Decoding Wooplr’s Failure and Key Factors that Led to Its Downfall


Wooplr’s case study will give you an insight related to how a creamy startup with all great ideas can demise. The main reasons for the downfall of Wooplr and what can be possible learning outcomes we could get by understanding it.

Wooplr – a social commerce platform. It used to connect individuals who are fashion enthusiasts with various brands and products, their working model revolved around a most common issue that every fashion enthusiast faces is what to wear and from where to buy.

As we know that the Indian market is very rich with customers but it works on the ‘ROBO’ effect (research online and buy offline). Wooplr took the first mover advantage and launched itself to solve this problem.

  • Social circle: Users discover things from the genuine recommendations of their friends and family.
  • Location: Users could know about the trending shops and buyers based on their current location.
  • Interest: Users get recommendations according to their tastes and preference.

For businesses, Wooplr used to provides a service that allows businesses to grow and reach on a larger scale.

How Wooplr started and when?

So Wooplr was started by 4 employees of McAfee company in 2013 named Praveen Rajaratnam, Ankit Sabharwal, Arjun Sabharwal, Arun Zachariah, and Soumen Sarkar. When they started Wooplr was initially a product discovery platform where they mainly targeted food, fashion, and decor.  Unfortunately, their business model didn’t work out and they shifted it to a reselling platform.

Wooplr's Founders
Wooplr’s Founders

Later on, within 2 months of launch, they received tremendous response, they gained 8000 users online and approx 2000 downloads on a daily basis from Android and iOS apps collectively. 

After gaining quick success in Bangalore Wooplr moved towards other big cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata etc.

Wooplr’s business model

Wooplr’s business model revolves around a commission-based revenue model. They used to charge a commission from sellers and brands both on each sale. The brand pays a commission of 15-20% whereas the social sellers earned a commission of 60%.

Let us dive deep into all aspects of the Wooplr’s business model.

  1. Product discovery and curation: Wooplr used a variety of algorithms to show results according to users’ preferences and interests. It helped the consumer to get exact information without searching here and there.
  2. Shipping and logistics: Wooplr handled all the shipping and logistics for brands and social sellers, this ensures that buyers will get timely delivery and brands and sellers will also know that their product will reach hassle-free.
  3. Payment and refunds: Wooplr also made payment and refunds easy for its customer and handled all this by itself without the involvement of sellers.

Wooplr’s marketing model

Wooplr’s marketing model was based on influencing commerce. It creates links between brands and influencers, who then promote their products. Wooplr earns a commission with each sale done through influencer promotion.

Wooplr also used other marketing channels such as social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization.

 Some specific marketing strategies which Wooplr followed  

  • Content marketing: Wooplr created various blogs post, infographics and videos which were designed to attract influencers and their followers.
  • Social media marketing: Wooplr arranged various champions to generate excitement and engagement on the platform, it also used social media ads to target its desired audience.
  • Email marketing: Wooplr used its database and sent its customers regular updates via email related to sales, offers, new trends, and many more.

BUT! If everything was perfect, then what went wrong?

Factors contributing to Wooplr’s demise

Factors Contributing to Demise
Factors Contributing to Wooplr’s Demise

1. Limited scalability

The platform in its initial phase builds interest in people to explore and share their idea and also buy at the same time but this was not enough as the business environment is quite dynamic, one has to keep making changes to make it alive and here Wooplr failed. 

It was not able to create new fascinating ideas which will help its consumers to keep their interest alive, Hence its scalability is quite limited.

2. No proper USP

Wooplr lacked behind in order to make itself different from any other prominent players in the market. Despite the social shopping experience it provided it failed to make a recurring buyers base.

3. Noticeable operational and technical issues

Wooplr encountered technical and operational difficulties, their management was not up to the mark and poor shopping experience leads consumers to shift to other platforms.

4. Lack of funds

According to some resources, Wooplr also faced fund shortages. They were unable to find the right deal and this also became one of the main reasons for Wooplr’s failure. 

Lessons you should learn

1. Plans do not guarantee success

One should always keep this in mind that just ideas and execution of the idea is not enough for a business to grow, it requires constant effort, and adapting to new trends and environments is very crucial.

2. Finding a proper UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION (USP)

Every business must research and understand why they’re doing this and what new problem they’re solving as just copying someone else’s idea will never make our business different from theirs and ultimately consumers will only attract innovative ideas.

3. Proper operational and technical solutions

For a new startup, it is very crucial to build consumer trust and proper management plays an important role in creating that, maintaining proper records and a good customer communication system always helps a business to grow.

4. Raising good funds and utilizing them correctly

Raising funds comes with a huge responsibility and utilizing it adds up to it. One should always calculate all the aspects and understand properly before using that amount as it can MAKE IT OR BREAK IT

Conclusion

The case of Wooplr came as a valuable lesson for all the upcoming startups in the fashion industry. By learning from its failure you should take notes on what needs to be done and implement strategies that solve the underline issue, you can increase your chances of building sustainable and successful businesses.


Suraj Shrivastava

Suraj Shrivastava at ForgeFusion shares simple, effective ways to grow your business using SEO, content marketing, and AI, learned from helping over 50 companies. When he’s not working, he loves teaching others or watching documentaries.

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