistics at Harvard Business School. In addition, in the first round of raising institutional capital, the company was backed by Blume Ventures, which helped us gain momentum and strengthen our core business model.
It also raised Rs 20 crore in a funding round co-led by Inflection Point Ventures and LC Nueva Investment Partners LLP, along with Let's Venture and Stanford Angels.
The company is currently working to further bolster its AI expertise further to support the supply chain process and fortify our existing infrastructure for quality assurances. Also, it is looking at exploring the video commerce segment, and given the rapid traction that it is gaining, the brand believes that it will be an ideal space for us to capitalize on.
Besides this, it is also aiming to add Beauty as a separate category soon, the company added.
“We are now focusing on building the next-generation fashion commerce ecosystem with the key elements hyper-personalized, influencer-led, and social,” Baweja concluded.