Anurag Avula, CEO and founder, Shopmatic by Koh Wanzi
A payments and banking industry veteran, Anurag now heads Shopmatic’s efforts to help entrepreneurs set up their digital shopfront.
How does Shopmatic see itself in relation to existing e-commerce platforms like Carousell and Shopee?
We provide the entire ecosystem – this includes the website itself and other marketing channels, as well as shipping and the setting up of Facebook stores – for anyone who wants to start an online storefront. There is easy integration with both local and international payment gateways like PayPal, so customers will have access to everything they need to hit the ground running.
This means that our target audience is comprised mainly of small and medium enterprises and even home-based entrepreneurs who want to go digital. In comparison, platforms like Carousell and Shopee are primarily mobile marketplaces and find more common use among individuals looking to sell things like second-hand items.
Can you elaborate more on how Shopmatic can help home entrepreneurs advance their businesses?
The idea is for it to be as simple for people to use as possible, so our customers will not require specialized knowledge of HTML or any other technicalities. We also aim to offer a good amount of customization options so users can tweak their individual sites to their liking.
What does the larger digital trend mean for regular brickand- mortar stores?
Buying trends are shifting online, so it’s become increasingly important for businesses to grow their presence in the online space. Slowly but surely, everyone is getting onto the digital bandwagon. But as customers move online, brands will feel the effects of this shift as well. At the end of the day, bigger firms are probably more resilient to these changes and may feel less of an impetus to move online, but smaller brands may have no other choice than to go with the flow.
What is it about Asia that has allowed various e-commerce platforms to flourish in the region?
In regions like the US, the market is already very saturated. However, the percentage of e-commerce sales in Asia – even in a developed market like Singapore – is still relatively small when compared to offline sales, so there’s plenty of room for growth. Furthermore, SMEs make up 99 percent of all enterprises in Singapore, so there is truly a large untapped base of individual entrepreneurs.