To be inspired is one thing; to attain the goal is another thing. In fact, it is an entirely different level of ability. A small inspiration, a spur of a thought- to be put into action needs tons of patience, planning, and perseverance. The journey can be excruciatingly slow, at times painful but intensely humbling and educational. This we have experienced through our efforts of building Xirify- the platform for hyper local shopping. The team at Xirify has gone through all this with confidence of seeing light at the long end of the tunnel and is mighty wiser as each milestone was conquered.
E-commerce is all set to take off in the Indian subcontinent too on par with its Western and European counterparts has been in the air for a decade now. Diverse innovations towards offering convenience to shoppers and easy market accessibility to vendors have hit the market. World has become a global village with brands and services from across seas made accessible globally just at the touch of a button.
In the rush to “aggregate'' distant lands on a digital platform, the needs and requirements of building up a local ecosystem to sustain grass root commerce have been ignored. In fact, the small, marginal and medium businesses felt the pain of becoming inconsequential. Though it has achieved its goal of enabling global reach and thereby ushering in global affluence, the e-commerce trade has been instrumental in widening economic disparities by favoring the large players at the expense of the unorganized and local business community.
Xirify has taken birth out of this “painful scenario” unfolding in India. Prashant Upasani , CEO, Valueadd Softtech & Systems Pvt Ltd, Pune (VAST), the incubator of Xirify, has hit upon the idea of bringing diverse local businesses on a single platform to serve the local shopping and business community. Though the concept is similar to that of the multi-continental e-commerce model, Xirify has zoomed on the local markets.
He and his team chanced upon the lack of such a powerful platform to aggregate neighborhood businesses- the lifeline of millions of citizens through thick and thin. They felt the need of nurturing the millions of ubiquitous shopkeepers- who have over the time seamlessly become an integral part of the shopping communities’ extended families by virtue of their support to the local population. That technology can be harvested and in fact, is the backbone to support this humongous mission dawned on the team.
The idea found takers. The first hurdle of being accepted has been crossed with a meticulous market reach out program in the local micro markets of Pashan & Bavdhan, Pune. The Team fanned out to small time businesses and spread about the message of opening up their sale online. Cutting through their initial hesitancy was the first mission of the team, which was achieved with persistent efforts.
Simultaneously, the technical team at VAST went about building a model platform to augment the message to the businesses and shopping communities. They showcased Xirify and displayed how easy it is to order online and execute it successfully. Though the Xirify app was at its infancy, with a lot of muscle to be added, the response was encouraging. Fueled by the initial ‘interesting’ reactions, a small sales & marketing team was put in place at VAST to popularize the concept. The areas of Pashan and Bavdhan of Pune were taken up on a pilot project.
Customer reach-out programs were initiated with the team setting out on the mission of highlighting the need and necessity of a local aggregator to enhance their online sales. The virtues of online business like low-cost set up, easy customer acquisition etc. were highlighted effectively to the business community. Most importantly, the idea of selling their products without paying any commission to the aggregator (as is the present custom adopted by the big platforms) and thereby retaining a major chunk of their rightful earnings was brought to their notice.
Simultaneously, the shoppers were being familiarized with Xirify through regular posts in the Social Media. Xirify Shopping App featured prominently with all its advantages and how it helps them address their shopping needs without a drag on their busy schedules.
A dedicated stand alone app, exclusive for the shopping community was developed (separate from the Xirify Business App)
The stage was nicely set up to integrate the services of a delivery partner. Seeing the need for tying up with a reliable and efficient delivery partner, Xirify initiated talks with Dunzo for affecting deliveries of orders. (www.dunzo.com). The delivery option through Dunzo was inaugurated in July, 2021.
August 2021 saw the launching of a full-fledged website for Xirify (www.xirify.com). New logo for both the Business App and Shoppers App was unveiled.
The basic infrastructure to reach and serve both the shopping and seller community were in place.
The stage is almost set for the full-scale Xirify pilot project in Pune.
The initial days were hard, to put it mildly! The gap between expectations and achievements was too troubling. The team kept its morale high through these disappointing times. The first milestone of 100 Online orders took what looked like eternity – 42 days! too slow to break the resolve of even the most hardcore optimist! The next two were even slower!
It has given the team a good opportunity to identify areas for improvement in the platform. The continuous up gradation in the app ensured elimination of bugs and inconsistencies in the app. Monthly UATs were conducted with religious fervor and the entire Xirify team brainstormed towards optimizing user experience. The improvements were essentially focused to achieve the following
To make the ordering process easy
To make business search easy
To introduce Share feature – a facility to recommend favorite Business, products & services on WhatsApp & other messaging platforms.
To initiate Delivery service in collaboration with Dunzo (An opt-in service for Xirify businesses)
To create a scalable, self service app where business can put offers/discounts and manage product catalog
To enable businesses to receive online payments (CARDs, UPI, Wallets & Net Banking - opt-in service).
To make daily shopping a hassle-free experience
We at Xirify believe in the adage of “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins with a Single Step” Yes, the “Single step” has begun and we have miles to go. The milestones motivate us towards speeding up the journey- the journey of serving a larger network of communities across cities and two-tier towns of India- to usher in convenience for shoppers and ease of expansion to vendors. We salute you for your unstinting support and belief in our efforts.