India has been seeing a surge in e-retailing. Flipkart investing $ 1 Billion, followed by Amazon investing another $2 Billion in its India Unit. In this high-octane drama, consumers have somehow missed those “window shopping” days. Well, Retale, a Bangalore based startup, brings those days back, in an online avatar.
Retale gives you a virtual sneak-peek into the coolest offline stores in Bangalore (the only city where the startup is currently active), and enables brands to create virtual storefronts. As a result, those storefronts, which have lost almost half of their sales to e-commerce giants, now get a chance, to bring those numbers back, at least partially.
Retale also gives various offline stores, a unique platform to maintain their inventory, online. Store owners can manage their content in real-time. They are also provided an analytics platform, to track their visitor count.
Apart from giving storefronts an opportunity, the developers claim, that the app lets people find a whole new meaning with the social angle of recommending the best products, deals and stores to friends, while earning rewards.
But, apart from all the benefits which the store owners get, and the fun which consumers get by revisiting those old days, what does Retale really have, to make that special impression ?
Well, as far as our observation goes, e-stores and online retailers are good, they definitely provide you ease and comfort, but the social factor is definitely missing. Retale gives you that. That social bonding, which you share while window shopping with friends and family, is something which Retale gives back to you.
But, we wouldn’t say that the app is without any flaws. As far as the whole design is concerned, it is basic. Well, basic does mean that it is simple to operate, but it also means that it attracts lesser eyeballs. And when you are on your way to compete with the bigger e-commerce players, you got to develop something, which appeases the eye of a usual consumer.
After operating through the app for quite some time, we found out that browsing is smooth and fluid. But, you may get irritated, by my repeated use of the phrase,”the design is not appealing”. This is because, the design is just too simple, and that may be one of the reasons for just over a 1000 downloads on Android Play Store.
Once you open the app, you are asked for a name by which the app will recognise you. Your phone number will also be required to login to the app. Or else, if you are too lazy for that stuff, just login via facebook.
Once you login, you are presented with a list of cities. Currently, the app is present only in Bangalore, so only one city is listed. But, we seriously expect the developers to get into at least four or five cities more, very soon, so that app’s flexibility and operability can be tested.
Once your city is selected, you get to browse in the various apparel categories which are available. We went through with the Men’s fashion. Once clicked, you will be directed to a list of stores, which are selling your category related products. Click on a store of your choice, and you get to see the entire catalogue, available with the store.
You obviously can not buy through the app, because as the app clearly states, it is meant for window shopping. Some may feel it to be a major drawback, but we strongly feel that the no-buying option helps in keeping the very basic principle behind the app, intact.
The app has got favourable reviews on Android’s Play Store, with most ratings being above 4. We tried the app on Android ( Asus Zenfone 5 ) and as far as the technical aspect is concerned, the app works fine. Sliding and swiping is smooth, with almost no hassles while browsing.
But, there are two big drawbacks, which are probably holding back downloads of Retale. First out of those two being its extremely basic design. Apps like these, which aim to revive the old concepts, need to have a highly attractive and appealing design. Retale clearly lacks on that front. The app needs to add in elements, which compel its users to continue browsing.
Second of the two drawbacks, which can be undone more swiftly, is the availability of cities. Releasing an app like this, with just one city available, is not the brightest of ideas. We hope Retale works swiftly on that front. On an overall basis, Tech-Portal gives this app :
We’ll be back with another such comprehensive, on-demand app review, next week. Till then, stay tuned to Tech-Portal.