Interview with Shopline
Tell us about your yourself!
Shopline is a shop creation platform to help merchants in Asia sell and market their products. We provide the easiest no-coding-needed way of creating a beautiful self-branded e-commerce web and mobile site within minutes. There is a huge opportunity in this market as many businesses are just starting to utilize the internet and do not have the technical know-how to get their brand online.
Tell us about your team
We have a great team of 3 at Shopline, Raymond Yip, Tony Wong and Fiona Lau who cover design, development and business. We met at Startup Weekend back in April 2013 while working on different projects. We share the same passion and vision in e-commerce and in particular, mobile commerce. We all feel that online commerce will be a big growth area for Asia in the coming years. Small to medium sized businesses are on the rise and are looking to expand quickly on the web. In the meantime, traditional businesses are beginning to see the real value of having an online presence and are yearning for the same type of expansion.
What’s the progress been so far?
After our beta launch in November, we now have over 500 shops on our platform, mostly Hong Kong and Taiwanese merchants. Since our product is in English and Chinese, we plan on aggressively growing our network of shops in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, before we enter other countries in Asia.
Who uses your service?
Our early adopters are extremely diverse, ranging from brick and mortar stores aiming to reach more customers via their own online shop, to entrepreneurs launching purely online businesses. We also have a nice mix of industries represented in our network, everything from accessories to clothing brands, to electronics and watches and even food!
What makes you different from DIY Website Builders?
There are some larger global players but the competition in Asia is extremely fragmented. Our competitive advantage is our simplistic setup process, knowledge of the Asian selling culture, and that we are entirely optimized for mobile, both for the merchants and the consumers. Our target market is merchants who do not have the technical know-how of setting up an online store and are just entering into e-commerce. We are developing a process that is extremely easy and smooth thereby lowering the entry barrier for these merchants. As we understand the importance of mobile, all shops that use our platform get responsive sites, meaning the experience is consistent across all devices.
What are your challenges?
One of the bigger challenges is getting the merchants to understand that e-commerce really isn’t as difficult as it seems! With our product, the process is simplified, creating fewer hurdles for businesses to get started. Additionally, e-commerce has thus far been heavily focused on marketplaces in this part of the world; platforms such as Taobao, Yahoo, and to a lesser extent eBay. These huge marketplaces have solidified themselves as the go-to places to conduct online transactions. However, these conventional marketplaces do not help businesses to build their brands online. Many merchants are now beginning to understand the value of having their own self-branded online shops and Shopline is poised to provide them with a low-cost solution that fits their needs.