Our Raison d’ Etre — Reason for existence!

As women, we love fashion, unless we happen to be Indian politicians too! But why do we hardly buy fashion online? That’s like asking why so few female race car drivers in Saudi Arabia! Simple and stupid. There are so few of them there who drive to begin with! Likewise, there is a gender bias (sexism?) in Indian internet too. In our country, only one woman has internet access for every 2+ men.

But if we look a little deeper, even urban Indian women doing white collared jobs don’t seem to buy an awful lot online! Why not? Don’t we like discounts? Don’t we like hassle free returns? If not, are we human at all?

Here’s my take, as a shopaholic.

We (You guessed it right. I speak for all shopaholic women out there.) tend to be experiential shoppers. It’s a social experience to us. We like to try on a lot of things. We crave approval from jealous friends. We like to make them even more jealous. We are keen to inconvenience our husbands and boyfriends (who are left to gaze at the stars as we spend a quick few hours at the department store). We like salespeople to pamper us. If we happen to live with family, shopping is also a family outing for us. We like the complication and project management thrills in doing it together!

And this is what is missing online. The online department store is brilliant at a few things — deals, convenience, variety etc. It is however not so great when it comes to personalizing, notwithstanding AI algorithms. It lacks the charming salesman who greets me with respect and familiarity. It knows what I’ve bought in the past. But it doesn’t know what I’m looking to buy. It doesn’t know that my fashion preferences have changed when boyfriends did. It doesn’t know I’ve gained weight and I don’t look so great in that hot mini skirt (which I bought sometime ago anymore) even if I buy a bigger sized one. I miss talking to the lady down the street who runs a boutique and is an expert on ethnics! No. I don’t enjoy chatting with the customer support reps at e-Commerce stores. We are hardly on the same page.

In a nutshell, I miss a knowledgeable shopping assistant. I’m sure a lot of us shopaholic women do. Our buying is a high involvement phenomenon. So we like a high touch approach by those who would like to sell clothing to us. We like things merchandised by stylists, designers and experts, and all humans to start with. Can that come with the convenience of lazy shopping — from home, from office, from the quiet coffee shop in a residential neighborhood, from the airport lounge….?

This is where the idea of ‘Zuplr’ was born. We started with the customer experience and decided to work backwards to build the necessary technology. We’ve taken the philosophies of the late Mr. Jobs rather seriously.

Rise & Shine

Neelam Niroula