When the short video platform TikTok (a ByteDance company) was launched in the international market in September 2017, it took the world by storm. The content and the format attracted eyeballs from day one as users uploaded 30-60-second-long videos on everything under the sun, be it lip-syncing, dancing, comedy sketches or even educational content. The app, at present, has a monthly user base of 519.8 Mn and ranks seventh as the most used social media app.
For every business, the next step once the customer acquisition is achieved is to find a channel for monetisation. Traditionally, for content-based platforms, this channel is usually by running ads. However, ads can often be obtrusive and affect the in-app experience of the user. Moreover, the advertisement revenue is a small segment in India as compared to the markets such as the US. Considering the challenge, Tiktok aimed to find a different solution.
Many platforms which are now entering the short video segment have found themselves on the same crossroads where Tiktok was a few years back — The question of monetisation. Although video commerce remains a solution, these new startups lack the resources to build further functionalities of commerce such as supply chain creation, supplier onboarding, customer support and payment systems.
This is where Bengaluru-based GlowRoad enters the picture. The startup ventured into enabling commerce during the pandemic (September 2020) to capture the massive user base of the vernacular short content and video apps. GlowRoad, which specialises in social commerce, has a plug-and-play API that can fit with any content or video platforms and allow them a source of monetisation through e-commerce.
Founded in 2017, the social media startup connects the manufacturers/product owners with a network of resellers, and the latter shares the purchasing links on various social media platforms. The resellers earn a commission when a purchase is made, while GlowRoad takes care of logistics and order fulfilment. The startup, through its operations, is growing at a rate of 150% YoY.
GlowRoad now wants to enter the video commerce market as an enabler to help short video platforms build their monetisation channel.
“While building our social commerce platform, we have also built a supply platform which caters to the e-commerce needs of small towns in India. We want to help content companies to enable e-commerce on their platform to monetise” says Nilesh Padariya, cofounder & CTO, GlowRoad.
GlowRoad’s Plug-And-Play API For Video And Content Platforms
GlowRoad intends to take this route to enable video commerce business. Using cloud technology, the company has developed a plug-and-play API that can be integrated with any short video platform to enable a smooth superimposition of the product within the content. For instance, when users watch a video with an artisanal vase in the background, they will see an option to tap a button and buy the product. One has to add his/her billing address and payment information to make the purchase without even leaving that video platform, while the transaction takes place on GlowRoad. Simply put, users need not visit the parent site at any time and can enjoy their content while making a hassle-free in-video purchase.
GlowRoad claims that through its video commerce proposition, these platforms can also enable influencer-led commerce which, through incentivisation, has the potential to promote better content and engagement.
The social commerce platform believes that the API allows ecommerce capabilities for any short video or content-based platform without building the infrastructure and build a channel for monetisation. By taking over the fulfilment process of the operation, GlowRoad allows the content platforms to focus on building a content-integrated marketplace.
“Through partnership with GlowRoad, the short video platforms can generate a channel of monetisation for their own platform. By integrating content and commerce, GlowRoad helps the startups increase both user retention & engagement. This enables the startups in scaling and growth as well,” says Nitesh Pant, cofounder, GlowRoad.
GlowRoad As Enablers For Content Platforms
Going by the global scenario, especially how video commerce is evolving in China, GlowRoad’s recent foray into this space seems a well-thought-out initiative. In doing so, it has partnered with Indian short video platforms to enable a new monetisation channel for all stakeholders. As part of the collaborative move, these video platforms are now GlowRoad’s corporate reseller partners. The startup has integrated its API on those platforms for smooth operations, promotes its products there and ensures seamless transactions without distracting content engagement.
GlowRoad claims that the API is not limited to just video commerce. The tech has the capability to be integrated on any content platform. The differentiator for the social commerce platform is that its API enables integrated advertising for products within the content. The company believes that since most content platforms have to rely upon either ad revenues which often negatively affect the user experience or collaborate with sponsors to find revenue which is not a steady source, this API solution enables the platforms to find a steadier stream or revenue without compromising the user experience.
Partner platforms earn revenues through commissions on the products sold which according to the social commerce platform ranges between 12-15% of the item sold. GlowRoad is also able to reach a much wider audience, which will boost sales and increase its earnings.
On GlowRoad’s side, the company has been able to boost its own revenue through the video commerce operation. The video commerce collaboration accounts for 8-10K transactions per day with each partner and it contributes to 12% of GlowRoad’s revenue.
Through this partnership, the social commerce startup is also able to widen its user funnel and onboard both sellers and resellers from tier 2, tier 3 and below to build a stronger network of social commerce for the next billion in India.