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NEW DELHI: AdTech giant InMobi’s video-sharing platform Roposo will not compete in the crowded short-video market. The company, instead, has introduced live commerce on the platform beginning Wednesday, and said it will sharpen focus on live video and commerce in the coming months.

Roposo was acquired by Glance in 2019 and it turned unicorn earlier this year. The shift in its strategy will bring content from Roposo onto the Glance lock screen platform, while the company’s recent acquisition of Shop 101 is being used to build the commerce features.

The new live commerce feature is similar to the parent platform’s shift to live video, in the sense that both platforms now focus on the same video format. Mansi Jain, vice president and general manager of Roposo, told Mint that while short videos will remain on the app, the company will focus more on live-commerce led video.

With the move, creators will be able to build their own “pop stores" and create content around that product. For instance, a fashion designer can create videos about their products, and sell their latest collections, masterclasses, tips and more through the attached stores. Jain said it will be like a “virtual mall", replicating the experience of a physical mall, where customers go not just for shopping but also for entertainment.

“It was important that we not only have the content and entertainment dna via Roposo for creators to do this, but also give them the identity of having their own pop store. It changes a creator who was just creating content and getting paid for it, versus owning a business built on it," said Piyush Shah, co-founder of InMobi Group and President and COO of Glance.

According to Jain, live commerce is big in China, having become a $50 billion market in the US. A June 2021 report from market research firm Redseer noted that live commerce could become a $4-5 billion market in India by 2025. Jain said the pivot to live video was important to Roposo to increase revenues per user (RPU), adding more monetisation routes other than regular social media advertising.

Shah said that entertainment and commerce is an important part of Glance’s future strategy, and the combination of Roposo and Shop 101 is “running that" for Glance. “You can safely see us investing deeply in commerce, very deeply on gaming and investing very deeply on expanding this globally," he said, adding that the $145 million funding round will be used for these purposes.

Jain said that the platform is being launched in India right now and will expand to South-East Asia and the US in future. It is focusing on Indian creators right now, but will look to leverage creators across countries. Shop 101 will handle the logistics and fulfilment part of e-commerce, while Roposo handles the discovery part of things.

“It was very important for Glance as a group to have a strong monetization play," said Shah. “That’s why we knew that while advertising is an area where we’re already strong at, we had to have a commerce player to have a much stickier monetization plan. So it’s not like we jump on the TikTok clone frenzy, but be fundamental in the way we look at the whole thing," he added.

He also noted that live video will bring in a new way of ad-targeting for social platforms. Short-video platforms have so far been driven by TikTok’s interest-based recommendations, which understand what users engage with and recommend videos accordingly. With live commerce, the targeting mechanisms will change to an “influence-graph", which not only engages users for consuming content but also coaxes them to buy. “It’s the influence to buying graph that we’re creating, which is very different from classical content recommendation," he said.

The platform will also have a reward programme through something called Roposo Coins now. This will allow users to buy virtual coins to purchase products on the platform. While this is not a cryptocurrency yet, Jain said the company has been watching the crypto space with interest and may explore that medium in future as well.

As for the products on the platform, Jain said, Roposo has over 250 new-age D2C brands on the platform and over 1000 premium creators and celebrities who will start creating their own stores and picking up products from the brands. Roposo has 30 million monthly active users in India right now, while Glance has over 150 million daily active users, and the company will encourage live format video going forward.

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