- Maria George is a cordon bleu pastry chef in Mumbai. She has a website called Plattered that takes orders for cakes, tarts, macarons, and other yummy stuff and delivers them all over the city.
- Ishmeet Singh Chandok became a dog chef after working for 5-star hotels like Hyatt and JW Marriott. His website Harley’s Corner delivers ready-to-eat wet foods like grisotto and doggie ice cream from recipes first tried on Ishmeet’s pet Harley.
- Priya started with a Facebook page to sell paper quill earrings. When she added a buy button to it that took visitors to her website Rollsnfolds, the business took off. Now she sells all sorts of handmade gifts and also runs a craftworks shop in Yishun, Singapore.
They’re among the 75,000 customers who’ve used Shopmatic to build their online stores with all the bells and whistles from handling payments and deliveries to customer analytics – for a subscription fee of US$20 a month.
Shopmatic is an ecommerce enabler for small businesses as well as individual entrepreneurs. Apart from building and managing their own stores, sellers can use it to get on to multiple ecommerce marketplaces, put ‘buy’ buttons on their social media pages, and so on.
The three-year-old Singapore-based #startup launched first in India to test and develop its product and business model. It also has a presence in Hong Kong. Now it’s ready to expand to new markets in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, and the Middle East.
Today Shopmatic announced pre-series A funding of US$5.7 million led by Singapore-based VC firm ACP and Spring, which is an agency of Singapore’s ministry of trade and industry.
Localization and simplicity
That it chose India to first launch its business in early 2016 is not surprising, with over 50 million small businesses in the country and millions of individual sellers trying to use social media and ecommerce marketplaces to broaden their reach.
A maker of pastries or paper quill earrings would find it hard to be visible on ecommerce marketplaces like Flipkart or Amazon, which mostly cater to known brands or their own selling arm, like Amazon’s Cloudtail in India. Shopmatic enables small, niche sellers to build their business on multiple channels, including their own online store, without having to worry about setting up a payment gateway or tying up with logistics providers for delivery.
“It takes less than five minutes to set up a full-stack online shop with Shopmatic,” CEO and co-founder Anurag Avula tells Tech in Asia. “Our approach of simplicity with a wide value proposition to our customers has grown the category of online sellers.”
“Going forward, ecommerce will play an even more critical role in omni-channel marketing strategies, to help businesses expand globally. We encourage all small and medium enterprises to embrace change and go digital,” adds Ted Tan, deputy chief executive of Spring Singapore, one of the lead investors in this round of funding.
Shopmatic’s biggest rival in this space is Canada’s Shopify. Localization is what differentiates Shopmatic, says Anurag. For example, it has tied up with India’s Citrus Pay, which got acquired by Nasper’s PayU, to provide an integrated payment gateway. Shopify supports multiple payment gateways, but a customer will need to choose the appropriate one in a particular market and set it up.
Shopmatic will, similarly, partner with local payment gateways in Indonesia and other markets. It has also focused on the needs of mobile-first markets like India and Indonesia. Last November, it launched its mobile version Shopmatic Go in India, which now accounts for two-thirds of its customers. The app was launched in Singapore a couple of weeks ago.