This eCommerce startup idea from the 1001 Startup Ideas collection of YoStartups is about building an application to conduct eCommerce Buyer Sentiment Analysis in the GCC region. The business idea is to curate user/customer reviews available online and use big data tools to analyze the sentiment for sellers/manufacturers. The startup will use web crawlers to gather reviews from websites like Amazon, Souq and other e-commerce websites and also gather reviews mentioned on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Once the reviews have been collected, it will use an algorithm to provide specific information to the seller like a percentage of positive reviews, general sentiment, and brands perception over a period.
Market Definition | eCommerce Buyer Sentiment Analysis in The GCC
Brightlocal conducted a survey and found that 88% of the customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. It was also found that only 12% of the population did not regularly read user reviews for consumer products. The survey found that 9 out of 10 customers have read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business. Some other key findings of the survey were:
– 67% of consumers said they read up to 6 reviews (vs 77% in 2013)
– 85% of consumers said they read up to 10 reviews (vs 92% in 2013)
– 7% of consumers said they read 20+ reviews (vs 2% in 2013)
– 72% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
Based on another survey done by effectivemeasure.com for GCC countries, 33% of the buyers frequently browse and research online products before even making an in-store purchase. This further highlights the importance of managing brand reputation over the Internet, and the first step towards it is to understand the buyer sentiment.
Competitor Analysis | eCommerce Buyer Sentiment Analysis in The GCC
As the proposed solution is software based, it will see competition from similar products around the world. At the same time, the startup can learn a great deal from the competitors.
Some of the companies providing tracking of social media mentions are Hootsuite and Social Mention and Social Pilot. While ReviewTrackers is another company which monitors all your online reviews and collate it on a single platform. It also generates new reviews, engages your customer and lets you listen and respond to their comments to discover key business insights.
Pain Point & Target Audience for This eCommerce Startup Idea
The targeted customer market for this business is “sellers and manufacturers of consumer products with a digital presence.” The data above in “market definition” throws light on how much importance is given to a user review and how important it can be for an enterprise/organization to make sure it responds to all user reviews and use the feedback to make a premium quality product. Tracking user reviews is the most important thing today, and companies end up spending an enormous amount on hiring staff for tracking reviews on every website. A user review management tool can make tracking of reviews easier, efficient and save cost.
Value Proposition for This eCommerce Startup Idea
As mentioned above, the products available in the market are not comprehensive. Some provide only social media mentions tracking, and some provide review site tracking. This solution will not only provide a complete solution where both social media and website reviews can be monitored, but the site will also offer a big data tool to provide essential information about changes and improvements that can be made to the consumer products to provide better products to customers.
Business Model for This eCommerce Startup Idea
The tool can be offered to the customers on a subscription-based model with a bundle of services. The subscription plans can include review analysis, sentiment, and big data services by the company. The startup should keep a freemium plan in their offering to make potential customers get an experience of the product.
Way to Market | eCommerce Buyer Sentiment Analysis in The GCC
The startup should start with devising their social media listening and web crawler tool, and link it with the popular social media channels, e-commerce platforms, and review websites. Then it should curate reviews of various products and create a data repository.
Apart from doing the standard digital marketing for their product, the startup should try to tie-up with the upcoming e-commerce platforms and integrate the solution with the platform to offer to the sellers. This will help them access bulk users without incurring much expense for marketing.
Milestones for This eCommerce Startup Idea
The first milestone in operationalizing this eCommerce Startup idea would be to collect data and build an algorithm to aggregate the sentiment reflected in customer reviews, most of the sites aggregate numbers and would be a good idea to pick words written in the review and convert them into positive/ negative sentiments.
The second milestone in operationalizing this eCommerce Startup idea would be to work with manufacturers of products and large e-commerce sites to get permission to crawl their websites, most of the sites have anti-scraping provisions and could take you to court in case they have a no crawl policy.
The third milestone in operationalizing this eCommerce Startup idea would be to identify a cohort that has high sales and where you can get the tie-up structured with the manufacturers, online sellers and e-commerce platforms.
Investment Needed For Prototyping This eCommerce Startup Idea
For testing & building the prototype, pitch for raising 125 – 250K USD from angel investors or incubators like 500 startups, Y Combinator, etc. The startups can also access the regional investment firm Gulf Capital that has deployed over $135 million in technology and e-commerce in GCC. There should be no office rentals or salary payout; the entire budget should be apportioned for customer acquisition and technology.
Team Capability | eCommerce Buyer Sentiment Analysis in The GCC
You would need to have an eCommerce and a tech expert as co-founders. In addition to this having a co-founding member who has an advanced degree in statistics would add immense value.
Investors / Expert Take | eCommerce Buyer Sentiment Analysis in The GCC
One of the companies in this segment, Review Trackers obtained USD 2M Series A. This is a very significant segment and could garner long-term interest from investors. Once you test waters and complete the product market fit, you can approach Investors like Sequoia, Gulf Capital, Insight Venture Partners, Accel Partners, and OMERS Ventures.
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