In November of 2012, an online window shopping website, Sweetcouch.com, was launched. Although it is visible all around the world, it is directed towards Indian shoppers. Instead of selling a product, the site sends customers to a particular store’s webpage, so a surfer may come across a store open to international customers as well. Readers of this article may ask why India? It seems logical when one considers that “India is the second largest market after the U.S.”, according to a recent interview with Rajesh Chokhani, primary founder of Sweetcouch.com.
Sweetcouch first began as a startup company in 2012, but it was not opened to the public of India until the first part of 2013. “In the past month, approximately 2.5 million products were viewed on Sweetcouch”, according to a Tech 2 review. This review ultimately names Sweetcouch as the Indian equivalent of TheFancy, an American window shopping site.
Chokhani has done many things in his career, but above all else he finds joy in the uncertainty of beginning a startup company. Sweetcouch is “‘the first window shopping site in India’”. But Chokhani thinks it is likely that TheFancy will set up shop in India and become a Sweetcouch competitor.
As with most other reviews, Tech 2 compares Sweetcouch’s interface (how the page is set up) to Pinterest. If one positions his or her mouse over an image, a button pops up to buy the item. Below the image is an option to “Pick” it, or save it for later, by storing it under “my picks”, and another option to recommend it to a friend. Even if one forgets to click on “Pick”, the site automatically remembers where he or she has been. In his interview Chokhani says that he thinks in the next year or two “‘Pinterest will come to India and compete with us in the same space…Pinterest is a great time-spending place, but there is no serious business happening of any kind. ‘”
This allows one to quickly and easily return to an item he or she was planning to buy in the future. This is so convenient and even though other stores allow the same thing, Sweetcouch allows items to be picked from many different places (gathered together in a wish list format). With ONE wish list, nothing will be forgotten!
When the shopper is ready to buy an item seen on Sweetcouch–remember, this does not need to be done immediately, which is budget-friendly–he or she is immediately sent to the merchant’s page, where he or she can buy the item. In the Tech 2 review a co-founder of Sweetcouch (the one responsible for product, content, and marketing) talks about all the products offered. “There is no dearth of good products in India and this is spread across all online shops, not just the biggies like Flipkart, Jabong, Myntra etc.” All over the world online shopping is going mobile. While Sweetcouch does not have a mobile app yet, there is a Sweetcouch mobile site which allows users to quickly move through the steps discussed earlier.
The co-founder goes on to talk about a huge benefit for the shopper–neutrality. “Sweet Couch is a neutral, unbiased showcase of products from all online shops, brands and independent designers. We do not sell anything. We also do not charge online shops, brands and independent sellers anything to showcase their products. No one is given any preferential treatment. We let the best product win. The most popular product is chosen by users.” Although Sweetcouch does not sell anything or make any money now, Chokhani says in the next 3 or 4 months Sweetcouch “‘will come out with a revenue model driven by innovative advertising.’”
India is a strategic place to launch the site. As noted in the Tech 2 review, “The e-commerce space in India has grown tremendously.” From 2011 to 2012 “online shopping has grown by a whopping 128 percent…as compared to 40 percent in the year 2010-11.” And the future looks bright as e-commerce is expected to see major growth in 2013.