16th July 2020: Social commerce is not a new concept in the country major chunk of social commerce existed only in the fashion, beauty, and retail industries. Today, social commerce is gaining popularity for one of the fundamental aspects of life – fresh food. Fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables have become the most in-demand products as people switch to healthier ways of living and are eager to know the source.
A USD 200 Billion fresh produce category is now witnessing major disruption through social commerce. It is garnering the attention of consumer, entrepreneurs, and investors. In fact, consumers are increasingly preferring their food sourced through social commerce for various reasons such as higher credibility, rational price and most importantly, fresher produce (delivered within a day straight from the farms sometime within 12 hrs). For women looking to be a part of the business environment without monetary investment, social commerce within the food category is the ideal solution. Let us take a look at how social commerce is playing a key role in helping women make it big in business.
The rise of social commerce
Increasing internet penetration and social media usage have paved the way for the rise of social commerce. A majority of the population today uses and is in fact hooked onto social media and brands are leveraging this aspect. With the rise in demand for fresh produce, women are joining hands with brands to become resellers within their community to make a mark for themselves in their community by leveraging social commerce. Currently, fresh produce is a supply-led model and social commerce is flipping it to demand-led model that further helps in solving the problem of middlemen and wastage (since there is no inventory). Apart from this, it helps resellers connect with their customers-base efficiently and offer real-time feedback to the farmers regarding the quality of the produce.
The emergence of women as dominant sellers
For the first time, women are taking the center stage in spurring the adoption of e-commerce and helping the industry as well as themselves progress. The advent of technology, rapid digitization of businesses, and easy access have helped drive this change. For women sellers, a slew of features aided by cutting-edge technology such as voice chats/chatbots, real-time updates and feedback to the farmers, and most importantly, WhatsApp-based marketing is coming handy to open more doors to become micro-entrepreneurs.
Additionally, women sellers also have a higher average order value, better retention and repeat orders, making them more suitable. In fact, not just urban cities, but women resellers hail from tier-II and tier-III catchment areas are hopping on the fresh produce social commerce bandwagon to fulfil their goals and achieve financial independence with almost no investment. A whopping 68% of women in most platforms sell from tier-II and tier-III cities.
Women sellers also help customers gain the trust factor for unbranded products since they usually tend to lean towards known/established brands. In return, social commerce platforms offer easy access for women to build an entrepreneurial empire of their own through community engagement without hindrances. Particularly in vernacular language-led social commerce platforms, women are dominating the space, even though the concept is still at a very nascent stage. They are learning the tricks of the trade and are keen on flourishing in the competitive business environment.
Social commerce is quickly becoming a multi-million-dollar market in India. However, the country has a largely unorganized market, particularly in tier-II, tier-III and tier-IV cities, especially for the fresh produce category with millions of farmers scattered across the country. Additionally, shopping for fresh produce is a social concept of sorts. Since the pandemic has forced us to adhere to social distancing norms, social commerce is flourishing and women are leading the way. With technological advancements, greater digitization and the availability of regional languages providing easy access and seamless experience, the rise of women entrepreneurs through social commerce is inevitable.