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How Indore-based TM Store creates a unique app development product for startups

Mukti Masih
17th Aug 2016
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Anshul Maheshwari, a former marketing executive, decides to create a platform for housewives or grandmothers wanting to sell homemade delicacies and organic products. But he didn’t want to invest a lot on building an application. So he buys an application ‑Naaniz ‑ from TM store and gets his marketplace running within minutes. Since May 2016, Naaniz mobile application has onboarded 900 products, 100 sellers and 1,000 downloads on PlayStore and 500 on iOS. Naaniz is creating a C2C platform using TM Store, which is enabling technology component in their business.

Similarly, there’s Robu.in – a niche platform that provides technology and tools in the field of robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) for researchers and innovators in institutes such as the Indian Institutes of Technology, Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Jayesh Jain wished to create a marketplace of such products. He too bought a service from TM Store and got it running. “TM Store is different in its approach because they are giving a solution as a product. Their product has scope of customisation strictly based on the need of the business at software level,” informs 27-year-old Jayesh, Founder of Pune-based MacFos Enterprise and Robu.in.

Team TM Store
Team TM Store

There are several other niche merchants and mobile marketplaces such as MeraHoardings (hoarding services, India); BodyBigSize (plus size fashion, Indonesia); Celler& Loom (second-hand cloth platform, United Kingdom) who have been benefitted by the TM Store Product.

What’s TM Store?

TM Store was founded in 2015 by Virat Khutal of Twist Mobile and his team in Indore but was released in January 2016. TM Store converts CMS to native mobile app/ VR view in just 15 minutes and helps early-stage startups or offline businesses have their own application instantly. There are two major gaps whenever businesses think of switching to mobile experience. Firstly, responsive web experience of CMS (WooCommerce, Magento, etc.) is very slow and jerky for smaller handsets. As a result, many enterprises despite emptying their pockets into development of a responsive website, don’t get desired results and lose customers. Secondly, if they go for mobile application development, they have to deal with a bad UX and UI in less cost or spend a lot of money and time to get a robust mobile app designed. These problems further multiply given that virtual reality is picking up pace as a marketing tool and many businesses are already finding themselves behind the race due to their existing mobile or web applications.

“In simple words, TM Store is like WordPress, you choose from several themes and create your store within seconds. Looking at the growing number of startups and more and more businesses switching to web and mobile applications, it’s a futuristic product,” shares 36-year-old Virat. The merchants buy the basic product and then may or may not choose to buy their plug-ins and support services.

Team TM Store identified 70 unique functions in CMS and standardised those functions. “Our core philosophy is that experience today is more important than the product. We believe commerce will be driven by mobile and virtual reality experiences. Data in commerce will be collected by IoT devices integrated to CMS. To achieve this, we will have old CMS with technologies written on top of it. They will change experience for consumers. We would be building technologies to enable large ecosystem of categories like fashion or grocery to get high quality mobile and VR experience,” adds Virat.

TM Store has plans of a phase-wise implementation. Phase 1 would have mobile and major CMS with category identification, while Phase 2 would be responsive VR for experiences. They have started with WooCommerce CMS and have worked with 1,000 merchants so far validating the technology. The startup has released more than 260 merchant apps, sold more than 100 copies on Android and iOS within 75 days and integrated more than 50 plugins inside its application.

There are several similar players in this space such as AppMaker.xyz, WordApp Mobile App Plug-in, AppTuse. “It’s a huge space with 1.5 million merchants in WooCommerce alone. Our approach is not about selling IT or Native App, but we will be moving towards managed services for e-commerce businesses. We are building UI Runtime creators, A/B testing features, user navigation, analytics and marketing for merchant success in ecosystem. It will enable us to penetrate in richer and deeper markets of Shopify and Magento,” informs Virat.

There are 3.2 million small merchants worldwide with e-commerce shops and web stores. “Considering that 10 percent of them are successful business, we would have 3,00,000 merchants having unique products and sustainable business,” he adds.

India alone has 50 million shop owners and merchants with non-digital presence. A rise of digital agencies, technology providers and companies deriving technology around commerce in on the anvil.

How does TM store make money? 

“We have a pay-as-you-go model among merchants and developers. We charge merchants on the basis of platform, say Android and iOS App with $100. If they want to integrate payment SDK, multi venderSDk (Dukon), shipping SDK or Multi-lingual, they pay based on the plug-in component. This process is generating reusable inventory of plug-ins with us. We believe top 200 plug-ins can cover very large market for us,” says Virat.

Secondly, they pay for analytics, push notification, targeted push notification based on their needs. “We would be releasing A/B testing and actionable analytics with monthly subscription in coming months,” he adds.

Future plans

“I am convinced that the app ecosystem will be converted to web-ecosystem in the next two years. Instant Apps and App on Cloud will change the behaviour of Apps to Web. Our solution will solve this problem and give good experience to 3.2 million e-commerce portals with our technology,” informs Virat. TM supports all features in case of payments such as RazerPay, PayUMoney, PayUBiz, Paypal, CC Avenue, etc.; or order status and notifications like Push Notify; WooCommerce, WordPress Custom Menus; Google Places API and the likes. They have integrated Hotline Chat for instant 24/7 support. It is a product of Freshdesk,” informs Virat.

TM Store claims to have 100 percent growth with sales of $5,000 per month since May. They have not started full marketing and developer reach programme yet.

In future, they want to unify product sourcing technology while integrating merchants with each other to enable them for international product reach and knowledge. “Imagine Indonesian merchants having product access to Indian merchants. It will become product discovery for all the merchants to increase their product reach,” adds Virat.

Watch the making of Naaniz and making of TM Store.

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