In a bid to expand its footprint in India, Chinese giant Alibaba has launched a new social commerce app called Yoli.
The service, currently available on Android, draws on the core strength of the Jack Ma-owned company and claims to provide an easy-to-use way to bag tempting deals online.
Here's all you need to know about it.
An affiliate platform for deals across leading stores
Yoli works as an affiliate platform (like BuyHatke and CashKaro) and provides access to deals across a range of online stores, including Amazon, Snapdeal, Flipkart, Myntra, Nykaa, Paytm Mall, Tata CLiQ, Purplle, Firstcry, and BigBasket.
However, according to sources familiar with Alibaba's plans, the company will eventually transform the service into a video commerce app, much like BulBul and SimSim.
You can buy products, win gift cards
In the current avatar, Yoli lists 'Hot deals' and deals 'Under Rs. 99' - sourced from different stores.
You can search for specific products, add them to the wishlist, and even collect 'Yoli' reward points for performing different actions on the app, like browsing products or just logging into the app.
These points can ultimately be redeemed for Amazon, Flipkart gift cards.
Videos will highlight products, offer buying options
While it remains unclear how Yoli's video commerce plan will pan out, the sources told Entrackrthat the capability would be similar to other video commerce platforms.
The app will show products in engaging clips and offer a button to buy them alongside. From this link, the viewer will be redirected to the sellers' website, where they can continue with their purchase.
Plan to become video-centric affiliate by June-July
The sources also noted that Alibaba is in talks with several production houses to prepare shopping-focused videos and make Yoli video-centric by June-July this year.
While the plan makes sense for an affiliate platform, Alibaba has not confirmed the case, saying it "will not be able to comment on market speculation."
Notably, in China, over 50% of Alibaba sellers use video to draw shoppers.
Competition set to heat up with Yoli
Having said that, Yoli's transition into a video-only affiliate will heat up the competition in the influencer-based video commerce space, which, as we mentioned, already has players like BulBul and SimSim.
Apart from these two, the Alibaba-owned platform will also go against EkAnek, another social commerce start-up that recently raked $10 million in a seed round of funding.