One is a a swashbuckling new startup that’s looking to disrupt how Indians transact, and the other is a half-century old vanguard of a medium that’s widely seen be dying. But both firms, leaders in their categories in India, have come together in a pretty unlikely crossover.
Paytm Mall says it has partnered with Filmfare to create an in-magazine fashion store. Filmfare’s spread on retro fashion this month will have QR codes next to the products displayed. On scanning these codes through Paytm or Paytm Mall’s app, readers will be led to the product page on Paytm Mall, from there they can purchase the products for themselves.
— Amit Sinha (@amitsins) May 1, 2018
It’s a pretty interesting approach to merge the offline and online worlds, and the offline-online merger is widely believed to be how the future of e-commerce will shape in the coming years. Other companies have been trying their own unique ways to get people to buy clothes from offline touch-points — just this year, the Future Group’s fbb brand had live-streamed a fashion show in which little widgets appeared on the screen as models walked down the ramp; by clicking on these widgets, users were directed to fbb’s site from where they could buy the clothes being displayed. Paytm Mall itself has been experimenting with similar initiatives — people like trying out shoes before they buy them online, so it recently added its QR codes to a Red Tape store in Gurgaon, where people could physically put on shoes before finally buying them on Paytm Mall.
It’s too early to say how popular any of these approaches will be — some of them, inevitably, will fail, but will provide companies with valuable insights on how best users can be captured from the real world and made to spend money online. Magazines might have a limited audience now, but one can imagine how Paytm Mall’s integration with Filmfare can provide a launching pad for similar initiatives. In the future, it might be possible to simply open a newspaper — India is one of the few markets in the world where newspaper usage is rising — and scan on a dress in there that you like to purchase it. Or it can be possible for clothes themselves to have QR codes — while complimenting someone on their new outfit, you can simply scan a code that’s tagged on to it, and buy it for yourself. The possibilities might well be endless. And as recent moves by Indian companies show, that the offline-online merger is coming with a vengeance, and could radically how the the country shops for goods and services.