Founded in 2014 by Shashank Agnihotri and Samik Sarkar, Zakoopi, an online discovery platform for fashion and apparel stores, claims to have come a long way. New Delhi-based Zakoopi recently raised USD 350, 000 (Rs 2.3 crore) in seed funding from Harminder Sahni, a veteran of India’s retail industry and Uniqorn Ventures. With over 7,000 fashion retail stores mapped on its platform, Zakoopi has spread its presence in more than 100 markets of Delhi-NCR and Mumbai. Now, it is planning to establish footprints across key metro cities of India in the coming months.
The size of the Indian unorganized fashion space at present is close to USD 60-70 billion. Understanding the need of the market, Samik started working towards building an online apparel store discovery platform. Today, with over one lakh visitors per month, Zakoopi claims to witness a 10 percent increase in the user base on a weekly basis.
“Zomato, BookmyShow, and TripAdvisor are wellknown discovery platforms in restaurants, events, and hotels respectively. However, people draw a blank when it comes to the online discovery of local apparel stores for shopping. We enable shoppers to discover local apparel stores, which are less known due to limited online activity and marketing driven mainly through ‘word of mouth’. At this platform, people can discover great places to shop around them on the basis of store reviews, ratings, photographs, product catalogue, and pricing details etc,” says Samik, Co-founder of Zakoopi.
He adds that with more than 15,000 user generated reviews and ratings for stores, the platform provides immense value to users looking for genuine shopping support -- what to buy and where to buy. Along with an unprecedented online presence, Zakoopi also provides solutions to retailers that enable them to promote enhanced customer loyalty and engagement, as well as reach out to a larger and more targeted customer base.
Through its product, it has brought big and small, unbranded and branded fashion retailers on a single online platform. “We are letting smaller retailers that lacked digital presence to compete with bigger brands on the basis of quality of their products and thus user reviews, something that TripAdvisor did to the hotel industry. It is providing an organized and virtual substitute to the word-of-mouth marketing for traditional retailers,” explains Samik.
According to the Boston Consulting Group and Retailers Association of India, the retail market in the country is expected to nearly double to USD one trillion by 2020 from USD 600 billion in 2015, driven by income growth, urbanisation, and attitudinal shifts.
India is expected to become the world’s fastest growing e-commerce market driven by robust investment in the sector and rapid increase in the number of Internet users. India’s e-commerce market is estimated to expand to over USD 100 billion by 2020 from USD 3.5 billion in 2014. However, offline retail still holds the maximum sway.
Wooplr, Roposo, and Limeroad are also fashion-focused discovery platforms which enable users to view and shop for the listed products on their websites.
During August 2015, Roposo raised $15 million from its existing investor, Tiger Global. In April this year, Wooplr, fashion discovery app, raised Series A funding round of $5 million led by Helion Ventures. And in March, Limeroad, a social discovery platform for women, raised its series C fund raise of $30 million led by Tiger Global Management with participation from existing investors Lightspeed Venture Partners and Matrix Partners India. Previously, Limeroad raised a $15 million Series B round in May 2014.