In the latest advertisement by Amazon, a seller from Jaipur describes how his business changed as he joined with Amazon seller service and started selling products on the platform. Flipkart, the biggest e-commerce platform, has also run similar stories on the power of its platform.
But, not everyone agrees with the claims of Amazon, Flipkart, and others.
Anurag Avula, co-founder and CEO, Shopmatic believes that the problem for small businesses and entrepreneurs is that even though e-commerce has been a growing industry, the benefits of the increased trade through the e-commerce biggies are not being evenly distributed.
Larger sellers and brands have captured large sections of the market and smaller players lack the resources and knowledge to compete with them. Thus, it becomes indispensable for others to launch an independent online platform.
Launched in 2016, Shopmatic, a platform that helps business owners sell their products and services online, aims to leverage technology to even the playing field. From developing a unique web store to listing businesses on marketplaces and social media channels to giving insights on how to sell online, Shopmatic helps business owners manage the full spectrum of what is required to grow their businesses.
Transforming small bizs in real
The platform takes pride in its effort for helping the likes of Neha Ailawadi, the owner of Weald Heritage, to take her small soap manufacturing venture into a full-time operation with customers across the country. She is joined by Kikki Sukreka, the owner of Ethnic by Sureka, who also transformed her fashion and Bubble Store with the help of the platform.
“Since joining, these businesses have catered to several customers outside their usual target markets, gained greater orders and revenue, and are using these funds to expand their business into new directions,” said Avula.
He added the businesses have seen over 300 per cent growth after joining the online world via Shopmatic.
Besides, Shopmatic claims to have offered service to over 100,000 sellers so far; and is adding 150-200 new sellers every day. It is now targeting having 300,000 to 400,000 sellers on the platform by this time next year. The number of sellers on Shopmatic has been growing by 200 per cent year-on-year.
The businesses on the platform come from nearly every mass-market consumer industry. “Most of our users are people who are running small retail businesses, but there are also several home-based entrepreneurs looking to monetize their talent. Today, our platform also caters to people who bake cakes, pack and sell pickles, and even teach yoga,” said Avula.
How Shopmatic churns out revenue
While Shopmatic claims to enable thousands of business, the platform makes money via commission.
It offers services such as online listing, store hosting, and others to sellers through subscription. It also provides a subscription-based service called Shopmatic Pro which offers additional benefits like access to shipping and logistics integration, data analytics, discount engines, and effective promotional tools.
Growing with market size
The online e-commerce market size is expected to hit an astronomical $1 trillion by 2022. Within this, the Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment is expected to grow at the highest CAGR of 20.1 per cent between 2017 and 2022.
With over 50 million small businesses in India and millions of individual sellers and entrepreneurs looking to realise their online business dreams, the country is destined to be a great driver of this growth industry. “Thus, Shopmatic is poised to become a leader in the Indian market for the digital transformation of these businesses and is currently focused on expanding its customer base in India and the Asia Pacific region. We have just entered the UAE market and are planning to enter 7-9 markets by end of the year,” said Avula.
Taking challenges head-on
Though the market is expanding exponentially, Shopmatic faces some perennial challenges in the form of resistance posed by people. It means that people aren’t always open to new ways of doing things. And it is addressing this challenge by offering the simplest form of technology to its users.
Talking about the launch of independent online platforms, “Though the multi-platform approach is the most effective way for businesses to increase visibility and drive greater sales, it is difficult to manage for the average business owner that we cater to. The platform resolves this problem by offering easy single-click listing and automated inventory management.”
Enabling online channel for SMEs is undoubtedly a massive opportunity. And, many players including Infibeam (via Buildabazaar), Zepo, Kartrocket, StoreHippo and Shopify have been offering full stack solution for small merchants. However, none of them actually has found a stable ground in the local market as SMEs don’t see much traction and transaction happening in their online stores.
Over-dependence on brick & mortar format and lack of focus and understanding of online channel are major reasons for the pale interest of merchants in web stores.
Shopmatic’s emphasis on equipping homepreneurs with web stores is also not new. Kartrocket, as well as Shopo (Snapdeal’s portfolio), had tried cracking this segment. But, they failed to find the firm foot. The company will require to find some innovative ways to convince and make a meaningful platform for homepreneurs.