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How this e-commerce startup helping D2C brands grow their online business

The Pune-based SaaS for e-commerce startup Shoptimize works with brands to setup and grow their D2C sales through proprietary e-commerce and growth platforms

Mangesh Panditrao, Co-founder & CEO of Shoptimize
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Mangesh Panditrao, Co-founder & CEO of Shoptimize

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Shoptimize is a one-stop direct-to-consumer (D2C) e-commerce platform that leverages AI (artificial intelligence) to help brands drive predictable growth in their online business. The Pune-based SaaS for e-commerce startup works with brands to setup and grow their D2C sales through proprietary e-commerce and growth platforms. From being perceived as an end-to-end e-commerce platform to becoming a growth enabler for D2C brands, Shoptimize has grown and evolved tremendously. Mangesh Panditrao, co-founder & CEO of Shoptimize, in an exclusive interview with Bizz Buzz, says with the phenomenal potential in India, we aim to grow 400-500 per cent in the Indian market

The firm has reached more than $100 mn in GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) and saw 4 mn transactions till now. Shoptimize was started in 2012 by two highly motivated individuals and now have over 100 team members and several hundred active brands on the platform. The 9-year journey has been nothing short of incredible, filled with learning and growth

What are the most significant digital transformations in the e-commerce industry in 2022?

Amidst the challenges presented by the pandemic, technology is managing to keep several businesses afloat. As the adoption of e-commerce increases, more brands will use AI-powered personalization to predict sales patterns in e-commerce to provide a more personalized experience and more effective brand-customer interactions. As customers' tendency toward online shopping grows, new-age payment solutions such as BNPL (buy now pay later) and gift cards will become a critical aspect of e-commerce businesses.

The focus will be on the use of conversational AI technology, such as chatbots, which will assist the brand in providing a consistent experience to clients 24/7. In 2022, warehouse optimization, supply chain management software adoption, and supply chain expansion will be vital to the success of the e-commerce industry. Thus, with digital adoption gaining traction, the e-commerce industry is more likely to change at an accelerated pace in 2022. As a result, retailers can stay competitive in an ever-changing marketing landscape by using the correct tools, knowledge, and processes.

When and how did you come up with the idea to start Shoptimize?

Shoptimize was launched in 2012 to empower brands to take control of their digital growth. From being perceived as an end-to-end e-commerce platform to becoming a growth enabler for D2C brands, Shoptimize has grown and evolved tremendously. We launched the Shoptimize growth platform and accelerator program to augment our offerings further and help brands scale their D2C businesses.

We have reached more than $100 million in GMV (Gross Merchandise Value) and 4 million transactions till now. We commenced Shoptimize with two highly motivated individuals and now have over 100 team members and several hundred active brands on the platform. The 9-year journey has been nothing short of incredible, filled with learning and growth.

What has been the biggest challenge for you till now?

The initial challenge when we started off was to create awareness among brands about the importance of having their own D2C channel. The bigger challenge for these brands later is to show consistent and sustainable growth through their D2C channel. It is here that Shoptimize has invested significantly and created a repeatable growth model for brands using its growth platform. While this industry was picking up pace, the pandemic accelerated this shift and gave a valuable boost to our business.

As an entrepreneur, the biggest challenge lies in the ability to build an A-class team. Since the D2C industry is relatively new in India, finding an experienced employee was tough initially, but given the growth now, we have a good pool of talent.

Nearly every entrepreneur struggles to raise sufficient capital to reach their goal as an organisation at one point or another. We are thankful to our investors, who believed in our ideas and kept us motivated.

What has been your biggest achievement till now?

Our biggest achievement is to be able to bring that cultural change in organisations to be largely data-driven. Apart from that, we are seeing phenomenal growth in India and have surpassed our annual targets.

Who is your target audience? And how do you plan to reach them?

Shoptimize is a one-stop platform for all D2C e-commerce needs. Our target audience is any brand that has its own D2C e-commerce store and is looking to scale its online revenues. We use our Shoptimize growth platform and accelerator program to help brands scale their D2C businesses.

What was your inspiration behind this venture?

We saw an opportunity in the D2C e-commerce space and realized that technology and AI could be leveraged to create a better online shopping experience. This idea was backed by our investors, and that's how our journey began. During this journey, we realized that a brand's biggest ally in driving D2C growth is data. But very often, this data is not actionable. It takes a very specific skill set to be able to process this data and find meaningful actions to drive growth. Understanding this, we launched the Shoptimize growth platform to help brands identify hundreds of these opportunities and execute them at scale.

How the growth platform of Shoptimize has witnessed growth in the respective areas?

From the company perspective, our growth trajectory has been remarkable. We observed a 55 per cent increase in conversion ratios when brands aggressively executed Shoptimize growth platform recommendations, indicating that the Shoptimize growth engine has been a success so far. During the festive season alone, there was a 300 per cent increase in the number of transactions, resulting in a 400 per cent increase in GMV.

Furthermore, while tier-I cities accounted for 50 per cent of our client's revenue, the AOV (Average Order Value) generated in tier-II and tier-III cities have improved significantly. As opposed to tier-I cities, tier-II and tier-III cities had a 15-20 per cent higher AOV.

Any expansion plans?

Shoptimize is headquartered in Pune, and we have a presence in three more cities: Mumbai, Delhi & Bengaluru. With the phenomenal potential in India, we aim to grow 400 per cent to 500 per cent in the Indian market. In addition, we have also set sights on expanding our footprint in Southeast Asia.

Funding details

We are fortunate to be backed by marquee investors such as Tandem Capital, LetsVenture, Saha Fund, and Twin Ventures, who have helped us scale the business, achieve remarkable growth, and reach new heights.

How is Shoptimize different from other e-commerce platforms/growth enablers?

Shoptimize is a SaaS company with a subscription-based commercial model that helps businesses manage their digital growth, a one-stop platform for all D2C e-commerce needs. Recently we launched an accelerator program with a very attractive revenue sharing based commercial model. We have more than 70 D2C brands active on the accelerator program. The platform uses machine learning and AI to generate insights, recommendations as well as personalize certain aspects of the website for users.

What has been the growth of D2C brands in India and how is Shoptimize helping them grow?

With the fast-changing consumer expectations and technological advancement, the D2C industry is gaining traction. India is predicted to have a $100 billion D2C market by 2025. Hence, to help the D2C brands thrive, we enable businesses to increase their e-commerce sales by helping them throughout the entire life cycle - from attracting, converting to retaining customers.

Our 'Shoptimize accelerator,' an exclusive, invite-only program, is designed to assist consumer brands in achieving exponential revenue growth. It takes away a lot of variability and risk for brands. This gives the brand opportunity and time to focus on more critical aspects of business like inventory management, product development, improving the supply chain, and better customer service. Furthermore, Shoptimize offers digital marketing support, bearing the entire cost of ad spending, thereby reducing the strain on working capital for the brands.

Kumud Das
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