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Building Big Companies In India Has Become Easy, Says Magicpin’s Co-Founder And CEO Anshoo Sharma 

Where earlier the company had to create demand for its merchant partners, it can now fast-track this journey using the ONDC platform, making it a win-win situation for everyone 

Building Big Companies In India Has Become Easy, Says Magicpin’s Co-Founder And CEO Anshoo Sharma 
Anshoo Sharma, CEO and co-founder of Magicpin
POSTED ON August 29, 2023 10:15 AM

The buzz about artificial intelligence (AI) has swept nearly all sectors globally. Consumer-facing e-commerce platforms are leveraging data to improve their business and customer experience. From the global giant Amazon to the hyperlocal platform Magicpin, companies are looking for ways to increase usage of the new technology.   

In an exclusive interview with Outlook Start-Up at India Internet Day 2023 event organised by TiE Delhi-NCR, Magicpin co-founder and CEO Anshoo Sharma talks about how a substantial amount of data available is aiding the usage of AI in the company’s business. Sharma also discussed how demand is evolving in Indian markets, the impact of the partnership with Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC), what entrepreneurs should do to succeed and the viral ‘magicISRO’ billboard.  

Edited excerpts: 

How do you leverage AI in Magicpin’s day-to-day operations and business to connect the online consumer base with offline stores?    

Magicpin’s core mission is to drive discovery for offline retail. We are a hyper-local app, which is a super app of sorts since we work across fashion, beauty, food, etc. It’s a trillion-dollar market.  

The interesting thing is that the local merchants of our country, who are the backbone, are unable to advertise online because they can’t pay for views. However, they are happy to pay for business.   

The problem we are trying to solve is how we take the fast-growing online economy and plug our local merchants into it. In the last decade, the data available has exploded in so many different ways, creating a great opportunity for AI.  

We have an understanding of what our customers spend on. We asked customers to send their receipts in return for points. Through those, we got an understanding of the organic interest graph to match the users with the right local business.  

Data on our phones is exploding and analysing this data using AI is helping us connect the online economy with offline merchants.   

What consumer trends do you see on your platforms and how strong is buyer demand in tier 2 and 3 towns?  

The macro playing out in our country right now is massive. User bases have been active across all tiers.  

Everyone has WhatsApp and YouTube and is exposed to global media. Aspirations are also running high, and people want to spend. That’s a fascinating pattern.   

We are more of a city use case because we are anchored to our supply. We see participation across all sections within the cities where we operate.  

How is Magicpin’s partnership with ONDC helping it increase business for local merchants?  

It is a pretty exciting opportunity for us. We are plugging our supply to ONDC, and significant demand-side platforms like PhonePe and Paytm exist. They are giving visibility to local merchants we are bringing in.  

Previously, we had to create demand for the merchants, which continues to grow. But if I have to fast-track our journey, we can use ONDC to take our merchants to more places, which is a win-win situation for everyone.   

The large demand side guys don’t have to build the supply because we have already done that. And I don’t have to build all of that demand because we can sell on their platforms.   

What is your advice for entrepreneurs eager to start their e-commerce venture?  

We have been able to grow at 3X pace in the last year, but it has taken us time. It has taken eight years.  

For people who are starting now, the reality is that it is easier to build much bigger companies because infrastructure is getting levelled, and technology is available to everyone. So, it is essential to have a 10-year vision because it takes time and perseverance.  

A decade from now, we will be a very different country than we are currently. If new entrepreneurs are willing to commit ten years and have that long vision, then a lot can be done.   

On a lighter note, how was the ‘magicISRO’ billboard planned, which garnered a lot of attention? 

We felt so proud and wanted to do something about Chandrayaan-3’s successful landing on the lunar surface. We wanted to show our pride somehow, so we did that. It all started at 11 a.m. on the day the landing was scheduled. It was created within a few hours. 

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