With regard to the lifestyle and fashion segment, the irrefutable fact is that great consumer brands are built from establishing a tremendously passionate loyal base of customers, who love something fundamental about the product, something that is beyond simply “discounted prices”.
LimeRoad.com was the inception of an idea that came to me while reading a magazine after the birth of my second child in London. As I flipped through the pages, I found a piece of jewellery I really liked, and just wanted to touch it and buy it.
I realised two things at that point. There was—
- No consumer technology play that made discovery of lovely products easy and entertaining, just like reading a magazine, like flipping through photos in an album.
- There was also no place from which one could access the vast array of great products that was being manufactured and shipped out of South-East Asia, the world’s manufacturing hub.
It is this that led to the birth of LimeRoad.com, with the aim to create the most extensive lifestyle platform. I realised that the need to initiate a connect platform is vital, where consumers come because they get to discover great products at affordable prices. And this discovery is best led through social channels.
We built LimeRoad as India’s first social visual web platform with some of the highest engagement metrics on social platforms relative to all other web 1.0 ecommerce sites in India. We realised early on that social interaction is the best way to discover great stuff and this is tightly woven into the LimeRoad experience and hence the stickiness.
Social features are inbuilt into the product - tools for inherent creation of user generated content and direct selling incentives – scrapbook allows users to curate looks. We have also empowered scrapbookers to earn as users buy from their looks, therefore building in extremely strong direct selling incentives.
Through the scrapbook tool we’ve created a platform where our target audience is completely engaged, and what we end up with is a crowdsourcing forum for creating the biggest online discovery platform. Besides generating true community-led content, which most other brands are paying for, it is also generating community-led ‘freshness’ for the brand.
Built into the business model itself is the fact that increasingly a large part of the curation is done by the online customer community. As of today, LimeRoad boasts a high percentage of user generated content i.e., the scrapbooks looks curated by the community, which not only increases customer engagement with the brand but also stickiness.
The brand’s focus has been on organic community driven through scrapbooks, vendors and social platforms. Intrinsically, our products are more shareable, which is why LimeRoad becomes ‘social’. Unlike buying an electronic item or a standard pair of Nike shoes, the delight of discovering ‘gorgeous’ products on LimeRoad.com, makes one ‘want’ to share it with friends!
At the very basic level, social commerce means giving tools to users to share what they buy – if done well, this clearly also leads to a lower path to cost of customer acquisition.
Suchi Mukherjee is founder and CEO of LimeRoad.com