Facebook + e-commerce + economic boom = a winning formula for a startup? BazzApp is betting on it.
Based in Brazil, BazzApp is an online marketplace that lets users buy, sell and exchange products via Facebook. Its transparent and interactive platform is completely curated by users. Tightly integrated with Facebook, it allows customers to rate products and sellers by liking, sharing and commenting. BazzApp is the first business of its kind in Brazil.
Lucas Aragão and Elisa Melecchi founded BazzApp earlier this year. Former employees of stand-out Brazilian startup Peixe Urbano, the two were inspired to give it a go with their own enterprise. They observed Facebook’s fast takeoff in Brazil as well as the rise of shops on fan pages. Moreover, Melecchi herself had sold fashion items on the social network in the past and noted a need for a solid tool to help her to do so. With this, BazzApp was born.
The beta version of the application was launched just three months ago. Since that time, it has reached more than 100,000 fans and averages 450 daily visits. There are currently over 500 vendors registered on the platform and upwards of 4,000 product listings. BazzApp has taken an especially strong hold in the areas of fashion, clothes, shoes and accessories and is especially popular among young women. Its fast growth can be attributed, at least in part, to the market’s high content virality.
Aragão, who now acts as the CEO of BazzApp, spoke with us about the startup, touching on his experiences at Peixe Urbano, market competitors, and the decision to build a Facebook-dependent product.
Emily Stewart: What role did your experience at Peixe Urbano play in founding and forming your own startup?
Lucas Aragão: I think I would not have been able to found BazzApp had I not worked at Peixe Urbano. It gave me the opportunity to work with amazing people and learn how to build and scale a solid product with a clear value proposition for users. A few of my former colleagues are now advisors to BazzApp and are people who believe in me and are helping me to do well with the company. Some of the most important lessons I learned at Peixe Urbano were to never be afraid of trying something new, to launch things fast to see the results (then fix or move on), and to never forget what your true value proposition is for your users.
ES: Who are your biggest competitors? How does BazzApp stand apart from the rest?
LA: This market is still very new, and there is no consolidated player yet. There are a few companies exploring the possibilities of social commerce, but no one has quite figured out yet how to make social commerce take off. The way we differentiate ourselves is in our approach to user experience and to vendor capabilities. We focus on the marketplace – on helping our users find new trending products. From a vendor’s perspective, we believe existing models for building an online store are way too complicated. We believe this process should be easy enough to be done with one or two clicks, and this is how we are building our product. Right now, you can already create your own store in BazzApp with just one step – it takes less than a minute, whether you are a store looking to sell hundreds of items or just an individual who has a few things to sell.
ES: Why choose to build a product for Facebook? Why not try to do something independently or through another platform?
LA: We want to create an environment of trust, of being able to shop while chatting with your friends in real time, things you can only do on Facebook. Also, when users are on Facebook, they don’t want to be taken elsewhere. If we build a platform outside of Facebook, we would be creating extra steps in the process, which would deteriorate the overall user experience – the very focus of what BazzApp is all about. We want shopping on BazzApp to resemble what it’s like to go shopping in the real world, where you are hanging out with your friends and people you trust, relying on their feedback to make a purchasing decision.
Moving forward, the BazzApp team will continue to improve user experience and deepen Facebook integration, adding new features for product discovery and distribution. A mobile app as well as English and Spanish versions of BazzApp are on the horizon as well. Currently, the company is on the lookout for investors to help them to build and scale their product in the months and years ahead.