ShopUp: A Facebook entrepreneur’s best friend

With new marketing and business strategies, amateur entrepreneurs are now getting the opportunity to thrive. In Bangladesh, millions of people log into Facebook every day. For some, it’s not just about memes or just a scroll to keep updated on your friends. Entrepreneurs reach out to their customers through the help of Facebook by basing their business as an online service.

ShopUp is a platform which provides social media-based entrepreneurs to sell with better coordination and access to the financing they can afford.

Assistance is one click away

ShopUp, a messenger based cart management system was first launched in 2016. It facilitates the micro-enterprise, helping them coordinating the goods by installing a catalogue, cart and checkout system. It provides the basic features of online service through Facebook. ShopUp analyzes data points of the micro-entrepreneur and its owners by assessing their capital requirement and repayment capacity. They refer these micro-enterprises to partner with different financial institutions that expends the loans directly to the merchants.

The three musketeers of ShopUp

Afeef Zaman, Siffat Sarwar and Ataur Chowdhury are the three musketeers who have taken the initiative of it all. They have made business for entrepreneurs easy by cutting wait times by weeks and reducing loan operating costs from 18-20 percent to 3-5 percent. As a result, this also means that they are minimizing loans of $2500 to $300 approximately. In addition to loans and financial support, ShopUp also provides technical and business support through which the entrepreneurs can support their small business up and running on Facebook platforms in a successful way.

Sifat Sarwar in an interview with Dhaka Tribune mentions one of the major community they focus on is to give this platform more accessible to women.

“Millions of women in Bangladesh are unable to earn for themselves because of social and family issues. If you start a business on Facebook, you can earn lakhs of taka while changing your child’s diaper! All you need is determination. “

Says Siffat Sarwar assuring women that they can too work from home and be successful as well.

Newtons Archive, Rapunzel’s Secret, Dr Gadget and many of your daily online shops are currently partnering up with ShopUp. They have become one of the most popular and trusted services in Bangladesh.

Well deserved success one after the other

Led by Omidyar Network, ShopUp has $1.62 million in a seed round last year. The participating members angel investors from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Grab, and other banks. From other projects, ShopUp received the grant of US$25,000 as the first runner up and were awarded by Metlife foundation. With the success and profits, ShopUp has a well-deserved value in the business market. With the changes they bring for the micro-entrepreneurs in the online business, we can only hope to see more business startups developing now more than ever.

Snapchat’s former Bangladeshi CSO, Imran Khan, launches e-commerce venture to compete with the likes of Amazon

A new retail website, called Verishop, has gone live recently. And it goes head-to-head with mammoth platforms like Amazon. The brain behind this venture is the former Chief Strategic Officer of Snapchat, Imran Khan.

Why Verishop

Khan being present in the business arena for quite a while had observed some of the frustrations up-and-coming brands have expressed regarding existing sites that have counterfeit products or that hurt brand integrity. Verishop aims to change that and create an even and transparent platform for both buyers and sellers.

The business model of Verishop

Verishop actually buys the inventory directly from the brands. This step is to prevent having counterfeit goods on the site. Verishop hopes this differentiating factor will help build trust with consumers, too.

Is the big tech too big?

Globally companies like Facebook, Amazon, Alphabet etc. are ruling the world. It takes much audacity to come up with a business that has to compete largely with Amazon itself. However, Khan doesn’t feel that the big tech is too absolute. And with proper differentiation of their services, they can have a sustainable business.

“I think our vision is to be the best home for brands,” Khan said in an interview ahead of the launch of Verishop.

“Whenever the consumer is looking for branded products, we want to be their first destination. There is massive growth of direct-to-consumer brands.”

Verishop has launched with around 150 brands. Those include apparel makers Levi’s, AllSaints, DVF and Citizens of Humanity; home-goods retailer Boll & Branch; make-up company Lily Lolo and skin-care line Kora Organics.

An offer too good

Verishop offers free, two-day shipping with no minimum purchase, free returns and a 24/7 customer-service portal on the web. That means you can buy anything even worth 10 Dollars, and still can get free shipping! This new feature is something that most customers had been waiting for.

There are 2 main shopping sections, Tastemakers and Responsible Shop. Between these two, Tastemakers is solely targetted towards influencers. 

In this daunting attempt, let’s hope Imran Khan makes a difference to the world of e-commerce, as he has done in case of Snapchat. A reminder for the readers, this is the same Imran Khan whose BTV debate went viral on Facebook this year!

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