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The Times of India

How startups are getting the corner store online

By April 10, 2016 No Comments

The next wave of e-commerce in India will be driven by millions of small merchants taking their businesses online. A host of startups is helping retailers get a web presence, build their brand and make more money.

Atul Tater has been selling his apparel on Flipkart and Amazon for six months, and sees about ten garments take off every day. He pays 25-30% commission per sale to the marketplaces. Three months ago, Singapore-based e-commerce company Shopmatic approached Tater to build a website for his brand, Reevolution. He signed up quickly since it came for Rs 1,400 a month and included a Facebook page shop, an inventory management tool and a payment gateway.

“If I had set out to start my own dynamic website, it would have cost upwards of Rs 50,000,” says Tater. Though he’ll continue to sell on the marketplaces the idea of not having to shell out 30% commission comes as a relief to the Noida-based businessman.

For small merchants like Tater, the cost of setting up a website, managing inventory and logistics and establishing a payment gateway can be intimidating. And that’s where e-commerce companies are stepping in.

The opportunity to take small businesses online is seen as the next big e-commerce wave. Search giant Google started its ‘India Get Your Business Online’ project in 2011 to do the same, but didn’t succeed. However, startups that have come later have figured out that an online identity without dynamic inventory management and payment gateway is not a recipe for success. These startups provide complete solutions to take brick-and-mortar retailers online. The top 10 funded startups in the domain have raised upwards of $60 million in the last few years, according to startups ecosystem tracking platform Tracxn.

In China, there are 40 million small businesses, but only 12 million have an online presence. In India, the numbers are far worse — of the 60 million small businesses, only a million are online. “It is not a question of either being on a marketplace or having one’s own website. A seller needs to have a presence across the range of platforms where the customer comes. Large marketplaces don’t cater to micro merchants and in many cases the demand is local,” says Reddy, adding that discovery is also an issue for small merchants on big marketplaces.

For most sellers, the idea is not to miss a single lead that comes their way. Yet, they do not want the trouble of building and managing an e-commerce store.

Shopmatic co-founder and CEO Anurag Avula says his platform takes away all these pain points. For instance, making changes to inventory or uploading photos is a matter of drag-and-drop. “We take care of design, look, user interface, user experience. The customization is at a high level; even the font will be according to the theme of that particular seller,” he says.

Source: Times of India