With the increasing number of apps and e-stores flooding the market, as a consumer, it simply is cumbersome to open several tabs and shop using different app and website. To solve this problem that most digital shoppers face – the inability to buy products discovered at different apps, Shopalyst was created by four former Infosys executives.
"There wasn't any particular single eureka moment, it was an idea that was born from the need to make digital shopping easy and ubiquitous," says Girish Ramachandra, one of the Co-Founders. Founded in 2014, Shopalyst's developed a platform Shortlyst, where publishers and developers can easily add in-app buy buttons on any content that inspires shopping – images, videos, posts, chats, lists, news, and social shares to name a few.
According to Girish, this not only makes it easier for the consumer to buy something online, but also gives online retailers an opportunity to expand their reach by selling their products directly in popular apps where people are spending their time. "Most importantly, consumers enjoy the convenience of a universal shopping cart that works with all their favourite online shopping sites," adds Girish.
The four founders were closely working with several ideas while at Infosys. "Prior to starting up on my own, I was a Vice President at Infosys and helped build a successful products business focussed on the consumer retail industry. My co-founders held key roles in technology, data science, and user experience in my team at Infosys," adds Girish.
He adds that the work they had done powers some of the world's best e-commerce businesses – Nordstrom, Target, Sears, Adidas, and Waitrose to name a few. Besides global adoption, he says their innovations are cited by Gartner, Forrester, MIT Tech Review, Business week, Fast Company among others.
The team recently launched their beta program and claim to be seeing traction in the market. With integrations in place with the top 20 e-commerce sites in India, Girish says that they have over 10 million SKUs in their catalog that are instantly shoppable on any app. "Early adopters of our platform include news sites, chat, entertainment and lifestyle apps, brand media, blogs and fashion aggregation apps," adds Girish.
So how Shortlyst works is that if a consumer happens to be reading a particular fashion trend, he or she has an option to buy a product on the page. On clicking the buy button, Shortlyst brings in products from the retailers who are related to the content
The platform organises the product information from all e-commerce sites for easy discovery and purchase on any app or device. Given the large volume and the dynamic nature of the data, they use a massively parallel data processing architecture supported by machine learning. "Our Universal Shopping API enables programmatic access to a set of e-commerce services that are highly scalable and low latency with multiple levels of caching on the platform as well as on the edge," says Girish.
The team is rapidly adding more categories and e-commerce sites to their catalog, and is also adding more developers and publishers to their partner network. As they are a tech company, the team values deep expertise. The team generally looks for people with hands on skills in the tech areas, and evaluates potential hires primarily through analytical/programming challenges. Girish says they hire people who believe in our mission, and care a lot about the energy and passion they bring to the team.
Recently, Shopalyst raised a Series A funding of USD two million from Kalaari Capital. The team intends to use the funding to expand their business across geographies and increase their client base. At present, Shortlyst works along the fashion and beauty segment, but it's looking to expand across different segments soon.
Discovery commerce seems to be catching up in India. InMobi recently announced the launch of Miip, a d-commerce platform with partnerships with the likes of Paytm and Amazon. The team stated that they believe close to 80 per cent of new product discoveries will work through Miip.
By 2020, 650 million people will be online, primarily the mobile phone, as India is a mobile-first world. More than 60 per cent of the search queries on Google are via the mobile phone. And more than 70 per cent of transactions for players like Flipkart happen through the mobile phone.
According to the report of Asia Pacific, almost 80 per cent of smartphone subscriptions added in the next five years will be from Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa. And the total additions in smartphones will be close to over 3.5 billion. Also by 2020, revenues from the ecosystem will be close to USD 2897 billion. These trends make discovery all the more pertinent.
Subsequently giants like YouTube, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, and Facebook too are believed to be eyeing the in-app purchase buttons space.
Disclaimer: Kalaari Capital is an investor in YourStory.