Priyanka Gusain, a 24-year old CS student, earns Rs 1 lakh a month. However, her job is not even remotely linked to corporate affairs. Rather, she is a a homeprenuer.
An artist by hobby, Gusain sells hand-crafted and painted shoes, jackets, scarves, wallets and clutches via her online shop: Zubiya.com.
Started in 2013 after completing her BCom, Gusain had a measly budget of Rs 50,000 to start the business, most of which went in purchasing the raw material.
Since there was no money for marketing, Gusain tried the social media route, which didn’t work well.
“Facebook was okay for promotion and generated queries. For making an actual sale, I needed a site that had a proper checkout system with a reliable payment gateway ,” says Gusian.
Such websites cost at least Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 to build, which obviously she could not afford.
This is where software as a service (SaaS) companies such as Shopmatic, KartRocket, BuildaBazaar, Shopify come in and rescue micro-entrepreneurs like Gusain.
By offering simple-to-use and reasonably priced ecommerce solutions, these firms help small home-based women entrepreneurs bring their business online and scale up.
They not only provide an inexpensive way to launch but also pluses like in-built payment options, brand-building and logistical support, all of which are critical for the success of an e-store initially.
“Having safe payment systems with options like cash-on-delivery and a good courier service that delivers on time goes a long way,” says Gusain.
“On the platform we have 40% female and 60% male entrepreneurs. Of the 40%, 60% opt for the least-cost plan as their startup capital involved is less than Rs 5 lakh,” says Saahil Goel, CEO, KartRocket.
The basic plans cost upwards from just Rs 1,000 and the tools take care of the entire ecosystem of selling online.
Simple and cost-effective
“There is a nominal initial set-up cost followed by a monthly fee and a per-transaction fee with rates depending on which package and the number of services the customer opts for,” says Vishal Mehta, CEO, Infibeam.com, the company that runs BuildaBazaar.
The sites are pretty simple to create and use. There is practically no documentation required, and products and listings can be uploaded with a simple click on a phone photo.
“There is no coding knowledge required. In fact the backend is as simple as uploading pictures and text on Facebook,” says Anurag Avula, CEO, Shopmatic.
The templates need to be kept intuitive and simple as a large number of these micro-entrepreneurs come from Tier-2 and Tier-3 towns and have no technical knowledge.
“There is a rapid growth in housewives from Tier2 and Tier-3 cities. And they are leveraging Shopmatic to create stores for selling cakes or to give tuitions,” says Avula.
A package deal
These SaaS platforms also handhold you to expand business. The advantage of going with the experts is that you don’t have to research about emerging trends in ecommerce.
These websites keep updating their interface as per latest trends, help you tie up with shipping partners and payment gateways for national and international sales.
They help in marketing too by featuring several optimisations that will enhance search engine rankings.These have social media plugins and help with listings on social media too.
43-year-old web designer Priya Harjai quit her 12-year-old career when her kids were born. However, she didn’t want to sit idle at home. Interested in art and crafts, she started Olive by Design, a store for handmade designer wooden boxes in January, 2015.
While the offline store got 25 orders a month, queries from prospective buyers have quadrupled after she launched the e-store this January.
“I expect to be shipping 100 boxes soon,” says Harjai. “We have an in-house analytics team that tracks user performance on the platform to help entrepreneurs optimise the same,” says Goel of KartRocket.
Source: The Economic Times Tech