Meesho is a Bengaluru-based start-up and Social Commerce platform. Recently, they reached a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of $1B and they are currently valued at $2.1B after a $300M funding round backed by Softbank Vision Fund 2 alongside Prosus Ventures, Facebook, Venture Highway, Shunwei Capital and Knollwood Investment.
Meesho wants to be the enabler for small businesses also referred to as individual entrepreneurs. They have set a target of onboarding 100 million small businesses and individual entrepreneurs. Meesho wants to help these people obtain business success through their platform.
Their main focus is women entrepreneurs and homepreneurs, a lot of whom have already become financially independent through their platform.
Recently Meesho’s business model was diversified due to its recent rise to the unicorn status. The company believes that the small business sector in India is very profitable for ecommerce to tap into. The ecommerce sector in India is not yet fully catering to small businesses since most of them are still stuck in the offline selling mode. The potential is high for small businesses in ecommerce.
How Meesho is helping women achieve financial freedom
The reselling platform is enabling women entrepreneurs and encouraging them to start their own online business in the Fashion and Home wear, unbranded and longtail categories.They can curate their products across different categories mainly fashion, furnishings and home appliances. They can then resell to their social circles via social media apps (there are so many).
Meesho has onboarded close to 10 Million entrepreneurs. It seems to have aced the social commerce model. By addressing the hyperlocal sector in the fashion industry, Meesho is empowering individuals to start their online business without capital.
They are also offering products, logistics, and payment tools for micro entrepreneurs. Close to 70% of entrepreneurs on Meesho are homemakers, career-oriented women on breaks, and students, forming an extensive trust network of social entrepreneurs. For first-time entrepreneurs, hyperlocal is a hot sector, especially in fashion.
The reselling platform is enabling women entrepreneurs and encouraging them to start their own online business in the Fashion and Home wear, unbranded & longtail categories.
In the Hyperlocal market, most entrepreneurs are selling on WhatsApp groups. This is how the social commerce business model came about for Meesho. By literally replacing WhatsApp groups in a more efficient manner, Meesho has become the mobile version of Shopify for the Indian market.
The initial users of Meesho were mostly homemakers with offline connections who had suppliers in regions like Surat and Rajasthan. As they were setting up their boutique on the app, Meesho’s intended target group changed since they were originally not targeting women homemakers. The problem commonly faced by homemakers is finding trustworthy suppliers. This is a bigger problem than setting up an online store or a physical store.
The problem Meesho is trying to solve
Meesho is helping people who are not very tech savvy but are well versed with using social media platforms like WhatsApp and Facebook. The UI and UX of Meesho is very simple. The app also works in areas where network connection is poor. Women are commonly faced with these challenges especially homemakers who belong to remote villages or interior locations across the country. They can even source their products through Meesho’s network and sell to their communities on WhatsApp and Facebook groups. Women are even free to decide their own profit margin.
What’s in it for me?
Women empowerment is a tremendous cause to work towards, as a start-up. Following in the footsteps of Meesho, there are many ways to innovate in social commerce, by targeting the female customer base.
Social Media users are putting platforms to innovative use, especially for reselling on groups. Start-ups like Meesho and Slack have emulated these platforms in their own way for specific use cases like community reselling or work communication. As a social commerce platform, even you can come up with similar ideas.
Find out where your target user base is active on and come up with products and services to enable ecommerce on these mediums.