Counting on the number of years that have sailed by, one element has remained constant in our society, Fashion. Talk about any era, people with all sorts of personalities indulged in carrying fashion as an essential part of their lives. With technology becoming the backbone of many inventions, who could have imagined shopping for items, products from the internet? It didn’t take much time for people to realise that they are dealing with actual retailers online and not mummies!
Many start-ups have sprung out of their cocoon and have captivated their target audience in a grand way. Embarking on a fashionable journey, Shopsity, a shopping app that connects offline lifestyle retailers to customers in their vicinity is all set to cement their position. Indian Retailer caught up with Danish Ahmed, CEO, Shopcity to understand the business model and future plans.
Please share your background. Your education and whether entrepreneurship was something you always wanted to do?
I hold a B.Com (Hons) degree from the prestigious Sri Ram College of Commerce, Delhi University. I began my entrepreneurial journey right after college when I laid the foundation for Bigshoebazaar.com at the age of 22. The company was later rebranded as Yebhi.com. We raised $30 million and led a team of 2000 at Yebhi.com, making it among India’s first large etailers. It is after that in April, 2015 that we launched Shopsity. Coming from a business background, I think entrepreneurship was the natural choice for me.
How was the idea of your start-up conceptualized? What is the need you are addressing in the market?
Over the last 10 years in the ecommerce space, I have met and talked to hundreds of customers. I could see that people love shopping offline, but also, it’s a ‘stumble upon’ experience with no digital guidance available. So I had been thinking of starting this since the last 2 years. Once I went shopping with my wife to buy a black suit, in one of India’s largest malls. We spent 4 hours but couldn’t find anything. Later, we went to a store 2 blocks away from our house, and found it. It was extremely irritating that so much time needs to be wasted, when this information could be easily available on an app. That was the trigger to finally starting Shopsity.
Is there a story behind the name you have given to your business?
We enables customers to see Shops in their city, and so the name Shopsity. When I saw the domain was available, and there was no one else with this name, we took it for our identity.
What is your business model? Please share numbers of founders, product/services offered and current business size.
Shopsity is one of a kind O2O (Online to Offline) retail model, which connects customers to lifestyle retailers in their vicinity. Users can either block an item and pick it at the store, or get it home delivered in 6-10 hours. So instead of spending hours, and visiting multiple stores to find out who is selling what, customers can easily get that information on Shopsity. Also, unlike online shopping, customers get to touch and feel the product, and buy it immediately, which is a far superior experience. For retailers, Shopsity acts as the perfect propeller of their businesses by giving them access to a wider customer base, enhancing footfalls and helping them generate more sales. The company doesn’t charge retailers a commission for each transaction. Instead, it works on a yearly subscription fee and charges retailers for various tools such as the SMS facility, hyperlocal mobile ads and home delivery.
I launched Shopsity in April 2015 with Mr. Parijat Rathore and Mr. Gaurav Arya. Since its inception, the company has witnessed formidable growth which testifies its success. From a single person, the Shopsity team today comprises over 40 people. It has experienced close to 150% Month-on-month growth and is very close to profitability.
Shopsity has listed thousands of stores from Delhi/NCR, allowing customers to see products selling at W, Redtape, Nike, Levis, Woodland and hundreds of other local stores. Shopsity is driven by the goal to become India's largest platform connecting retailers with customers.
Who is your target consumer? Could you please share how you have detailed your consumer?
We are targeting internet enabled mobile customers who prefer Shopping at stores near them. We are going after the fashion/lifestyle category because that is where touch and feel is most important.
What is your current distribution in brick and mortar space? What are your future distribution plans?
70% of our stores are in the fashion space and 15% each in home and jewellery
Have you raised any funding so far? What are your plans to use this funding for?
Shopsity raised its seed funds from seasoned angel investors Sandeep Aggarwal and Teruhide Sato, founders of ShopClues and Netprice respectively. We are already gross profitable and should breakeven by April, but we are in talks with institutional investors to raise Series A funding to accelerate our growth and create market leadership.
What was it that attracted the investors to your business? Have you had to pivot your business in anyway that has worked for you?
I was the cofounder at yebhi.com, one of India’s largest online fashion stores. Given my experience and connects, I was able to easily attract initial investments
How do you see growth scenario is this business? What are your future scale-up plans?
Shopsity has been growing 150% every month and generating operative profits.
Last month, the company tripled the number of paying stores on its platform. Additionally, while the headlines were ablaze with stories of other start-ups handing out pink slips, Shopsity doubled its team size.
Shopsity envisions bringing 1 million retailers on the platform and building a robust eco-system through which retailers are able to reach, engage and transact with a greater number of local customers. It is on a rapid expansion spree and plans to target 5,000 stores by the end of the year. The team aims to be present in every metro of the country by May 2016 and gradually branch out across tier II and III cities to ultimately revolutionize the way customers interact with retailers in India.