I recently caught up with the CEO of Shoply, Liad Shababo. Â Shoply is an innovative ecommerce platform aimed at getting people selling online in the simpliest way. Â Well Amen to that.
Please tell us a bit about Shoply. Â What’s it all about?
Shoply is all about making it free, quick and easy for everybody to open their own shop and start selling online. Â Our goal is to democratise ecommerce by tearing down the financial, skills and psychological barriers to selling online.
Shoply comprises 2 main components, the first being simple and empowering software which allows you to open your own shop in a matter of minutes.Â The second is a centralised marketplace which aggregates products across all our sellers and syndicates them in a global marketplace driving traffic for our sellers and making search and discovery for buyers quick and efficient.
eBay charges a sales commission so do you. Â For an entry level seller these are similar (approx 8% for ebay vs 6% for shoply). Â Why should a seller use you and not eBay, given that eBay has millions of members worldwide.
Unlike ebay, Shoply provides sellers a full rich shop which they have complete control over. Sellers can customise the look and feel, they can integrate it with their existing website or blog as well as with Facebook, Twitter and other social platforms. Shoply allows sellers to sell physical good and digital goods as well as services. For individuals and small businesses looking to sell online whilst maintaining their own identity, complete control of their buyers experience and within their existing online presence (be it their blog or Facebook page etc) – eBay just isn’t an option.
What is the target market for your service? Â As Shoply does not allow any customisation of the shopfront other than a logo, wonâ€™t this put off all but entry level sellers?
We’re looking to help the millions of individuals and small businesses who want to open a shop but lack the skills, finances and confidence to do so. Whilst we’d love to work with power sellers and larger businesses, our offering is targeted to the lower end of the market, people looking for a quick and easy solution to their problem of how to open a shop online.
In regards themes, Shoply will shortly release multiple themes as well as a complete theming API allowing sellers to customise the look and feel of their shop to their heart’s content. Shoply already allows sellers to integrate their Shoply with their blog, website and even Facebook page. Â We believe we stand alone in terms of customisation and integration options we provide our sellers with.
You talk about how you drive traffic to your customer’s stores, presumably via the marketplace. Â What do you actively do to drive traffic? Â What kind of traffic can sellers expect for your sales commission?
We generate traffic for our sellers in multiple ways we also provide them with powerful marketing tools which allows them to drive traffic themselves. Whether through our syndicated marketplace, directory, Facebook integration, SEO, embeddable widgets or forthcoming affiliate scheme we are constantly striving to drive traffic to our sellers.
Do you find that social media is a big driver of sales for your customers. Â In my experience it is very difficult to generate sales through sites like Facebook and Twitter
Social commerce continues to go from strength to strength and I think the trend will continue in the future. A lot of our sellers already have existing presences on Facebook and Twitter. We help them leverage their existing contact base to drive sales. A fan of your Facebook page or a Twitter follower is likely to browse and perhaps purchase from your shop if they know about it. At the moment we are working on building awareness of our sellers shops through their existing networks. As we scale we’ll commence driving new sales from social media sites.
What are your plans for the future. Â Will you be integrating with other platforms e.g. eBay, Amazon?
We would like to integrate with many other platforms but our core focus is on keeping is simple and easy for sellers to open and run their own shops.
We’re not prepared to add features or functionality which come at the expense of our core customer experience. Â Our vision for Shoply is to be a software provider and sales generator for sellers and marketplace maker and curator for buyers. Â We believe that everyone can benefit from Shoply as a buyer, seller or both. Ubiquitous social platforms have arisen for blogging, friends, business relationships, micro-blogging, location etc – we feel social commerce has been left out. We’re looking to change that and become the ubiquitous social consumer selling platform.