Last year we saw a trend of Local Deal sites mushrooming everywhere. While the mainstream media is still Gung-ho about these sites, there is a new trend coming up, that of baby product sites.
Logistics and inventory is a greater problem for these sites as compared to other ecommerce sites selling standard products. But even a bigger problem is that of discoverability. Apart from stuff like diapers and oils, no one knows what they are looking for. Searching for “kids toys” is just too broad to do any SEO magic. I believe there is a content game around here with a lot of influence and visibility coming from parenting/mom blogs.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of all baby product sites in India, not particularly in any order. Before we move ahead, one common thing that these sites have is that the UI seems to be targeted more towards the kids than the parents. They really need to know who they are selling to.
1. FirstCry: Raised a funding of $4Mn from SAIF partners earlier this year. The startup is based out of Pune. Traffic seems decently large and has grown at a good pace but mostly on the back of affiliate ads. FirstCry is currently paying Rs.175 as affiliate commission and additional 0.5-1.5% as bonus commission. They have around 150K fans on Facebook and given the activity on every post, their follower base seems to be very engaged.
FirstCry is one of the few sites that do not have a baby-ish UI. Though a little cleaner but the product details page definitely needs to improve. Things like having the call-to-action button below the first fold are serious issues. The search result page needs serious SEO, which has been ignored completely. They still have the URL as the page title and the URL is dynamic. Something about this site makes it feel like the founders are not techies or product managers themselves.
2. BabyOye: Raised a funding of $2.5Mn from Accel Partners and Tiger Global. The startup is based out of Delhi. Traffic is hovering little below FirstCry, though that doesn’t seem to be coming from ad network. BabyOye has 6 times more pages indexed on Google but with a lower Page Rank. They are also giving Rs.175 as affiliate commission and additional 1-2.5% as bonus. They also have about 150K Facebook fans who are equally active, if not more.
A lot of products (that I saw) are out of stock and they have this weird thing of mentioning that important message on top left in light grey, where no one can see. One would go crazy wondering how to add quantity. Also minor things like keeping order quantity default as 1 instead of 0 makes a difference in the overall user experience. Though their 1 page checkout system seems a bit easier than FirstCry’s ‘sign up first’ process.
3. Hushbabies: Hasn’t announced any funding. The startup is based out of Coimbatore. The traffic isn’t really much to talk about and the 13K fans on Facebook don’t seem to be much active. You will get that baby-ish site feel here. The product pages are definitely better designed than both of the above funded sites.
4. BuzzlingBabyShop: They haven’t announced any funding yet. The startup is based out of Mumbai. They hardly have any traffic even after offering the same affiliate commissions as FirstCry and BabyOye.
The interesting part of this startup is that they do have a content play. Indiaparenting.com is their own site with a lot of content around parenting, health and general content farm stuff. The site does have decent traffic as well. The 2 sites have a PageRank of 4 and 5 between them. The problem is that they haven’t utilised it well enough. Infact, the eCommerce site is promoting the content site rather than the other way around. There Facebook page also goes by IndiaParenting and not BBS. May be they are happier earning AdSense money than building a business. The UI also is just too poor to review the complete checkout process.
5. Balgopal.com: The startup is based out of Delhi. I am really not sure how this site came in my list. May be I would have seen their ad somewhere. They do not have any social media presence and the traffic also seems to have died down. They have confused product description with product name which makes the whole shopping experience a lot painful. The same startup also runs another eCommerce startup, Ratetag.com.
6. Kidloo: Based out of Hyderbad, this startup hasn’t announced any funding. They have about 4K fans on Facebook which aren’t very active though. Traffic is also not much on the site. There biggest drawback I believe is there lack of focus on product. Who in the world would expect a homepage of 2.35MB to gain any popularity. For once you may get a little impressed when you click on the “Add to cart” button but the nightmare starts when you try and checkout. Of all things in the world, they even ask for your Fax number. Really, Is this 1991?
7. LetBabyPlay: Based out of Delhi, no news about funding. They have almost no traffic. Though, they seem to be very new and would need some time to reach to a reasonable stage. There product page has the faults of FirstCry and checkout is inspired by BabyOye.
8. MyBabyCart: They are pretty new and traffic etc. is nothing to talk about. This Bangalore based startup should get a special mention for trying to replicate the ambiance of an offline Kids store on web, which is a complete fail.
Let us know your experience if you have ordered from any of these sites. Also let us know which one sells the cheapest. Guess it’s time for a comparison engine/aggregator site for baby product sites.
Wanna genuinely try the sites? You know what you have to do tonite! ;)
[Naman is a startup enthusiast and has worked with couple of Indian startups as Product Manager. He is the founder of FindYogi]