Business Today

Set Shop, Go

Building an online store is easier than you think, thanks to e-commerce enablers. Heres how you can set up shop online in just a few clicks.
By Nidhi Singal | Print Edition: March 12, 2017
Set Shop, Go

If you are an entrepreneur devoid of a robust online retail presence, you are losing out on a substantial source of revenue. Although listing on popular marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart seems like an obvious proposition, it is expensive, and does not assure you of a prominent presence - which to an entrepreneur or a start-up is of paramount importance.

Wouldn't it be ideal if you had your own online store, a Facebook page, and presence across online marketplaces? Sounds unattainable, but it is not really. Enter e-commerce enablers - from providing free domain names to making your products easily discoverable on the World Wide Web, their services mean (good) business.

Varidhi Arora, Founder of Gadget Protect, is a recent beneficiary of one such DIY e-commerce enabler. Her company, that manufactures cases and accessories for gadgets, would sell 160 pieces every month through offline channels. Her business has more than doubled - over 400 orders a month - after she built her own online store. Her e-commerce enabler offered ready-to-use templates for her website, even facilitated a payment gateway, and provided delivery and courier support for a monthly fee. "Apart from convenience, being on the e-commerce platform has helped in getting brand recognition," says Arora.

Entrepreneurs and start-ups are resorting to e-commerce enablers such as Zepo and Shopmatic that help individuals in setting up their own online stores or marketplace using their software-as-a-service (Saas) platform. One can start by creating a domain name and access a full suite of services offered - enabling payments and shipping, search engine optimisation, managing social media pages, listing on popular marketplaces such as Amazon and Flipkart, and more - for a monthly fee. Some offer customised solutions, too.

Choose your enabler, and get started.



Founded in 2011, Zepo has facilitated over 1,500 online brands including Oye Bazaar, Sri Aurobindo Society, Sri Sri Ayurveda, and Bengaluru Football Club. Its primary offering is an e-commerce website that is connected to all functional requirements including a free payment gateway from Citrus, PayU, CCAvenue or EBS, integrated e-commerce courier services, and advanced tools to market online, as well as managing iOS and Android apps. Users can also sell on Flipkart, Snapdeal, Amazon, and other e-commerce websites in India through an auto-synced dashboard - manage marketplace orders and reconciliations. "We have tie-ups with major courier companies and extend low shipping rates for e-commerce sellers on our platform. Our integrations with payment gateways help us offer low transaction fees. One of our major USPs is an advertising module within the dashboard which lets sellers run automated ads on Google, Facebook and Instagram, at very low budgets without any marketing know-how," says Nitin Purswani, CEO, Zepo.

Zepo offers a range of plans - from the Seed Plan for `2,499/month to the Expand Plan for `14,999/month. While the Seed plan offers a basic set of services, the higher-priced plans offer international courier, PayPal support and free consultation, among other things. There is a minimum lock-in period of three months to one year, depending on the plan chosen.



A Shopmatic SaaS user gets access to features such as free custom domain, unlimited product listings, secure website, SEO friendly web store, free integration of payment gateway, international and domestic coverage for shipping, automated shipping management, listings on multiple marketplaces, listing on Facebook Store, automated inventory management and Google Analytics. "If the customer does not want to continue with the subscription for whatever reason, he/ she can migrate to Shopmatic Go, our free mobile app that allows customers to continue to sell online by sharing their products on social media, and accepting payments," explains Anurag Avula, CEO and Co-founder, Shopmatic Group.

The monthly fee for using Shopmatic's SaaS platform is `1,370. There are half-yearly and yearly plans costing between `8,074 and `16,143, approximately. The one-month and half-yearly plans offer a month-long free trial period. Unlike Zepo, Shopmatic offers the same features across its plans; only the duration of the plan varies.



Zencommerce, too, offers similar solutions to enable users create an online store instantly, including pre-integration with payment gateways such as CCAvenue, PayU and PayPal. Its integrated software is based on Google recommendations, and hence, your store will have an optimised structure that works with search engines.

There are inbuilt tools and features to ensure your web store is seen in the top position of the search results. There are options to optimise the store site yourself. Zencommerce helps in managing the Facebook store and also enables comments on the web store using Facebook account, supports Google+, and product pinning. Zencommerce offers a monthly Platinum pack for `1,799. For those looking at hosting up to 50,000 products can go for the `2,999 monthly plan.

Shopnix is yet another player in this domain that lets users create an online store with a single sign-up. The user gets a free e-commerce website equipped with shopping cart, store manager, and in-built marketing tools. Its services are priced in the range of `1,000 to `10,000.

If you are still undecided about which one to opt for, avail the free trials to experience the efficacy of the services offered.

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