ShopLyne Is About More Than Just Delivery!
By Deepak Dhingra
When we first began working on ShopLyne in early 2014, hyperlocal shopping was said to have arrived in the form of grocery delivery apps. Quick on their heels were other on-demand delivery startups and big e-commerce retailers had started taking steps to strengthen last mile delivery.
Meanwhile, we were including features on our app that was pushing our launch date further and further away. Some might have thought we had missed the bus. But then again, it was a bus we had no intention of boarding. These were not local shopping apps. These were, by their own admission, delivery services. They were simply picking up something from a nearby business and delivering it to their users. And to ensure speediness of their deliveries, they’ve actually limited a user’s shopping experience by only displaying stores in the user’s stated delivery location and by sticking to very limited product categories.
On ShopLyne, we make it possible for users to shop at any location in the city and in stores across all kinds of categories, from beauty & makeup to home decor to gadget accessories to sports & fitness to stationery. While our average delivery time is still under two hours, we’ve exponentially expanded the user’s choice of products and stores.
Over the last few months, as we’ve kept developing the app and talking to our network of sellers and customers, we as a team have come to a clearer understanding of what ShopLyne really is.
ShopLyne is a local shopping experience
ShopLyne is not just a product and/or a service, it’s a retail experience. Users can browse through curated lists of the best offers and discounts on the biggest of brands, available at their local stores. Our flexible search functionality and Invite Store feature brings an element of personalization to the app, although this is just the beginning. We also give our users the option to turn their mobile shopping experience into an offline one whenever they want. They can call up the seller directly for queries and even choose to pick up their order from the store.
Because ShopLyne encourages human-to-human contact, we’ve been able to make the shopping experience on the app flexible like never before. For example, a user can request a seller to send over variants of a product to his home for a touch-and-feel experience. Or he can pick up his order at the store from his car while driving by. It’s an app that adapts itself to a user’s needs, instead of getting users to adapt themselves to what the app can or cannot do.
A Seller-Friendly Shopping App
We knew right from the start that to create a mobile app which best replicates the local shopping experience as Indian consumers know it – and not as it suited our needs as a technology company – we had to give full control to our sellers. This included giving them their own dashboard to upload their inventory, manage orders and even make their own deliveries because that is how they would be able to form relationships with their customers and get to know them – an essential part of local shopping. We didn’t want to be another platform of faceless sellers. We wanted our sellers to be the face of ShopLyne.
So far, all the 80 local sellers in Mumbai who have signed up with us are extremely excited about the possibilities that ShopLyne opens up for them. Just a week ago, a nutrition store in Mahim called up a customer who had just ordered a yoga mat through the app to confirm the delivery time and ended up upselling her a yoga mat cover. Another time, a customer who had opted to pick up his order of pet supplies, left the store with two additional products and some valuable advice on how to improve the thickness of his dog’s coat!
Over the next few months, we want to work harder towards developing the core idea of ShopLyne – curating the perfect local shopping experience for our users. We’re also looking to collaborate with retail associations to explore ways in which we can involve Mumbai’s seller community in making ShopLyne a more robust and integrated mobile commerce platform for local retailers.
Deepak Dhingra is Co-Founder, ShopLyne. Deepak is an entrepreneur and advertising professional with over 20 years of experience in retail.