Going online for small businesses including manufacturers is a cumbersome affair and requires descent capital for the same. Forget about capital, the whole process for setting up an online store involves choosing designs, IT integration, server/bandwidth hosting, payment gateway integration, logistics sourcing including several others.
However, if you are a small business (looking to offer upto 5,000 SKUs) and need a readymade out-of-the-box solution, do give Zepo a dekho.
The Mumbai based startup helps small businesses/sellers to set-up their online stores in 5 minutes. And it doesn’t end at just creating online stores, users can easily customize the design of their website to match their brand image and importantly Zepo extends PayTM – payment gateway for free, so that store owners can accept credit / debit card and Internet banking based payments. In addition, users can also choose any other payment gateways, which can start functioning within 10-15 minutes.
For store owners, the platform boasts off feature such as email notifications (automated email notifications sent upon confirmation and dispatch of orders), PayPal and social media integration, third party widgets like Facebook Social Plug-in, Twitter stream /YouTube videos, advanced sort and search, detailed images multi scale zoom-in product images (to view in high resolution, and custom details about product) etc.
On pricing front, Zepo offers three plans – basic (Rs. 675), starter (Rs. 1350) and pro (Rs. 2,700). With basic plan, the company offers product display upto 100 SKUs and email notification with every placed order, Cash on Delivery offer. However, through its starter and pro plan, Zepo provides payment gateway integration for plastic card (net banking, credit and debit card) based transaction, GharPay, Cash on Delivery (COD) and PayPal integration.
Under starter and pro plan, store owners can have email and SMS notification, free tieup with logistic company – BlueDart and payment gateway partner PayTM (optional). With starter and pro plan, merchants can upload upto 1,000 and 5,000 SKUs.
The Morpheus and One97 Mobility fund backed company has powered more than 200 stores and 70% of its users are manufacturers, and the rest are retailers and ebay sellers. To know more about Zepo, NextBigWhat spoke to Nitin Purswani (NP), Founder, Zepo. Edited excerpts:
NBW: Tell us something about technology stack used at Zepo.
NP: On the back-end, Zepo primarily stands on the Java stack in conjunction with classic frameworks like Struts , Spring, Hibernate
Zepo runs upon a high end Server(multi core , high speed) catering multiple sites at a time. To take advantage of Cloud technology, we are making preparations to move on to Amazon Cloud Servers (AWS EC2 & S3).
NBW: How has been the traction so far?
NP: Its been a fun filled journey since the launch in Jan, 2012, and we’ve received amazing response. Currently we power 200 live stores. We have another 800 trial users onboard who have signed up for free trial & are in the process of setting up their stores.
NBW: How Zepo is different from Infibeam’s buildabazaar platform?
A true comparison wouldn’t be on the basis of features alone. The main difference lies with regard to the usability of our product & the friendliness of our customer service.
We proud ourselves on having 24×7 customer support. Someone is always available on live chat, even if you have a question at 4 am in the night! As far as the usability of platform is concerned, unlike the competition, our users don’t have to pull out their hair trying to set-up & manage their shops using Zepo :)
NBW: What’s your primary targeted audience/market and their split (live stores) across segments like offline retailers, pure-play etailers, neighbourhood retailers (grocery & provisional stores etc)?
NP: 70% of our users are manufacturers, and the rest are retailers & ebay sellers. Most of the people who love Zepo are small businesses, new-gen entrepreneurs, designers, independent artists – the creative lot. That’s why it is a lot of fun working closely with these kind of users and building a product they love.
NBW: What are Zepo’s future plan? Are you also going to extend services for travel category (targeting small agents, operators) and retailers having more than 5000 SKUs?
NP: No, we are not going to extend services to the travel category. We choose to focus on a particular problem at the moment and solve it better than anyone else has ever done.
We do have a couple of users which have more than 5k SKUs, and we customize the plan for them. But our focus would remain on serving small businesses in India and help them use e-commerce to their benefit.
NBW: What’s your team size? What has been the marketing strategy so far?.
NP: We are now a 13 member team, spread across 2 offices (in Delhi & Mumbai). And we are backed by The Morpheus and One97 Mobility fund.
With regards to marketing, one of the greatest source of customer acquisition for us has been word-of-mouth & referrals. And that is the hallmark of a good product. We have also recently launched our Partner Program, where we share upto 30% of revenue with our Partners
NBW: Are you funded or looking to raise money?
NP: Currently, we aren’t looking to raise any funds.
Do give Zepo a spin and share your comments/feedback.