March 10, 2016
Remember that DOH! moment when you were just a few steps away from home and you realized that you forgot to buy something nice for your spouse for the special event you would be celebrating that evening? What was your first reaction? Don’t jump back into your car and drive to the first nearby store – not yet. There is the Bazaar Chat app that could help you; all you have to do is take out your smartphone.
Bazaar Chat aims to make shopping more fun and interactive. The idea behind the app is that you are stepping into a virtual bazaar, just like in real life, but this time you have a virtual assistant that will assist you in your search.
No matter in which part of the world you are you, Bazaar Chat will connect you with local sellers and service providers. Just ask Sera (your assistant) about something you are looking for, and she will start indexing sellers based on your keyword.
From that moment on, the ball is in your court: You can check out the seller and his/her products and start a conversation. Actually, this is similar to the online chat you get in different shops which help you decide on your purchase.
The catch is Bazaar Chat aims to connect the buyer with shops, businesses, retailers, and brands from local and online markets. Based on what you are looking for, Bazaar Chat reaches out to relevant sellers – the keywords you use play a key role in this process – and invite them to join the platform to engage with you and fulfill your requests.
During my testing I wasn’t able to get in touch with any of the targeted sellers, and Sera returned shops and businesses which were nearby based on my search. All results were relevant, so it did a good job there, but the conversational part didn’t really work out . . . yet. The potential is there, but to deliver the customer experience you’d expect from such app, it needs to grow and convince those sellers and businesses to sign up for Bazaar.
The platform works both ways: you can sign up as a buyer or as a seller. For buyers, this means a process involving their phone number and a security code sent to that number. For sellers, Bazaar Chat provides an easy way to set up a store. It only takes a minute, and your shop is live – just start adding products.
I can imagine that this would work with small merchants or professionals, as they can manufacture products in the comfort of their home, for example, and sell them using the Bazaar Chat app which connects them with potential buyers. It’s important to mention that Bazaar Chat won’t charge the seller any fees; it allows him/her to choose the payment method using the preferred channels. Bazaar provides only the platform connecting buyers and sellers. That’s all. It remains to be seen, however, how they will monetize their service.
Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the user interface, but that’s something the developers can polish in future updates. If you like the idea of selling products using a smartphone app that invites you to chat with your buyer, download Bazaar Chat for iOS (Android version coming soon).
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