SHEROES network putting the ‘social’ in commerce | HT Brand Leadership Series

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SHEROES network putting the ‘social’ in commerce

  • Sairee Chahal
  • August 30, 2019

The general narrative in the media today is that social commerce is the future of ecommerce. Probably true. But social commerce is also a predecessor to ecommerce, and women have played instrumental roles in growing those narratives. Brands such as Tupperware and Oriflame revolutionised social commerce way before the Internet was born, putting women at the centre of their models, not just as consumers but as business women, too. These models were transformational at many levels, helping women become financially independent, grow their personal and professional networks, and become ambassadors of innovative products.

Social commerce experienced a rebirth when tech-enabled businesses reinvented it for the digital world. On one hand, reselling apps such as Meesho, Glowroad and 101shop have developed a supply chain of ready-to-market products across categories. On the other hand, social selling platforms such as Little Red Book, Xiaohungshu, and PoshMark were inspired by real-life stories of consumers struggling to acquire products that matched their needs, budgets, and aspirations. Reselling apps offer an opportunity for enterprising men and women with some business acumen and drive, to style themselves as successful business men and women, while social selling platforms bring in authentic sharing of lived consumer experiences, triggering conversations and commerce.

In this ecosystem, SHEROES has emerged as an unexpected outlier where members have themselves triggered and embraced social commerce via peer-to-peer conversations. Those marketing their products and services have varying profiles– entrepreneurs, creators, resellers, service providers, and marketing agents for certain businesses. Lingerie, beauty products, mosquito repellents, menstrual wellness products, baby products, jewellery and clothing, home décor and art are categories that have emerged albeit organically, and by demand from the members on the platform.

Rules of engagement

What are some of the core values of this ecosystem? There’s a high equity placed on credibility and trust—knowing who you are buying from, as well as the ability to have personal conversations around your needs, getting advice and recommendations, and creating value for the consumer.
Anita, a homemaker and a self-made business woman based in Dehra Dun, is a representative for an FMCG beauty brand, a Himalayan salt products company, and a branded bag company. She is also a reseller. As a SHEROES member, she has been able to establish her identity as a business woman, and cultivate a growing audience of women buyers who actively post review stories following a satisfactory purchase.

Yet, her identity on SHEOES is not limited. She’s an active participant in multiple communities and conversations from fashion to health, and this also feeds into her identity as an active member of the platform.

Storytelling and design

The user experience on SHEROES—both from a seller and a buyer’s perspective—is radically different from existing ecommerce platforms, where design can vary from convenient, static and functional, to impersonal and uninspiring.
On SHEROES, product and service marketing happens via conversational posts, poetry, short videos, photo stories, polls and user-generated communities. Customer “delight” reflects in review posts, accompanied by the hashtag #SHEReviews; you can tell they’re having fun sharing these stories, taking care to compose good photographs, videos and stories, to echo their consumer experience.
Another aspect that’s highly valued by consumers is the personal advisory delivered by the seller – which shade of lipstick complements the consumer, what travel package is right for a first-time solo traveller, is a natural product organic or not, is a baby product safe to use, etc. Sellers offer a potential customer two to five options, and play an instrumental role in the choice of purchase. They educate them about the features, materials used, and usage tips; it’s an immersive, engaging experience, with user satisfaction as cornerstones.

Menstrual products, lingerie, reproductive hygiene and intimate wellness products especially find a focused space in this ecosystem, as they trigger conversations not typically possible on social platforms due to stigmas and judgement.

Building the culture

Educating sellers and business women about the guidelines around engagement, as well as leveraging AI and ML for a superior social commerce experience, are investments made by SHEROES in the platform. This is a space where quality and trust has a higher equity than speed and discounts, and the building of this culture is an important aspect.

Of course, not all purchases are successful (that would happen in the fairytale version). There can be disappointments and delivery mix-ups. However, the success of social commerce lies in aspects like personal touch and business done in good faith.

Comprehensive support ecosystem

The SHEROES ecosystem also has additional benefits, social commerce being just one aspect. Learning resources, peer-to-peer learning, mentorship and support are available, and business woman can join communities of their interests to upskill their business acumen. They can leverage the free-to-use counselling chat helpline in times of stress to keep motivated. They also celebrate their wins and milestones, and grow their audiences via communities and SHEROES profiles.

Today, women control $36 million in spending, and as more women get onto the selling side, this volume is slated to grow. We recently had a 60-something homemaker-turned-entrepreneur reach out to understand how she can leverage social commerce to grow her brand. There are almost no platforms that offer a safe space for women entrepreneurs of multiple scales, geographies and categories to venture and groom themselves into stellar business women. We’re seeing both Gen Z and the senior woman entrepreneurs taking those steps on SHEROES and that’s going to really move the needle when it comes to digital and financial inclusion for women in India.


SHEROES is a women-only social network accessible via and the SHEROES app, offering over 1000 communities, a free-to-use counselling chat helpline, resources, mentorship, peer-to-peer conversations, and a marketplace.  SHEROES is reimagining how women use, experience and benefit from the internet. It is aligned to using internet as a tool for change, especially for women in high gender gap countries. It is a space for appreciation, recognition, growth, and interactions. Safety, empathy, and trust are tenets that have been built into the platform at every level.

Sairee Chahal
Founder & CEO, SHEROES

An Aspen Leadership Fellow, Sairee is India’s foremost evangelist for a safe, constructive, high-trust Women’s Internet. Under her leadership, the SHEROES network is set up to impact over 100 million women in the next decade. She is on the Board of Directors of Paytm Payments Bank. She is a recipient of the Devi Award, Femina Achievers Award, Editor’s choice for L’Oreal, Femina Women’s Award and Business Today, Most Powerful Women in Indian Business.