Updated: Sep 2, 2020
How this Indian start-up made entrepreneurs out of housewives through innovative distribution channels?
This social-commerce application Meri Shop aka Meesho enables small businesses to take their inventory online and sell through social channels is India’s first ever start-up to receive investment from Facebook.
Started in 2015 by IIT grads Vidit Aatrey & Sanjeev Barnwal, Meesho became India’s first alternate distribution channel providing opportunity for individual resellers to sell their products on social networks helping housewives, aspiring entrepreneurs to launch & promote their online business. Seeing this funding started to pour.
Branding & Differentiation
Meesho is a very innovative and interesting concept which creates local brands and focuses on content where local-influencers promote the brand to people they rarely know. The brand resonates reselling & organizes $700 B unorganized retail market. It has built trust through curated experience & better customer engagement.
Meesho creates a brand identity for local players where online giants are killing the middlemen. What stands out is that they have two million resellers, of which 80 % are women who are first time entrepreneurs.
It is a B2B2C model with a three-way marketplace connecting suppliers, resellers and the consumers. It enables resellers to share product images from e-commerce websites on social media where consumers order that product. After adding requisite margin above product & shipping charges, the reseller quotes the final price, after ordering the product reach the customers directly. Meesho gets its revenue through delivery charges.
The offerings include Logo branding services, community building through Meesho Business Academy and extensive customer support.
Though the model may not suit the tech-savvy individuals, there is a lot of traction and the app is growing at a rapid pace. To answer the question “why users won’t buy from E-commerce platforms?” is that Meesho uses impulse buying and peer selling to reach customers. Meesho has more than 2M sellers across 700 towns in India on its platform. It also provides distribution access to another 20,000 manufacturers through its platform. This is perhaps the reason why Meesho caught the attention of Facebook.
The start-up has raised $215.2M and is backed by Naspers, SAIF Partners, Sequoia and Shunwei Capital and has enough guts to venture into the FMCG distribution market. Hope it hits a gold there as well.