This contributed column is authored by Deepak Jain, Co-Founder, Baggout
My story and that of my wife Anu’s is not a normal one even though we both have lived in a nondescript place called Trinagar in Western Delhi since childhood. I completed my MBA from IIM Ahmedabad after completing my Engineering from IIT Roorkee while Anu completed her Bachelors in Architecture from Manipal University. Both belong to traditional Jain families and got married after one meeting of 15 minutes. But, both of us knew that it was the right match within those 15 minutes. It is this kind of confidence in our gut feeling that allowed us to leave our cushy jobs to start a Fashion Portal – Baggout.com after we ourselves faced issues while buying fashion online.
We have been running the portal for over three years now and have gone through the ups and downs of business including raising an angel round from some marquee angels such as Sumit Jain (Ex CTO Jabong), Sumit Jain (CEO – CommonFloor) and Anurag Gupta (MD – DGM India) and not getting additional committed funding from a prominent Angel Network after the news of down-rounds started coming out in eCommerce.
But one thing that has happened through all this time is that our portal has kept on improving as we have gleaned strong insights on Indian Fashion eCommerce’s problems and solved them through proprietary technology. Our experiments on Baggout have resulted in driving 50,000+ orders to our partner retailers. We clearly understand that users need some great value proposition to buy online fashion at full price but most of Indian players have not been able to provide that and have resorted to deep discounting to acquire users. Innovation on product side is clearly lacking in the whole ecosystem.
We were perfectly happy in growing the company as it was but then our partner retailers started approaching us. These interactions with the retailers and close understanding of their pain points helped us understand that we can easily help fashion brands in driving traffic to their website and improve conversions through smart recommendations powered by proprietary algorithms.
Our product till date is creating a look for every product in retailer’s inventory which is a first in India and is already being piloted with two of the largest Fashion Brands in India. However, we feel that the biggest problem faced by offline fashion brands when they come online is that they are not able to drive visibility. Our company helps these brands in driving both Search and Social Traffic through their Automated algorithms. The best thing about these methodologies is that it’s all automated and has passed the test of time on Baggout (driving 500K Monthly visits).
We feel that there is a lot of innovation needed before there is a mass adoption of online fashion buying in India. It will take a number of companies like ours to create the right ecosystem which would enable online fashion to become mainstream. The offline brands are not capable of developing these breakthrough technologies and would need an outside help for scaling up their business online. It is still early days of Indian Online Fashion industry and the funding plug has indeed made the companies to look inside and see the kind of innovations that we are driving rather than just throwing money to acquire users.