Today’s world lives in a time where the term “yellow pages” is remembered more as a makeshift step stool than an information directory. But a startup in India swears the yellow pages are the future. “The biggest difference between this and a search engine is that it’s a product search rather than data search,” says Raghu Ravinutala, co-founder and CEO of Yellow Messenger, a chat-powered online marketplace. Yellow Messenger allows users to search for products and services based on location. The app customizes each user’s experience based on his or her search history. A chatting function, similar to that of Whatsapp, allows customers to talk to store partners. Raghu believes that bringing chat into ecommerce allows space for a little bit of personalization in an online world.
The idea for Yellow Messenger started simply – with a pair of shoes.“I ordered some shoes from Myntra and got them delivered,” Raghu said. “Two days later, I went to a local shop and I could see a version of those shoes at the same price at a shop that was nearby.” This is when he considered the idea of creating an app that found and compared products and services across multiple locations. The chatting function on the app was inspired by his mother, improving online access for the older generation. “We’ve giving the user the power to access millions of stores and brands from a single perspective,” says Raghu. The company officially launched in January 2014, about five months after Raghu’s shoe epiphany. While Yellow Messenger was designed with users like Raghu’s mother in mind, its main demographic is 18- to 34 year-old mobile internet users.
This is an excerpt from Tech in Asia. You can read the full article here.