This Gurugram-based AI-powered startup connects local buyers and sellers in real time

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Local sellers and businesses struggle to lose sales to e-commerce players like Amazon or Flipkart, even though the only convenience they offer is product discovery, availability, home delivery, and payments.

“My goal was to bridge the gap between local sellers and consumers by revolutionizing the way we shop before the arrival of Amazon and Flipkart, visiting several local stores to find the best price and enable the product discovery and availability, ”says Devashish Goyal, Founder, OhLocal.

Gurugram-based OhLocal is an AI-powered smart auction platform that connects local buyers and sellers in real time. Founded in January 2021, OhLocal, an O2O marketplace, offers local buyers and local sellers an online marketplace platform to buy and sell products locally in categories such as electronics, home appliances, cell phones, laptops and the like.

The startup is currently operational in four cities – Meerut, Noida, Gurugram, Ghaziabad – and plans to expand to 20 more cities by the end of the coming quarter.

“We are the first to introduce a fixed fee model, helping sellers save up to 95% margin over the exorbitant percentage fees common with other ecommerce retailers or any hyperlocal startup,” Devashish said. .

The genesis

The idea for OhLocal came to the founder’s mind in August last year after the lockdown was eased.

“I wanted to buy an air conditioner and instinctively checked online, on Flipkart and Amazon. I was about to buy the AC but the challenge was that it would be delivered in two weeks. So my parents asked me to check the offline market. Getting out of the house was not an option due to Covid-19, so I reached out to a few friends to check if they knew an air conditioner salesperson in Meerut, ”Devashish told YourStory.

“I was very surprised to learn that the model I was buying online was not only two years old, but also more expensive than the options available in the offline market. The local seller also provided me with faster delivery, lower cost installation, not to mention availability if something went wrong. No more waiting for customer service to resolve the problem, ”he says.

This prompted Devashish to investigate the hypothesis with other products as well. He spent the next few weeks calling local vendors selling electronics and appliances, and found that 93% of the products were cheaper offline compared to buying them online.

“OhLocal mimics a buyer’s offline experience on a digital platform. Keeping both the merchant and the customer happy has been key to OhLocal’s product strategy. The auction engine, the suggestion of alternative products by supplier and the no-margin business model make it an ideal meeting place for buyers and traders, ”he said.

Devashish is an engineering graduate from Shiv Nadar University and previously worked with Innovaccer, a US-based healthcare computer software company. He has over five years of experience working with startups.

USP

According to Devashish, OhLocal is reversing the process of e-commerce, providing better prices and more efficient product discovery and availability in the local market.

How it works? A product is requested by a buyer, tied to the product’s Amazon price or MRP. Artificial intelligence (AI) is used to select which sellers to bid next, keeping the Amazon price as a benchmark, within 60 minutes.

“We’re trying to revolutionize the real in-store and shopping experience through a single interface where the buyer can get prices from different local sellers, find the product in the OhLocal catalog, and find offers from local sellers. In addition to offering their prices, sellers can also offer an alternative product, which usually happens when someone visits a store. We condense 1-2 days of shopping experience into 60 minutes, improving the consumer experience, reducing the hassle of traveling to different stores for the best prices, and promoting local retail, ”he said. -he declares.

OhLocal doesn’t compete directly with any other startup, says Devashish, but indirect competition includes Dunzo (primarily in grocery delivery), Amazon, and Flipkart.

“All the players have adopted an imported Western approach. But we are building a platform for India, which is a price sensitive market. People like to go to different stores to get the best deal, and the OhLocal platform is competitively priced from sellers, ”says Devashish.

OhLocal targets three user groups:

  1. The user who purchases everything online because of the convenience of product discovery, availability and home delivery. With OhLocal, they get it all with faster delivery and better prices.
  2. The price sensitive shopper goes to multiple websites and stores looking for better prices. OhLocal allows buyers to compare prices between online sellers and three offline sellers from the comfort of their homes.
  3. The offline shopper hopes to go to different stores to check out the products and get better prices. “With OhLocal, buyers receive three offers from different sellers as well as alternative product offers and recommendations – the best of both online and offline worlds,” says Devashish.

The present and the future

According to an IBEF report, offline retail accounts for 91% of the total retail market and is expected to represent another 75% by 2026.

OhLocal aims to be present in more than 20 cities (levels I and II) and to work with more than 1000 sellers in 20 cities. The startup, which currently has a team of 12 members, aims to expand its team in the coming months and reach one million users next year.

“We will create a business opportunity for our sellers of around Rs 45+ crore,” Devashish said. “We have generated a GMV of Rs 2 crore so far.”

OhLocal recently raised Rs 1.1 crore in a preselection round led by India Accelerator, with the participation of HNI and renowned angels. The company plans to use the funds to strengthen product development, expand the merchant base, and expand rapidly in subways and non-metros.

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