Two weeks ago, I was in Beirut visiting my parents. One day, my mom and I decided to go shopping - she needed a few summer dresses and my friend had told me about a shop in a tucked away street in Ashrafieh. At first, it looked like any other clothing store: jeans on the shelves, t-shirts hung on the rails in the back, a summer sale collection on the right. As we walked in, we were greeted by two sales ladies. My mom tried on a few dresses and as were debating if the dress is a perfect fit or not, Nadine (one of the sales ladies) came over and pinched the dress on the sides: “it needs a cm or two on each side, I’ll get that marked and fixed for you,” she simply said. I looked around and I heard Mary (the other sales lady) chatting to what seemed like a regular customer because she was asking her about her daughter. Nadine took such good care of my mom, she was attentive, nice, welcoming and kept showing her dresses and telling her not to worry about the adjustments: everything can be fixed to size. My mom bought four dresses and I recommended the store to three other friends. The experience reminded me of how shopping was before big malls, fast fashion and the internet.
The way people interact with each other is constantly changing, so is how we do business. Before the internet and eCommerce websites, the only way someone could buy something was by interacting with another person to inquire, negotiate, and/or customize. Business was purely a human to human interaction. With the advent of the internet and technology, businesses shifted to eCommerce websites and in the past decade relied more and more heavily on that. Business became transactional, removing the human aspect from it completely. However, business is a very personal thing. I read somewhere that most of the time, people end up buying feelings and not items or products- and that couldn’t be more true. You go to the same coffee shop everyday because you like the way you are greeted by the staff: they remember your name and order- even if their coffee is not the best. I would go to that store in Ashrafieh again because of Nadine and Mary and the experience they provided- even if perhaps their collection is not as eclectic as Zara’s.
What if there was a way to replicate that on a bigger scale? What if we could create personalized human-to-human experiences? What if we can create that feeling with technology and combine the best of both worlds? Actually we can. And that’s what Zbooni is. Zbooni enables THAT feeling and brings back the essence of business, the personal aspect of it.
No, I am in no way alluding that Zbooni created a new form of doing business. With the rise of social media and messaging apps, things shifted once more very organically to a new mode of commerce: cCommerce or connected commerce as we like to call it at Zbooni (you can read our cCommerce report here). Stores now have social media pages to showcase their products because this is where their customers are. eCommerce websites alone are no longer enough. People want interaction, they want reveals, reviews, they want to ask about prices and see if they can customize an item. People want to chat. And now you can do your entire business on chat: send your product or service list, perhaps your summer sale, you can collect payments, you can engage with your customers and get to know their likes and dislikes and suggest a curated collection for them- all while having analytics and insights on every aspect of your business to help you stay ahead and plan.
Zbooni was founded 6 years ago to allow businesses a better selling experience on social and messaging apps while also enabling them to scale and grow their business. Zbooni is Mary and Nadine, or Jamil at starbucks that knows your order- but instead of reaching only two customers who are physically present in the store, Zbooni gives them the tools and opportunity to reach the hundreds of us who are busy, plastered on our phone but want the same tailored experience and human connection.