Leuk, an attempt at localising e-commerce
Driven by rising incomes, greater variety of goods and services, and the ever-increasing internet and mobile penetration has made purchasing online convenient to consumers all over the country. From making e-payments for water and electricity to sending gifts and purchasing household goods, everything seems to have taken an online avatar.
The recent changes in the purchasing behaviour in India now poses a threat to physical retail shops. In order to help digitize Indian local commerce and create a platform for ease in accessing information pertaining to local shops, restaurants, bars, events and offers, Webloom Solutions, a digital media and design company started in Manipal, released its first product – an android-based app called Leuk. “There is a high threat to local shops due to e-commerce companies which has reduced their sales because e-commerce companies offer convenience and a lot more information regarding their offers on products. There is a separate app for every single thing which takes up a lot of space on your phone. The whole point of the app was to bring everything to one platform,” said Shashank Jha, Founder of Webloom Solutions.
The app was designed mainly for people between 18-30 years, who love to shop online, go out and usually purchase food online. Leuk has tie-ups with various restaurants and shops in Manipal and Gurgaon. They have also begun ticketing services for events including Comikaze VII by Dramanon. Through the app, the user can avail various discount offers at restaurants like Manipal Fried Chicken and China Town. There is also a recommendation engine which tells you what food made the most sales. It provides the user with information regarding offers, reviews, ratings, menus and phone numbers. Currently, they have also got Apoorva mess and Campus grill on board, and are working with them to get more delivery orders.
The Leuk team is divided into several departments and the sales team usually approaches the restaurants and stores. Initially, the team faced difficulties with building such a large database, apart from financial constraints. “We scraped out all the data that we got on the Internet and then targeted the ones that suited our interests. It was relatively easier for us in Manipal, because if you are a student, they know you are genuine,” added Shashank.
The start-up culture in Manipal has witnessed a major boost in recent years, especially since the inception of the Manipal University Technology Business Incubator (MUTBI), located at the Innovation Centre. It aims to nurture innovation and entrepreneurship skills among students by providing initial capital, office spaces and other facilities. “To be honest, when I started off, there were very few start-ups and today there are plenty. The major problem with most of these start-ups is that they feel they need more resources, but what they should focus on is getting in a quality workforce. We need people to begin more start-ups in Manipal because it helps you learn a lot and it gives you courage. I believe the start-up culture in Manipal is brilliant right now, and MUTBI has been very supportive,” said Shashank.
Ever since Leuk was launched, there have been around 900 downloads for the app. “People loved the concept, and there are just few bugs that need to be fixed. We are working to eliminate these issues. We want to become the one and only platform for everything. Once we reach our target and we know that we have a significant market capital, we want to become an advertising platform for local stores to help them reach their target audience,” added Shashank.
In the interest of transparency, The Manipal Journal is in association with Webloom Solutions. You can download the app here