Since when has Shopable been in operation?
Shopable was launched in January 2012, and that was when we got our first customer, a businessman who was willing to setup his online store with Shopable. However, background preparations for the website started back in September 2011.
Who are the founders of Shopable? What is their background?
I am one of the founders of Shopable, along with Hari and Praveen. Each of us has seven years of experience in various MNCs in the field of IT. We worked with firms like Thoughtworks, LG and Intel before deciding to start Shopable.
How did you come up with the idea of starting Shopable?
The rapidly rising penetration and power of the Internet across the world made us realise the need of an e-commerce platform for businesses. We realised that in the coming years, lots of people would start purchasing online.
Hence, more businesses would want to start selling their products online. For large businesses this is not usually an issue, on account of the large amount of disposable cash that they possess. However, for start-ups as well as small and medium businesses (SMEs), with their limited technical know-how and limited disposable cash, this would be a huge step.
We thought of tapping this very large (and largely untapped) market by providing such businesses a powerful e-commerce platform at a very affordable rate.
How is Shopable different from other e-commerce platforms?
Since we are largely targeting SMEs, we have set very competitive prices as compared to other available e-commerce platforms. Also, our USP is ‘ease of use’. The other available platforms are too complex for an Indian business person who is not too tech savvy to set up/manage their online store. We have made a cautious effort to keep the platform very simple, so that even a novice Internet user can set up an online store without any support.
What kinds of SMEs are your major clients?
We have a variety of businesses ranging from sellers of clothing, footwear and designer jewellery to sellers of handicrafts, marble and granite and mobile phones on Shopable.
What are the major challenges that you face?
As all three of us are from a technical background, with very little experience in sales and marketing, our major challenges were finding the right customers who understand the importance of selling online.
What have been your proudest moments as an entrepreneur?
There is a long way ahead for us at this moment, but till now, our best moment has been when our first customer told us that his online store generated notable sales within the first week of going live.
How big is your team, at present?
We are a team of five at the moment, and actively looking out for one more talented designer.
What are your expansion plans in the near future?
We do have some plans for the coming year, but it would be too soon to talk about them. All I can tell you is that 2013 is going to be very exciting for us. We are currently busy laying the foundation for many changes to come.
What advice would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
It is always good to talk to your prospective customers first, get an idea of the market, and then start to build your product.
Corporate Website: Shopable