Launched last year, Shoply is a social shopping site which provides a marketplace for small brands and local business looking to sell online.
I've been asking CEO Liad Shababo about Shoply...
In one sentence, what is Shoply?
Shoply is a social shopping marketplace which brings together small brands and local business with customers looking to discover and support them.
What problems does Shoply solve?
Shoply makes it quick and easy for small retailers to open an online shop, generate traffic and make sales.
Shoply takes away the technical pain and expense of building an e-commerce site, removes marketing costs by providing free social marketing tools and helps grow retailers sales by giving them access to the Shoply Marketplace, a new sales channel.
When and why did you launch it?
Shoply launched in 2011 with the goal of democratising selling online and making buying online social and fun.
We had felt for a long time that opening a shop and selling online was far too expensive and complicated. We could see the pain small retailers were going through trying get a shop up and running and then market and drive traffic to them.
We felt their frustration in being unable to make full use of the increasing social media tools which are becoming available.
Shoply exists to provide retailers everything they need to sell online efficiently and profitably. Our service spans from software and marketing tools to an ongoing stream of customers.
Who is your target audience?
We are looking to be the online shopping marketplace of choice for small brands and local businesses and those looking to discover and buy from them.
What are your immediate goals?
For retailers our primary goal is to continue to simplify and improve their e-commerce experience. We're also concentrating on providing them new social media marketing tools so they can promote their shop and products more efficiently and to a wider audience.
In addition, we are focused on growing the buy-side of the marketplace so we can drive them more traffic and generate them ever increasing sales.
For buyers, we are working to ensure the marketplace offers a broad range of products from small brands and local businesses worldwide. We are also focused on making Shoply more socially engaging and curated.
Our recent launch of buyer profiles, wish lists and personalised marketplace recommendations based on taste and social signals have been strong steps in that direction.
What were the biggest challenges involved in building Shoply?
Supporting thousands of small retailers is technically complicated, as is overseeing payments on their behalf. We are lucky to have a team of strong engineers who have dealt with that magnificently.
How have you funded the project?
Shoply was boot-strapped for it's first year and recently raised funding from Venture Capital investors in the UK & US.
How will the company make money?
Shoply charges a 10% commission on sales made through the marketplace. Retailers also have the option to upgrade to a Premium Account for £14.99 a month.
The Premium Account offers various benefits such as featured marketplace status and advanced analytics.
Who is in the team and what does it look like?
We are a small team based in London. The majority of our time is spent on product development and retailer support. We are currently actively recruiting engineers, designers and marketers.
Where would you like to be in one, three and five year’s time?
Our goal is to provide small businesses worldwide a quick to setup and easy to manage online sales channel.
Looking out a few years we hope to be the dominant online social shopping marketplace bringing together hundreds of thousands of retailers and millions of customers each month to discover, transact and connect with each other.