ANURAG AVULA, Co-Founder & CEO, Shopmatic, talks of launching innovative new e-commerce solutions in the midst of the pandemic to chart massive growth
Tell us about your experience as an entrepreneur since you launched Shopmatic in India in January, 2016. How has the platform evolved and what is its USP in the e-commerce ecosystem?
Shopmatic was established with the intention to ensure that aspiring entrepreneurs have the means to take their business online. Having conducted extensive research across the country, speaking to over 300 merchants across various socio-economic landscapes, we realized that over 50 million small and medium enterprises were not leveraging digital channels to conduct and expand their business. Therefore, to give individual entrepreneurs and SMEs a fair chance against bigger organizations that do not struggle in terms of capital and expansion, we launched Shopmatic in India in January, 2016.
Since then, Shopmatic has created deeper inroads within the country, and evolved in a way that empowers entrepreneurs as much as possible. From the initial launch to raising our Series AA funding of $5.7 million from August One and Seeds Capital, launching our transactional mode where customers could pay a nominal web hosting fee of Rs 50 and 3% of every transaction, and then forging a series of critical partnerships with CombineSell, OnlineSales.ai, PayU, and Octopus, Shopmatic has evolved at speed. Today, we are an end-to-end solutions provider for entrepreneurs and SMEs looking to enhance their omnichannel presence and conduct seamless transactions both online and offline.
In a year as challenging as 2020, Shopmatic clocked revenues to the tune of S$5.5 million within the first half and surpassed our revenue goals by 190%. We crossed 5,00,000 merchants by June 2020 and completed the first quarter with 200% growth in transactions, revenue, and GMV.
What has been the response to the range of e-commerce solutions you launched last year?
We have seen a massive uptake in the user base on our platform since we launched our range of disruptive e-commerce solutions. In this, online sellers can choose their storefront, either social selling, chat selling, marketplace selling, or selling through a web store. Shopmatic merchants will also be able to generate a single checkout link for products to share across multiple channels – WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, SMSes, or websites. With this, sellers will be able to expand their audiences and experience higher sales and better conversion rate. Post the rollout of our disruptive services, it has been interesting to see new verticals like packaged food, chakkis, organic food and kirana on the rise in the online selling realm. Plus, we have seen significant growth in Tier-2 adoption on the back of our simple yet impactful solution.
What is the biggest business challenge you have faced since you set up the company, and how did you overcome it?
India represents a microcosm of dynamics that are unmatched with any other geography across the globe. Understanding these factors and setting up an e-commerce enabling platform in a country where, at the time, e-commerce was not widely accepted, was an initial challenge for us. However, over the years, we have been able to deeply understand the needs of aspiring entrepreneurs, and offer these services through a single, easy-to-use platform.
What next from Brand Shopmatic? What will be your priorities over the next one year to chart the brand's growth?
In the coming years, we will be encouraging more and more entrepreneurs and SMBs to create an online presence. For this, we are banking on new, innovative solutions such as our customized approach to doing business and launch of disruptive new e-commerce services. We will also introduce a slew of new, intuitive, tech-led tools that provide the required hand-holding for new and aspiring online entrepreneurs through our unique managed services model.