This startup is solving buying experience of customers on ecommerce platforms

Delhi-based GoKwik is an ecommerce enablement platform that has just raised Series A funding of Rs 112 crore ($15 million) led by Sequoia Capital India. The round also saw participation from existing investors Matrix Partners India and RTP Global.
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As the CRO of Bombay Shaving Company, Chirag Taneja realised D2C brands simply do not have it easy. 

“I got to have first-hand experience with a number of problems such as lower CoD conversion rates, RTO orders, rising acquisition costs, and others that were majorly faced by the industry,” says Chirag. 

While a lot of brands were aware of the problem, many didn’t have success in finding the right solutions. It was this eureka moment that led to the birth of GoKwik, an ecommerce enablement platform. 

Founded in 2020, the Delhi-based startup solves for ecommerce issues like increasing cash-on-delivery and check-out conversion rates and reducing return orders for clients.

Early this week, the startup raised Series A funding of Rs 112 crore ($15 million) led by Sequoia Capital India. The round also saw participation from existing investors Matrix Partners India and RTP Global.

“The mission of our company is to democratise the shopping experience and increase GMV realisation for ecommerce businesses from marketplaces to traditionally offline retailers and D2C brands,” says Chirag. 

The product

Chirag says GoKwik was started to democratise the shopping experience by providing a tech and data science layer to increase the GMV of ecommerce businesses across India, and this forms the base of GoKwik’s ‘Merchant-First’ philosophy. 

“Started during the pandemic, we have essentially started in the middle of troubled waters and surfed our way up to success. The ecommerce industry has been rapidly growing In India. During Covid, when everything came to a standstill, the ecommerce industry continued to boost. However, since India is majorly a cash-driven economy, problems like conversion and RTO became more prominent as the transactions rose,” explains Chirag.

He adds, the team understood the problems and brought products and provided solutions to them. Chirag explains the products are centered around improving user experience and using AI/ML-enabled algorithms to track and analyse customer behaviour patterns and filter high-risk customers. 

“We are now working towards upgrading our existing products and innovating new products using artificial intelligence and machine learning to bring out best-in-class overall ecommerce solutions,” says Chirag. 

Building the core team 

Apart from Chirag, the core team includes Vivek Bajpai and Ankush Talway, who come with several years of experience in the ecommerce space. The trio had even worked on several side projects together earlier.

“When the pandemic hit and ecommerce exploded, I reached out to them as it was the right time to build an ecommerce enablement company in India. We played around with a few ideas and hashed out what we wanted to do. We had a lot of support from our angels who helped us improve our products and proposition as well as help us with the early team. One thing common in the early team is the belief in our idea and mission. The alignment around this happened very naturally, and it was just a matter of looking at the problem and understanding the gaps. The total team size right now has grown to around 100 people,” says Chirag. 

However, one of the challenges faced by most startups in India right now is scaling up the team. What helped GoKwik overcome this was its early decision to build the startup remotely. This opened large pools of talent, which would not have been possible in an office only environment. 

“It has led us to scale the team to 100+ people across 41 cities. Even though the founders are based in Delhi, only around 30 percent of the team lives in NCR. We started in November 2020 and went live with our products in December, since then we have been able to scale to 100+ category-leading brands which speaks to the strength of our products and team,” says Chirag.

Starting with the core problems 

While there are many problems that need to be addressed in the ecommerce industry, the startup decided to solve two of the biggest problems - low conversion rates across the funnel and high rates of Return to Origin (RTO) on CoD orders. 

The team started with three initial products. It built proprietary AI/ML models to help reduce Return to Origin (RTO orders) and increase Cash on Delivery (CoD) conversion rates.

The Kwik checkout and UPI solutions help improve checkout conversion rates ensuring higher GMV realisation, increased profitability, reduced Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), and increased delivery rates. 

Chirag explains clients like The Man Company, Manmatters, Vmart, and V2Retail are already seeing a reduction in RTO after deploying GoKwik’s proprietary AI/ML solutions.

“Our checkout suite works on improving user experience by making the entire checkout process seamless, one click and easy for them. Additionally, we also ensure returning customers don’t have to refill all the details again. Our technology provides returning customers with pre-filled orders so they can complete the shopping process quickly and easily,” says Chirag. 

Also, while UPI payment is a five-step process, the GoKwik UPI suite aims at making it a one-step process without having to switch apps. This way, it enhances the user experience by providing ease of access.  

“To reduce RTO, we have AI/ML-enabled algorithms in place that tracks customer behaviours and flag high-risk CoD orders. Additionally, it also tracks the accuracy of the addresses customers have filled and finds the exact location of the customer by identifying nearby areas. This comes useful as a lot of orders go to Tier III and IV areas where the location might not be exact, hence the risk of RTO might rise for the merchants. We solve all this and more and are aiming to significantly reduce RTO, boost conversions and increase GMV realisations for our clients,” says Chirag. 

He adds, since the early team had diverse experience in fintech and ecommerce, it helped set up the initial product with minimal changes. 

Market and future

Within 250 days of the launch, GoKwik claims to have on-boarded 100+ brands and currently powers an annualised GMV of $250 million. 

According to several media reports, India is home to over 63 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), many of whom had to pivot to new business models to survive the coronavirus pandemic. 

At present, the startup competes with the likes of Shopify, which helps small merchants start, run, market, and grow their business, powers over one million businesses in 175 countries.  There are startups like Unicommerce in the space as well. 

“Our business model is set up in such a way that we have skin in the game, which means we’ll make money only if our merchants are benefitted and our solutions demonstrate value delivery. This ties in with our merchant-first approach. This is what sets us apart from our competitors and gives our clients a deeper trust in us.” 

“Our key clients include some of the biggest names in ecommerce in India like Mamaearth, Good Glamm Group (Myglamm), LimeRoad, EyeMyEye, Boat, OZiva, The Souled Store, Noise, and VMart. GoKwik has also recently partnered with Fynd to power the online presence of some of the most iconic brands in India,” says Chirag. 

The platform charges a take rate for the GMV of its clients. While so far GoKwik has been solving for conversion rates at checkout and post order so far, the team aims to add more verticals soon. 

In future, the team aims to double the size of the product and tech teams, hire best-in-class talent and subject matter experts to enable the development of innovative products to increase conversion rates across the funnel, as well as make the existing offerings more robust.

“We are one of the few companies in India being built remotely, which has enabled us to hire talent without any geographic restrictions and scale our team fast. We also plan to partner with more players in the ecommerce and D2C ecosystem and support the overall internet economy of India. Furthermore, we are planning to expand internationally and solve issues the international ecommerce space is facing as well,” says Chirag.

Edited by Megha Reddy

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