Hoppingo – Online Curated Store
There was no democratic way of finding or rather exploring the world of online shopping which was burgeoning by the day. That is when the seed germinated for launching a portal that would help users discover amazing products in Oct’13. Hoppingo aims at addressing the inherent need of “aur dikhao” and visiting many shops before zeroing in on a product. Her background as a media professional meant that there was a lot of focus on developing the right content as well.
Mayur Sethi (co-founder) added the much needed fuel to the fire. After having worked for a lot of ecommerce websites, he knew product discovery would become the biggest challenge in ecommerce. The duos collective experience in media, technology and marketing gave Hoppingo much needed push in the early days of starting-up. Hoppingo, from Jan until Aug, have seen a 500% organic growth in terms of traffic specific to new visitors. The current growth can be mostly attributed to ‘word of mouth’ as team have not yet invested in marketing that makes the success more noteworthy.
Braj: What Is Hoppingo all about?
Swati: According to an Assocham-PwC report, the Indian e-commerce industry is expected to cross the $100-billion mark in value by 2019, growing at 35 per cent annually – thus a CAGR of 35 per cent over the next five years. It is well established fact that e-commerce is growing. Moreover, at the same time, consumers are busier than ever before. Here lies the opportunity – They will move towards curation sites much faster than they have moved towards ecommerce.
Hoppingo realized shopaholic’s intrinsic need to find the most amazing products available for sale online. Hoppingo curates beautiful products across categories & across e-stores. It allows consumers to buy the products directly from the merchant site. Hoppingo aims at unearthing unique designs and products not found through traditional search methods thereby easing the process of discovering qualitative and aesthetic products, all under one roof! Hoppingo is a product discovery platform that will facilitate end user to shop from the best online stores at one place.
Braj: How would you like to position Hoppingo?
Swati: When I discovered Pinterest, it became an instant addiction. Pinterest had something wonderful to offer her everyday. I wanted Hoppingo to give the users a similar ‘WoW’ experience. When we read testimonials like – ‘This is awesome where can I buy this from” – We feel we’ve really helped someone discover something close to their heart. It’s very gratifying!
In Mayur words, “While our focus is to make the experience of the end user absolutely satiating, highlighting online shopping sites that are relatively lesser known but are selling amazing products makes our trip so far worthwhile. Some estores are selling products on existing large marketplaces but haven’t been able to establish their brand identity”. We are not a replacement for the large and established marketplaces but we are a marketing platform for online shopping sites and we will complement the large marketplaces in more ways than one.
Braj: We all have realized that having a dedicated co-founder is important element of start-up growth. Tell us how you co-founders come together?
Swati: I was scouting for the right co-founder and team members before I met Mayur. Mayur ran a digital agency – ‘MP09 Digital’ and was helping brands establish a digital presence and drive revenues through the channel.
I discussed Hoppingo with Mayur and we instantly connected on the idea and since then we never had to look back. Mayur has spent considerable time on this product and other aspects of the business. The other team members are Rahul Budhraja (ex- Exec Director Nielsen, Singapore) and Bhaskar Viswanadham (an IITian who has worked for over 16 years in a financial solution company in New York city). The current team also consists of product curators, content writers, social media & marketing managers, designers, operation execs and a bunch of coders and tech enthusiast. We also have few notable names from the industry as mentors. Having said this, we are still in a growth phase and constantly looking for great talent.
The team at Hoppingo are very excited about the idea. As Bhaskar says, “Hoppingo is in the right place at the right time to provide a one-stop shop for busy consumers in a rapidly growing market to the best, expertly curated products, and timely news and information about the latest happenings and trends across a variety of market segments. I am very excited to be part of the core team at Hoppingo”
Braj: I understand that Hoppingo is a wonderful idea and you also have a good team. The two basic elements of start-up success. Please share with us where would you like to go from here? What is your long term vision?
Swati: Vision is definitely of becoming a market leader in this space. We want users to consider Hoppingo as a means to discover great products and online shopping sites. As Rahul says, “India has the fastest growing ecommerce market in the world! There are several thousand ecommerce sites already and thousands more will come up over the years. Hoppingo will address a key pain point of online shoppers in this rapidly growing market. It will help them cut through the clutter of ecommerce sites by cherry picking tasteful, trendy products from various ecommerce sites and display these products on its site, offering an online boutique shopping experience! Hoppingo will also create informative and entertaining online content that advertisers can use to effectively target online shoppers.”
Braj: What is your take on competition?
Swati: Competition is always great. It makes you innovate and keeps you on your toes. It’s in a way a compliment and a proof of concept that the market is gearing up to a new way of shopping online. This concept has been predominant in the West and we have some very notable global comparable. However India as a market, is very different and there really isn’t a clarity of a market leader in the current scenario. Hoppingo has a very clear differentiation and edge from the competitors.
Braj: We are in the dynamic digital world, and to stay relevant and grow we need to innovate. What can we expect from Hoppingo in the coming months?
Swati: We are very excited about the next few months. We’ve wowed our existing users with the range of curated products and content and they keep coming back for more. We would now want to reach out to a much larger base and act as a recommender, friend and guide for online shopping. Shoppers have this inherent need to get recommendations and we are fulfilling that need in the simplest possible manner. We are aiming at consistent innovation and a continuous qualitative service to our users. Ecommerce portals that do not have deep pockets always struggle for users and we would be providing them a platform to put their best foot forward.
Braj: What kind of revenue numbers you are doing?
Swati: The team is not chasing revenues at the moment. They are trying to build a great product and change the way people shop online. We have a very strong business model and hence are confident that the returns will come in sooner than we anticipate.
Braj: How the start-up is funded or is it bootstrapped?
Swati: The startup has raised seed fund from some angel investors and is in the process of reaching out to larger investors.
Braj: Could you tell us more about your clients?
Swati: We get calls from ecommerce sites everyday stating that they see immense value in our work and offerings. The response has been simply excellent.
Braj: In your journey of starting-up, I am sure that you must have experienced some exciting moments. Would you like to share with us some of those stories?
Swati: In a start-up every single day is exciting. Right from that first call when an ecommerce portal credited us for driving traffic and conversions on their site till date, when we regularly run campaigns for ecommerce portals, it’s been a roller-coaster journey. Appreciation, criticism, feedback, kind words have all become part and parcel of our lives and we’ve taken everything in our stride. We’ve learned that the end user has to be satisfied with our offerings and services because that end user becomes our good-will ambassador.