As a college student, Swati Gauba had always tried to challenge the status quo wherever she saw fit. Hailing from a family entrenched in business, she wanted to start something on her own as well. But this innate shopaholic got cracking only while window shopping on an e-commerce platform.
Browsing through the same sites again, she felt the need to see more. She realised that there was a requisite to discover websites and products in a similar fashion as one could discover restaurants from Zomato. Traditional searches for her were either biased or manipulated.
While still working with her previous employer, she met Mayur who owned his own digital agency then. The duo then started putting their experience in media and technology, giving shape to what they called Hoppingo.
But the big moment came when she met angel investor Bhaskar Vishwanadham, who was ready to invest in her idea. Soon, Swati quit her job to work full time on her idea.
Driven to create a democratic way of content posting, Hoppingo curates from more than 700 e-stores online across 16 categories of accessories, apparel, home décor, to name a few.
Launching operations in November 2014, the website curates 500 new products on an everyday basis. The co-founders tell us:“Since it’s democratic, brands can also recommend their products. Our team of 22 freelance curators are quite established in the categories we curate, with experience in their respective fields. On an everyday basis we get 2,000 styles from brands, of which 500 get curated.”
They add that on the other hand,other fashion discovery platforms employ trackers and crawlers for their discovery.
At any given time, Hoppingo gets 10,000 active users with a retention rate of 44 per cent. An average of nine minutes is spent on the platform browsing products with the most time spent on women apparels. The firm also claims to have a conversion ranging from two to four per cent in terms of sales.
The founders claim a 500 per cent growth from March when the average traffic was seen ranging between 400 and 600 active users daily.
According to them, traction came from only organic marketing, shares on social media groups as well as incorporating Facebook paid push advertisements.
The firm earns its revenues through three avenues:regular advertisements,promoted content where brands pay to highlight certain products, and paid stories on certain products which lead to conversion sales.
The firm is also operating on affiliate marketing where e-stores pay for any active sales leads received from their website.
However, according to the firm, the startup’s long-term vision is building a digital mall. The founders are in the process of developing an affiliate programme where users can create their own store of styles and get paid certain commission if their styles lead to sale conversions. Mayur says that although it is not confirmed yet, they are planning to share 20-25 per cent of the affiliate commission received by Hoppingo with the users for any product featured by them. This will be available on the platform by November.
In the next three months, Hoppingo will launch its mobile application and take active user count to one million.They hope to take their registered users count from 30,000 to 1,00,000 users in the coming months. An influencer programme is also in planned where industry stalwarts will contribute articles and shareviews.
On their experience of running a startup, Mayur says,“Every single day is exciting. Appreciation, criticism, feedback, kind words have all become apart of our lives. We’ve learned that the end users have to be satisfied with our offerings and services because they become our goodwill ambassador.”