The international e-commerce market is one of the most rapidly proliferating ones. Pakistan is getting in pace with the rest of the world with budding e-commerce stores, public’s increasing inclination towards online shopping, and e-commerce giants like Alibaba taking interest in investing in Pakistan.
Last year’s Black Friday Sale brought local e-commerce stores a whopping revenue of over PKR 1 billion while new entrants also enjoyed a favorable number of orders. It is predicted that the size of the local e-commerce industry will grow over $600 million by the end of 2017.
There are various positive factors contributing to Pakistan’s massive e-commerce growth. People are connected to the Internet now more than ever. In the next two years, Pakistan’s Internet penetration is expected to touch 56 million. This adds to the growing interest among people in shopping online and the maturing product delivery procedure is making it easier for people to trust online stores. Needless to say that e-commerce is booming and there is a piece of the pie up for grabs for new names as well.
However, Pakistan’s e-commerce industry still has a long way to go before it would be able to provide a wholesome shopping experience to potential customers. One of the issues people face while shopping online in Pakistan is the lack of options available at one place. Majority of the people are not aware of the numerous online stores in Pakistan and hence often find it difficult to find exactly what they are looking for in their price range. This is a problem Shopsy is trying to solve.
Imagine you want to buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge, how many online stores would you have to search before possibly landing on the product you actually want. Wouldn’t it be great if all versions of the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge available on online stores were displayed at one place? Here enters Shopsy, a ‘Google for online shopping’, co-founded by Usama Arjumand, who upon arriving in Pakistan after 10 years in the UK realized the lack of product choice in the local e-commerce scene. He then paired up with his co-founders Akhter and Saad – together they are three individuals with a diverse combination of specialties who are aiming to change how Pakistani people shop online. The startup is trying to bank on the lack of brand loyalty among Pakistani shoppers who are always on the hunt for the best deal.
Simply put, Shopsy presents a customer with various versions of a product they’re looking for available on multiple online stores in Pakistan. At the backend the website is essentially a web crawler which scrapes data from Shopsy’s partner sites and displays to the user relevant search results. A customer can search a product, adjust the price range, compare products and then be directed to the actual online store which sells the product they opted for.
The startup began with close to 10,000 monthly visitors, a figure which has increased month on month since then.
Since their beta launch in November last year, Shopsy’s focus has been to create a flawless search engine with a prime focus on user experience. It currently claims to have the fastest-performing search engine in Pakistan and it’s ranking algorithm takes into account more than 14 different factors. The database currently includes over 100,000 products of 20 partner sites with which they work via affiliate marketing. Every time a customer directed from Shopsy buys a product from one of its partner sites Shopsy gets a cut.
Their stint at Telenor Velocity has been truly beneficial – giving them access to Telenor’s 40 million subscribers and data analytics highly suited for customer profiling and targeted marketing. In the five months since joining Telenor Velocity the startup has witnessed a considerable increase in their site activity. In the last few months, Shopsy was able to get exclusive deals advertised via SMS and on Telenor’s very own Wowbox, which is a lifestyle application for all Telenor Pakistan users. As a result orders worth over PKR 1,400,000 were placed from Shopsy. Furthermore, the monthly visitor count has increased considerably from an initial 10,000 monthly visitors.
They hosted two exclusive deals in the last few months via which orders worth over PKR 1,400,000 were placed.
Shopsy’s current focus is on increasing its user base. Their aim is to become a marketing channel and support system for local e-commerce stores which can only be achieved if they are able to boast a large number of users. However, the startup is currently in talks with various investors for a seed round. A large chunk of their initial investment round will go towards marketing campaigns and tapping into their potential user base. If all goes according to plan, Shopsy could be well on their way to become a go-to place for avid Pakistani shoppers. By the end of the first year post investment Shopsy hopes to reach their target of 2.8 million annual visitors and 300,000 monthly visitors.
Other Startups at Telenor Velocity
- Meet Micropower Labs, a Pakistani startup with customer base in 35 countries
- Meet doctHERs, a startup becoming the face of telemedicine in Pakistan
- Meet EcoEnergy, a startup aiming to solve energy crisis in Pakistan
- Meet Edjunction, a social network connecting parents with teachers
- Meet Interacta, a startup that aims to redefine television broadcasting
- Meet Fori Mazdoori, a Pakistani startup aiming to mobilize laborers across South Asia
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