#inspiringstories@Awfis: Bringing the essence of India closer to you - ShopHop

Inspiring Stories

29 July 2016

#inspiringstories@Awfis: Bringing the essence of India closer to you - ShopHop

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

#inspiringstories@Awfis is an initiative by Awfis Editorial Team to showcase the brilliant business ideas and the journey of our startup member community.

The smell of the fresh mango chutney, the crisp green beans, those bright bell peppers, and the aroma of the organic tea are just few of the things that make your mouth water. We live in a world where organic, fresh and homegrown foods sound like a fairytale.

It is amidst this, that ShopHop brings its USP. ShopHop is a curated marketplace of the finest natural, artisanal and homegrown brands from across India. They pride themselves in sourcing the most innovative brands from homes, kitchens, farms and markets across the country and in showcasing these brands to consumers. At the heart of their mission is the desire to build a new community centered on food and wellness. They are providing budding artisans and food entrepreneurs across the country with a holistic platform to showcase their talents and products and their customers with an entirely new discovery based experience.

ShopHop was founded by a small, yet an ambitious team comprising of Anirban Poddar, Dhruv Jhaveri, Amer Ahmad and Pramod Kokare. Anirban is the Founder & brainchild behind ShopHop. Dhruv handles partnerships and business development. Amer looks after operations and business strategy while Pramod is the in-house SEO expert.

ShopHop-Team-blog-image
Team ShopHop

It was in the fall semester of 2012 when Anirban Poddar took some time off from Columbia and was taken up by how large and fragmented the unorganized retail market in India was. Anirban says, “We tried to bring 15-20 of the most popular local stores in South Mumbai online and helped them digitize their operations while opening them up to the entire Indian market through our portal. That said – this was more of a pet project that I looked at on weekends and in my spare time without the constant attention and focus that it deserved.”

When he returned in July 2015, they decided to pivot the model with hyper local, proving to be a very thin margin business with heavy dependence on logistics infrastructure. As a frequent visitor of farmer’s markets and food exhibitions, Anirban noticed a huge untapped market for food entrepreneurs. Many of these individuals and hobbyists were making incredible food items but lacked the platform and branding/business know-how to build sustainable businesses from their talents. They realized that the industry needed help, and thus they began an online community that was as immersive as the farmers’ market experiences.

Building the food entrepreneurs’ network required a lot of research and sourcing at farmers’ markets and exhibitions. They connected and built a whole network of food entrepreneurs who further helped them with vendors.  Various food entrepreneurs also contacted them and got in touch directly with Shop Hop.

ShopHop mainly looks for brands that are either natural or artisanal. All their products are organic, sustain-ably produced, or made entirely of natural ingredients with no artificial additives or preservatives often found in mass-produced brands. Their products are handpicked by ShopHop’s sourcing team and offer funky twists on traditional recipes, span across an array of ethnic foods or are made with unique (even patented!) methods of production. Not only does it have to be of top quality, but it should also have an interesting story that people can believe in.

Being an entrepreneur at 23 comes with a host of challenges that require a lot of rapid learning. That said, two of the major challenges directly associated with ShopHop have been awareness and logistics.

Anirban says, “It takes time to educate customers about unique and innovative new food brands and why they make for a greater purchase decision.  They are in some ways changing behaviors here and that takes investment and time.” He adds, “The second but greater hassle has definitely been logistics and deliveries. This is a major operational challenge across the country and after several months of attempting to fulfill this on our own we decided to outsource logistics to a third party provider. However, we continue to handle pick-ups to ensure quality control and oversight and this comes with a number of its own challenges.”

With a vision to become the go-to platform for food entrepreneurs to build sustainable growth, PAN-India brands and for customers to discover the most exciting and innovative packaged food products, Anirban believes that there is a greater design and everything happens for a reason.  The goal to reach 300 brands in Mumbai by mid-2017 and a target of 120 crore GMV by December 2017 shows that ShopHop is the one to look out for!

We think that Anirban’s entrepreneurial journey is motivational and we are proud to have such inspiring stories building in our centres!

This is an inspiration to all of us to start our dream venture by taking a single step. Take your first step by hiring a co-working office space Churchgate, Mumbai or Connaught Place, New Delhi and write your success story here.

This story is based on the interview of Mr. Anirban Poddar, Founder – Shop Hop by Awfis Editorial Team.

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5 digital trends to watch out for in 2019

Inspiring Stories

06 December 2018

5 digital trends to watch out for in 2019

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The pace at which the advertising world is changing, it is nearly impossible to keep up with trends. Tech companies are bringing out new innovations rapidly, completely disrupting the way marketing is done today. By the time you feel like you’ve got the hang of one innovation, there are 10 new ones to grasp. It’s like a mythological, multi-headed monster, only in a good way. Maybe.

Perhaps 2018 went by too quickly, but you still have 2019. Use the next few weeks to plan your strategy for the coming year keeping in mind some of the trends that are showing promise. Here are the top 5 trends we suggest you watch out for in 2019.

#1 Authenticity, at all times

Let’s face it; customers distrust advertising. And they can smell dishonesty from miles away. It is therefore critical for brands to be authentic today.

People would rather trust humans than brands. Which is why influencer marketing has been riding high for so long. Customers will ignore an ad, even be blind to it, but authentic content, generated by a real fellow customer, will grab attention immediately.

Encourage your customers to share their experiences with your brands. (And this includes positive and negative experiences.) Other customers are more likely than ever to believe that content created by a user is more authentic than one created by the same brand.

Look at what GoPro has managed so beautifully. There are nearly 5000 videos posted online every day with the GoPro hashtag – from skydiving and cliff diving to wildlife videos and eco-friendly initiatives. While their competitors talk about product features, GoPro talks about human emotions like passion, inspiration and awe. It’s all User Generated Content which has found a spot in their customers’ hearts and wallets too.

#2 Voice search is getting popular

Did you know that nearly one third of the world’s 3.5 billion Google searches daily are voice searches?

And that personal assistant devices are leading the way?

As Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant get better at recognizing human speech, they are exhibiting their potential to improve searching for information on the Web. How is this related to marketing?

Let us show you.

A voice search is quite different from a typical desktop or mobile search. When you ‘Google’ on your browser, you get hundreds of pages of search results. And being one of them is really a piece of cake now, pure hygiene, in fact.

Things get really interesting when you ask Siri a question: the results are few; often just one. And if that result is you, then the chances of CTR go through the roof. It is estimated that by 2020, nearly half of all search queries will be voice-based. But it requires work. You need to customise your SEO strategy to include voice search. And this is why you need to start planning for 2019 right now.

#3 Visual search is not far behind

It’s not just voice search that’s rising; it’s got competition.

While several big businesses have been focusing their marketing strategy on conversational queries, others, like Google, Pinterest and Microsoft have been quietly working on developing a stronger competitor in interactive SEO – visual search.

But how does this really work? You could say it’s like a search in reverse. Instead of typing your search query, you just point your phone’s camera at an object to get back text-based information.

What visual search does is that it identifies objects in the image and then searches for related images online. Say you point your phone at your bed. Visual search will give you back information about where you can shop for a similar piece of furniture.

Incredible, isn’t it? This technology is still in the developmental stage as there is a lot of machine learning yet to be done. But it is definitely something that you must keep an eye on.

#4 Have you heard of Micro-Moment marketing?

Despite consumers spending 3-3.5 hours on their smartphones every day, brands are having a tough time getting their attention. Blame it on the overabundance of information today – ads, content, emails, offers, push notifications and the rest. And it never switches off.

Maybe it’s time for micro-moment marketing to step in. What’s that, you might wonder.

Micro-moment is a new type of consumer behavior which usually occurs when a person turns to a smartphone to want to know something or to buy something. Some typical micro-moments are I-want-to-know-something-moment, I-want-to-go-somewhere-moment, I-want-to-do-something-moment or I-want-to-buy-something-moment. It seems users (that’s us) experience ‘micro-moments’ no less than 150 times a day! That’s an opportunity waiting to be tapped.

These are moments when people make snap decisions on what to buy, which restaurant to go to, where to go, etc. which gives a brand few precious seconds to get their attention. Micro-moments are successful when (if) they can offer the consumer the right information right when she needs it.

#5 Not just social media, but re-purposed social media

Man is a social animal, which is why there are 3.196 billion of us worldwide, that’s 3.196 billion global social media users! Social media cannot be ignored; it is a basic marketing requirement.

The most popular social media trends today are video, automation, and influencers. But they do not operate in silos; they should not operate in silos. You cannot afford to be the leader on Facebook but ignore YouTube, or vice versa. The key to success is not just social media content, but re-purposed social media content across multiple, relevant platforms.

Conclusion

Marketing trends will come and go, no doubt about that. Some will make a resounding impact, and some will fade away. It is up to you to know when to take notice of a sticky trend, and then to quickly, adapt.

What Steve Jobs Taught Us About Making Stunning Presentations

Business How To’s

15 November 2018

What Steve Jobs Taught Us About Making Stunning Presentations

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

Who doesn’t love a good story? A well-delivered narration has the power to keep us enthralled and to inspire us long after the mesmerising session is over.

At some point in our lives we’ve all been witness to talented speakers who have perfected the art of storytelling. And yet no one can really stake claim to the spot that was once occupied by Steve Jobs. One of the world’s greatest corporate storytellers, he has inspired hundreds of thousands of viewers with his spellbinding presentations.

We need more leaders like him, especially when companies are required to launch new variations of their existing products frequently. How can they create a need in an already saturated market?

By inspiring the world; by learning to wow our audiences like Jobs did. (And no, this does not mean imitating his dressing style, although it might help.) This article has handpicked presentation techniques from Steve Jobs’ iPhone launch alone. If you too wish to inspire, entertain and inform your audience, read on:

Express your passion

Steve Jobs was passionate about design. (Anybody who has ever held an Apple device, and there aren’t many who haven’t, knows that.) And his audience saw it too. He came on stage, at the iPhone launch, with a large smile on his face, immediately impressing his audience with his eagerness.

Don’t be afraid of your enthusiasm. If you are excited, your audience will catch on to it and project the same excitement back at you. If you are not passionate about your idea, why would anybody else be?

A twitter-friendly headline

Try the technique that Jobs perfected; create a one-sentence summary of your main message. And use that in every possible place, in every possible way when you talk about your product or idea. When he revealed the first iPhone, Jobs told the audience that ‘Apple will reinvent the phone.’ The same line was carried across news articles and blogs that covered the launch event. The search for this phrase turns up 25,000 links even today.

The rule of three

Time stamp: 1:49 – 2:42

If you observe Jobs’ presentations, you will notice his preference for the number ‘3’. You can see this in his iPhone presentation. Divided into three sections, it even seemed to speak of three different products: a widescreen iPod with touch controls, a revolutionary mobile phone, and lastly a breakthrough Internet communications device. And then he revealed that it wasn’t three, but one product.

You’d agree that a list of 3 things is far more captivating than a list of 2, and most certainly easier to remember than one of 20!

Is there a villain?

We all love a villain, especially one that is going to be vanquished. Highlight a problem, and then offer a solution.

Steve Jobs’ presentation in 2007 did just that. How do you create the need for another mobile phone, that too from Apple? Jobs did that by introducing a problem of smartphones that are tough to use. The solution was the iPhone – simpler, smarter than any mobile device till date.

And then bring in the hero

Don’t just sell your product or idea; sell the benefit, your hero. How does the hero make life better for your audience?

The iPhone introduced the revolutionary multi-touch user interface. You didn’t need a stylus, and it was far more accurate and intuitive than anything that had been seen before.

Simple visual slides

Steve Jobs’ iPhone presentation used all of 21 words across 12 slides and that was in the first three minutes of the presentation. Remember, your PowerPoint presentation is just the trigger; you are the actual presentation.

Tell a story

Build up to the actual event. Entertain your audience with a short anecdote. Use it to relax them and make them more receptive to your final big idea. Tell them a story. It could be a personal incident, a customer moment or even a brand story. This will help move things along effortlessly.

Practise. Practise. Practise.

Many people believe that they can never be as smooth as Steve Jobs. Well, guess what! Steve himself wasn’t as smooth. He would spend hours upon hours practicing and rehearsing on stage so that he would appear polished and effortless on the final day. He knew every tiny detail of his iPhone presentation which is what made it flawless.

Do not read from notes

And when you practise relentlessly, you don’t need notes or a teleprompter. The iPhone launch lasted around 80 minutes; not once did Steve Jobs break contact with the audience to look at any cards. The presentation is an actual conversation with your audience, and it is this connection that makes an impact.

Inspire your audience

Leave your audience with an inspiring thought at the end of the presentation. And tie it back to the ethos at your company. At the end of his iPhone presentation, Jobs said, “I didn’t sleep a wink last night. I’ve been so excited about today… There’s an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ We’ve always tried to do that at Apple since the very, very beginning. And we always will.”

 

Lastly, have fun!

Don’t take yourself too seriously. When you have fun, your audience relaxes and is more receptive to your ideas. Create fun moments in the presentation, and you will be more memorable. You don’t need to conduct stand-up comedy, but an occasional joke never hurt anyone.

Every presentation is an opportunity to make a stronger connection with your audience. It does require planning, time and some amount of creativity, but the payoff is totally worth the effort.

Uber’s Flying Taxis – are you ready to fly to work?

Inspiring Stories

01 November 2018

Uber’s Flying Taxis – are you ready to fly to work?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

 

In ‘Back to the Future Part II’ when Marty McFly is sent 30 years into the future, he arrives at a time when people ride hover-boards to zip around, they wear self-lacing shoes and flying cars are everywhere.

The date in the movie? October 21, 2015.

Cut to the present, and we’re just three years behind schedule. And like an advertisement in the movie says, ‘now you don’t have to worry about traffic’. 

Worsening traffic conditions, the world over

Do you know that peak hour traffic in major Indian cities almost doubles the amount of time spent travelling, especially on the more popular routes? It is no thanks to these conditions that India holds the dubious distinction of being the most traffic-afflicted city in Asia. But misery seeks company, and you will find solace in knowing that this is not just the terrible truth of our lives in India; other countries, including the United States of America, fare no better.

Is this to be our fate, forever? Is this the price for wanting to live and work in some of the more bustling cities in the world?

Perhaps not; not if Uber had its way. If you’ve been following the news over the last few months you must have come across Uber’s Flying Taxis. And India has been selected as one of the 5 countries that Uber plans to test-launch its Flying Taxis.

The future is already here

Yes, flying cabs will no longer be restricted to sci-fi films. The day isn’t far when you will be able to book a cab and see your ride come flying down from the skies instead of from down the road.

Besides the US, Uber Elevate – as the program is called – will bring these flying taxis to India, Japan, Australia, Brazil and France.

Uber Elevate will rise above traffic congestion, literally, and a commute that now takes a few hours will be completed in a matter of minutes. It promises to be an innovative transportation solution that will ease traffic instead of adding to it.

Currently the plan is undergoing a feasibility study, and if all goes well, Indian cities of Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru will see the pilot project in about 5 years.

Uber isn’t doing this all alone. The company has already partnered with Audi to develop flying cars, and it is also in the process of joining forces with several automakers, real estate developers and technology giants to turn this plan into reality.

How will it work?

Once in place, customers will be able to push a button and get a flight on demand. The initial fares are projected at Rs 200 for a kilometer, but those could very quickly fall to as low as Rs 50 a kilometer.

The taxi concept is purely electric, and each cab will be able to seat 4 people, besides the pilot, all in one file in a cylindrical body with large windows. You need the view, however short the ride, right?

The flying taxis will take off from sky ports built on top of high rises which will also function as taxi stations. The taxi will cruise between 150 to 200 miles an hour, at a flying height of 2000 ft. The cab will be able to cover 60 miles (about 96 kilometers) in one charge, and the technology is such that it will take just a little over 5 minutes to top up the batteries between flights.

Before you take off

However, and yes, there is a however, there are challenges to be overcome before this dream takes off in India.

For starters, this isn’t yet a mass market idea. The initial target will be high-income people. Yes, Uber will eventually introduce off-peak time to encourage greater consumer adoption, but that is still a long way off.

Then there are infrastructural issues. Since the concept is entirely electrical, India will need to up the ante on its electrical grid structures and capabilities in offering battery-charging stations. There is also the rather large need for building sky ports, a herculean task indeed.

And finally, even after landing at a port, commuters will still need to find transport that will connect them to their destination. India’s severely challenged public transport system will need a complete makeover to match up to this project.

Conclusion

Uber has a selection criteria and India meets the requirements on all counts: sizeable market, local commitment and enabling conditions. It is, therefore, simply a matter of time before India’s traffic problems, at least in the larger cities, could soon be a thing of the past.