Confessions of a Shopaholic Turned Tech Entrepreneur

15 Mar, 2022 - by Mya Papolu

Thank you so much for supporting me and being a part of the Brandbass journey. I am so excited to share that we are now live in the App Store with early users and customers already onboarded since our Beta launch last year. I can't thank you enough for supporting me on a personal level, from listening to the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, fundraising, and product development, to encouraging me to keep going.

The idea for Brandbass came from my well-known shopping addiction and how my love of finding the latest and greatest new trends evolved as I became a mom. Before, I loved to see what celebrity influencers were recommending, but when I became a new mom, how I shop changed. Instead of looking for new products from big-name influencers, I turned to my friends, family, and friends of friends who, like me, had kids to find out what products really worked for them. I needed people I could relate to and trusted to recommend products. I became more conscious in my shopping — shopping smaller and learning the stories behind the brands and how the materials were sourced.

Having worked with various enterprises from the Macy’s to the Nordstroms and worked on implementing checkout optimization, building gift registries, and mobile commerce applications, I became more passionate about tech and its influence on retail and e-commerce. I had an “aha” moment while sitting with a client one day, realizing that the next generation of commerce is social — commerce will be driven by digital word of mouth from your friends, friends’ friends, the everyday person who has the same interests in you. I started my social commerce journey with the goal of making it accessible to all, not just celebrities and big brands.

While working in e-commerce for major brands, I learned so much about the science of consumerism: how people shop and the psychology behind the decision-making process. Some of the projects I worked on were cart abandonment, analyzing consumer shopping habits, and using that data to help retarget customers. How many times have you decided the shirt you wanted ‘wasn't worth it’ because the checkout process was too complicated? Have you ever gotten an email offering free shipping after closing out of the checkout process?

Technology has made it easier than ever to get in the mind of your consumer and know what they want and what it takes to get them to complete the checkout process. I studied the difference in whether you abandon your cart once shipping is calculated versus closing out after seeing the product page. A free shipping code or 20% off your following purchase coupon could be the little push a customer needs.

Today, brands are having to change how they market to get consumers to their websites. The days of traditional static advertisements are being replaced by social media. When's the last time you bought something from a catalog in the mail? Now, what about from seeing a video on Instagram? Brands need digital content for their social media channels, but it must be authentic. Influencer marketing started with celebrities being paid to talk about a brand, but that quickly lost its effectiveness and realness. When I see a product or brand recommendation on a social media channel, I want it to be from someone whom I trust and relate to, so I know the product is a good fit for me. I am more likely to buy a new toy for my kid from another mom on Instagram that's a friend of a friend with only 1,200 followers than celebrities with millions of followers.

At Brandbass, we don't judge people by the size of their followers; instead, it's about their talent and ability to create videos that engage.

Over the last few years, you guys might have seen one of the many clunky prototypes I've built while juggling working a corporate job and becoming a new mom. Thank you for bearing with me through the different mockups, wireframe builds, concept pitches, and social media posts as I worked day and night to bring Brandbass to life. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen and for believing in me, believing in the impact that this will have, and for your referrals and introductions through my journey.

Today, I am so excited to say that we have come a long way, thanks to the amazing team we have built. Together, we've created a robust and scalable platform, which is now live on the App Store. (Google Play coming soon!)

I wanted to take a moment to share my journey and express my heartfelt gratitude for encouraging me along the way. I am so excited to see the impact Brandbass makes in the world.

Please share with your friends and family! We want as many brands and ambassadors as possible to benefit from this platform to help us make case studies to spread the organic word around and prove that Brandbass is the future of social commerce.