Mall91 app: how this social commerce startup wooed small-town India and is creating an Aatmanirbhar Bharat app ecosystem
In the past 24 months, a host of language-focussed social commerce startups have mushroomed in India, following the success of video and social commerce in China. One of them is Noida-based Mall91, which won the government’s recent Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge in the business category. Founded in 2018 by Nitin Raj Gupta and Shubham Paramhans, Mall91 seeks to fulfil rural India’s online shopping aspiration
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But what is social commerce? As the name goes, social commerce is when social media enables commerce, i.e. businesses leverage platforms like WhatsApp, ShareChat, YouTube, etc., to curate, promote, and sell products. When you look up ‘Mall91’ on Google Search, the results take you to a Hindi website and a Hindi app listing. When you dig deeper, more local languages show up.
Co-founder and CEO Nitin Gupta tells YourStory, “Most of the consumer internet in India has been built for metros and Tier-I cities. Businesses were cloned and copied from China and elsewhere. We saw an opportunity to build for small-town India, where content consumption was happening due to the smartphone and data revolution. But, there was no unique indigenous commerce model until now.”