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Shopper.com - lessons learned from building a community-driven global marketplace

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by Startacus Admin

Sonu Headshot

Sonu Bubna, Co-founder of Shopper.com, an innovative e-commerce platform shares insights on building a community-driven global marketplace.


Shopper.com logoThere’s a saying that it takes a whole community to raise a child and we firmly believe in that for Shopper.com too. When we thought of launching the platform, we knew that we have to build a community to better manage some of the biggest challenges our sector has, expired deals and offers.

Initially, we built the community around this premise, but quickly it turned into something much more for Shopper.com. Here our 50,000+ community members are helping us in different ways to build Shopper.com. Below are the top learnings we’ve had so far in our journey, which is constantly evolving and changing.

Put the community at the heart of what you do

We always say that Shopper.com is community powered, however the truth is our community is not just powering it, but thousands of members who are really passionate about helping others save are helping us to build it.

Shopper.comThe initial idea of Shopper.com came from the fact that six out of ten shoppers can get a better price than the one they are being offered. So, we embarked on a journey to solve this problem with technology and data crunching.

However, very quickly it became apparent that automation cannot get the best results which the majority of the other services in the market already do. We could deliver better results with manual data curation which led to 30% more savings for our shoppers compared to automated deal curation. We didn’t stop there and we started getting help from our community in other aspects of the business too. For instance, now our community plays a big role in suggesting and refining product features, moderating newly joined members and even customer support.

For us, the mobile network Giffgaff is one of the biggest inspirations because it’s a great example of how community can drive and grow a business organically.

Give your community a part of your business

This is the Shopper.com DNA. It is at the heart of why we do, what we do. There are good samaritans in the world who are already sharing price savings tips, latest deals and offers with others to help them save money and are motivated to help others. For them contributing to making the lives of people around them better is important and it's their way of giving back to society.

However, we added an incentive layer on top of what the shopping community is already doing and made it more rewarding for everyone. This ensured that not only our members are motivated but also the deal curation accuracy is continuously improving.

Be open and listen to the community

Coupon culture shopper.comAs mentioned above, whether it’s about adding a new store to the platform or developing a new feature, community plays a big role in making things happen. For instance, ‘Back in stock’ one of the major features that was released this year was the direct result of our community.

A number of our community members mentioned to us that due to the ongoing pandemic several products were out of stock online. As a result, they put them and their families at risk by going to the local stores for shopping. They told us that it would be great to know when products come back in stock without visiting the store repeatedly and we released the ‘back in stock’ notifications to address this challenge. This feature release was quick, in six weeks from ideation to launch.

Our members get notified instantly when a product is back in stock which was earlier out of stock. Since launching this feature in May, it has helped hundreds of members and we are tracking over 250 million products from 34 popular stores from the UK, USA and India. Our philosophy is that our community makes us, and not the other way round.

Give special consideration to privacy issues

For us, privacy is not just related to the product design or governing laws around it, it’s also the user data that we collect and store. Privacy is the ability to control or limit access to personal information to our staff, contractors and the wider community. Our community members expect that we would allow access to their information to only the people who really need it for performing their duties.

Keeping this in mind and adhering to GDPR guidelines, we created a framework outlining data access for each segment of our stakeholders including employees, consultants, community members and investors. Also, if you have global presence you have to look into the privacy challenges of each country. We have members from 40+ countries now and understanding the legal requirements is an ongoing project as privacy laws differ in various countries. In such situations we think covering our base is best. We are transparent with our community members and stakeholders about the data we collect and how we use it.

To summarise, our community is at our heart and because of this our community keeps us going. It’s critical to our success, as for our community members it's not just another business platform, for them it's something they feel part of which makes it special for everyone.




 


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Published on: 25th June 2020

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