Bulbul: Wooing Rural Online Shoppers through Video-commerce

Bulbul: Wooing Rural Online Shoppers through Video-commerce
Case Code: CLMM163
Case Length: 8 Pages
Period: 2018-2021
Pub Date: 2021
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.200
Organization: Bulbulshop Shopping Network Private Limited
Industry: Retailing
Countries: India
Themes: Digital Marketing, Rural Markets, Consumer Behavior, E-commerce
Bulbul: Wooing Rural Online Shoppers through Video-commerce


The case study ‘Bulbul: Wooing Rural Online Shoppers Through Video-commerce’ describes how Bulbul.tv (Bulbul),India’s first live commerce (or social commerce) mobile application,was developed by Bulbulshop Shopping Network Private Limited (Bulbulshop) to woo first time online shoppers in rural India. The case focuses on the factors that led to the rapid surge in the number of rural internet users with 264 million people in rural India having access to the internet in 2019 as against 186 million in 2017.

The case then describes the online consumer behavior patterns of rural Indians that Bulbul’s founders identified, leading to the creation of a novel e-commerce platform that replicated the traditional offline shopping experience to the extent possible. Next, the case describes the business model of Bulbulshop, starting with the way the company tested its unique business model before launching the Bulbul app in the market; the description of the Bulbul app, the conscious use of micro-influencers to promote products, the product sourcing, and its customer-centric approach.

Finally, the case touches upon the partnerships that Bulbulshop forged with technology players to expand its business; the company’s future plans of transforming micro-influencers into key business drivers; the launch of several activities on the Bulbul app to capitalize on the rapidly growing Indian social commerce sector; and plans to introduce private label products in the Indian rural market.


  • Gain an understanding of social commerce and factors driving it in India.
  • Explore the vast, untapped potential of India’s rural e-commerce markets.
  • Learn about the cultural, social, and psychological factors influencing consumer behavior in rural India.
  • Become aware of the use of technology to follow a customer-centric approach and efficiently source and deliver products to rural Indians.
  • Learn about micro-influencers and how they retain and earn the loyalty of e-consumers in rural India.


Bulbul.tv (Bulbul), India’s first live commerce (or social commerce) mobile application, registered a conversion rate of around 7-8% while traditional, well-entrenched e-commerce players in the country registered a conversion rate of just around 2-3% in 2020. Within 7 months of the launch of the app, developed by Bulbulshop Shopping Network Private Limited (Bulbulshop), 10 million minutes of video content were consumed by viewers who posted 1 million comments. The videos garnered 6 million shares and 1.4 million likes. The app was launched in March 2019 and within six months it registered 400,000 transactions and a Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) of INR150 million, serving more than 280,000 customers. In 2019-2020, Bulbulshop reported revenue of INR45 million..


Platform business models; E-commerce; Social commerce; Rural markets; Positive unit economics; Customer experience; Influencer marketing; Rural consumers; Consumer behavior; Channel Partnerships; Content marketing; Digital marketing

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