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Disrupting Social Commerce – our investment in Shop101

Backing India’s first commerce platform which enables solopreneur’s to create and manage their presence across online social media platforms

By on July 11, 2018

I hail from a town called Kota which is now famous for being the education capital of India. Back when I was young, it was a sleepy town with a population of 5 lakh. In our colony, I remember, there used to be these entrepreneurial women who would use their sourcing, curation and selling skills to put up exhibitions showcasing items from their respective hometowns. Many of them generated a good amount of side income with this activity.

Fast forward three decades later (yes I am that old), all of them have moved to selling these items using their own website and, Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp handles. In addition to this, we are witnessing a new set of entrepreneurs – students and fresh college graduates – leveraging their social media accounts to build their own ‘shops’. According to our estimates, there are over 2 million people already selling on these platforms and an additional 22 million who can potentially do the same to enhance their incomes by 2022.

The Billion Dollar Question is – Are these networks actually meant to and capable enough to service their needs or is there a need for an alternate platform that is specific to India? We believe in the later.

Globally, several large businesses like Koudai in China, aCommerce in South East Asia and Bigcommerce and Shopify in USA have gained significant traction and growth following a model of enabling entrepreneurs to use localised solutions.

On similar lines, we believe there is an opportunity to cater to these home based sellers and established merchants in India with localised solutions in a cost efficient manner which the existing platforms are inherently not designed to address.

Here’s where Shop101 comes in.

Shop101 is social commerce platform to create and sell across Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and own his/her online storefront in a DIY  (do it yourself) manner. Within less than 5 minutes (trust us, we calculated) and a few clicks, one can have a personalised storefront ready for business! Shop101 also manages their communication with their customers across several platforms on one single product and provides services including order fulfillment, inventory reconciliation, payments, shipping, online marketing, GST and owning personalized domains.

Beyond the platform providing complete technology and logistics support to manage an online ‘shop’, Shop101 also helps new entrepreneurs start from scratch by connecting to trusted  distributors, manufacturers and brands that provide supplies.

As a result, thousands of micro-sellers in India today including housewives, college students & young graduates earn a large part of their income on Shop101 in the comfort of their homes and the numbers are only growing!

The credit goes to the stellar team cofounded by Aditya and Abhinav, both IIT Kanpur alumni, who have quietly been building and scaling the business over the last 2 years in Mumbai’s startup district-Powai. We believe in the team’s ability to focus on customer experience with a deep business understanding backed with a data-driven & iterative decision making thought process. This helps it stand out and create value for the next billion entrepreneurs to come!

So what is left for you to do is to call up those tech-stressed friends of yours (I did my bit) and make them register on Shop101 so that those perfectly boutiqued clothes and accessories can sell like never before.

The catch -they’d need to woo consumers online with their amazing curation and marketing skills. Trust Shop101 to take care of the rest…

(With inputs from Mridul Gupta)

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