In 2014, Meghna Saraogi launched StyleDotMe, an app that that lets customers get immediate style recommendation not simply from associates and followers, however from specialists around the globe with immediate polls and voting choices.
Later, the startup launched MirrAR, which lets individuals just about strive on issues through augmented actuality (AR) on digital platforms of consumer manufacturers, through iPads. Customers can see themselves in totally different jewelry merchandise on a bigger display, and might take photos and share on social media as properly.
The final three years have seen StyleDotMe develop its consumer base with enterprise shoppers akin to ForeverMark in its kitty. It was additionally the expertise companion at numerous international exhibitions now, together with JCK Las Vegas, ForeverMark Discussion board, Inhorgenta Munich, and others.
Meghna says conversion charges for her shoppers noticed a 160 % enhance and engagement charges went up 200 %.
After which, COVID-19 occurred.
The pandemic took an enormous toll on companies – layoffs, pay cuts, and the closing down of operations. As per a TiE-Delhi and Zinnov report, there was a dip in general funding by 50 % in the course of the lockdown as in comparison with pre-COVID ranges, round 40 % of startups had been negatively impacted, and 15 % of Indian startups had been compelled to discontinue operations.
Transferring out of the consolation zone
Like most companies, StyleDotMe was additionally affected by the unfold of COVID-19 in India.
“The preliminary part was robust as companies had been in survival mode. Nonetheless, we had been additionally positive that we wouldn’t have any layoffs or resort to drastic wage deductions. That is when expertise and e-retail took prominence and pushed startups to maneuver out of their consolation zones.
“As we had been already working within the digital area, we helped jewellers open up their e-stores and had been capable of assist them carry again part of their companies. As well as, we additionally helped allow contactless purchasing inside retail shops and added a layer of surety to on-line purchases through our web site resolution,” Meghna says.
The founder known as down bodily settings of the gross sales group and began Zoom conferences with shoppers. She additionally launched Saturday catchups to make sure every group member’s wellbeing.
Throughout this era, the startup rapidly moved to an all-digital method, made investments in advertising and marketing actions, and ended up hiring extra individuals to “guarantee a top quality product for our shoppers”.
Whereas StyleDotMe was one of many few startups that had began constructing tech for a brand new age of consumerism and retail, Meghna says the pandemic labored as a catalyst, accelerating behavioural and course of change.
“At this cut-off date, prospects are looking for comfort in any respect ranges. Digitisation took a very long time coming and in a means was essential for progress and growth within the jewelry trade, a standard trade by nature. COVID-19 sped up the method, given the urgency and wish to remain at house, however nonetheless keep related to individuals and wishes. For us, it was completely essential to offer a simple and comfy digital try-on facility to shoppers to promote, when transferring freely was not an choice anymore.”
Throughout this era, StyleDotMe grew its consumer base to 22 jewellers with a presence in 44 cities all around the world. It additionally expanded its group to 30 individuals.
Adopting new tech
The fast adaptability to an all-digital method noticed StyleDotMe efficiently introduce actual time markerless hand monitoring and ear monitoring.
Jewellers can now additionally allow digital try-ons for rings and bracelets, and digitise their whole catalogue.
“An fascinating function we have now not too long ago launched is the Gallery mode and Studio mode that permits you to strive jewelry on fashions/photos (for those who’re a male/you must purchase for a good friend). The Studio mode permits you to zoom into the intricacies of the design. One other fascinating function is the 3D & 360 rotation for rings, bracelets, and watches,” Meghna says.
The startup has launched a free trial model of its product to point out jewellers how AR may help their companies develop.
StyleDotMe obtained a contemporary infusion of funds this 12 months – Rs 3.5 crore in a pre-Collection A funding spherical led by Survam Companions, with participation from Bobby Kothari, Director, Jewelex India, as a strategic investor; and present investor IAN (Indian Angel Community). Nonetheless, Meghna declined to share present revenues.
She says her greatest achievement has been to assist join the jewelry trade with shoppers exterior the bodily boundaries of shops, a phenomenon unusual within the trade.
“When it comes to wedding ceremony jewelry, we made the choice course of as near the in-store expertise as attainable. As a substitute of making an attempt a number of designs contained in the shops, particularly when brides need contactless choices, they will strive every part on-line, head to the retail retailer and take a look at on chosen items. Or they might head to main retail shops within the nation the place our in-store resolution helps brides individuals store extra fearlessly,” she says.
Meghna’s future plans embrace working with jewellers throughout the globe, serving to increase their enterprise by way of conversions and engagement charges, and serving to companies transfer to a digital area to attain fast progress.