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From Interactions To Transactions, How Nasscom-Incubated Iamhere Is Enabling Social Commerce In Neighbourhood
As social media matured into social networks, some platforms connected friends together, some connected professionals together, some created a fanbase for creative artists.
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Social interactions have evolved in the digital world from talking to strangers on message boards to swiping and meeting them in real life. With the explosion of the internet in the early 90s, digital interactions have evolved from email and chats to blogs and social media.
During the same time, commercial transactions took a leap of faith and moved online. While websites with catalogues and payments started the transition, a revolution started with aggregation, with books in Seattle, cabs in San Francisco and groceries in Bangalore.
As social media matured into social networks, some platforms connected friends together, some connected professionals together, some created a fanbase for creative artists. Social networks also gave a platform for traditional brick and mortar businesses to establish their digital presence.
Soon, social networks started blurring the line between social interactions and electronic commerce. The era of film stars and sportspersons shaping our purchase decisions gave way to thousands of influencers marketing brands on their pages. The digital medium also meant that the advertisement can directly land into purchase actions tremendously increasing the efficiency of marketing spends.
As the team at IamHere started analysing the market gaps, they realized that the problem has gradually shifted from not being able to connect across the globe to not being able to connect
within neighbourhoods, within communities. Today, it is no longer about whether or not we can connect with someone in another country, it is just about what platform we choose from the plethora of options available. But within neighbourhoods, we still work with inefficient non-digital channels.
IamHere went about solving the neighbourhood social problem in two steps.
First, they built a strong location-first social network where neighbours can discover and connect with each other for common interests. With more than 300K users, the platform is now clocking more than 10K discoveries and interactions on the app every single day.
Second, they started working on a commerce model around the social network and are now rolling out a complete marketplace solution. This will enable local businesses and services to create their digital storefront on IamHere and enable transactions for their customers.
“As did celebrity-led marketing give way to influencer-led marketing in the last decade, we are seeing enough indicators that marketing is becoming community-led in this decade. This is why we wanted to build a social network for communities, starting from neighbourhoods so people and businesses can interact on an app as how they would do in the real world,” remarks Naren Kumar, Co-Founder & CEO of IamHere.
While one can continue to discover people nearby with common interests on the IamHere app, the latest upgrade to the platform will enable local businesses and service providers to promote, interact and sell to their customers in a friendly neighbourhood way.
“We already have home bakers, fitness coaches, pet walkers and anyone else you would need in the neighbourhood for products or services. And of course we have the neighbours. Our marketplace model will make the purchases easier. Some part of our marketplace will be sourced in-house while some of it will be from our collaboration partners” says Pooja Bhatia, Co-Founder & CPO.
At this moment, IamHere supports the linking of external purchase channels onto business profile pages and listings. In the next upgrade, businesses will be able to create their catalogues within the app itself.
In addition to the business marketplace, IamHere has further expanded its commerce model with events and jobs. If you are looking to host an event or hire someone locally, you can just post it on IamHere and be assured that the right audience will see it.
To keep the listings and transactions trustworthy, the platform supports ratings and reviews. Users can even flag businesses or their posts if they sense something amiss.
IamHere is certainly digitizing neighbourhoods and communities. While alternatives exist today, IamHere is clearly looking to disrupt the social commerce space through a hyperlocal community platform. Rightly so, their vision is to bridge the gap that exists between the virtual digital world and the real physical world. The platform has already won accolades from the Government of India and some leading media houses like Economic Times and AsiaOne. There are enough early indicators to feel that NASSCOM-incubated IamHere has set itself in the right direction.