“We don’t want to stick to Facebook as a platform. We want to enable selling wherever people are on social media,” says the twenty year old Founder and CEO, Ashish Agarwal of Exprestore, a Facebook commerce startup.
Early days of Exprestore
Ashish began dreaming of running a startup at an age when we look for colleges for a bright future. The young ambitious entrepreneur started his journey by selling websites and also made money from the SMS marketing boom. The firm that was started along with his brother is an advertising company known as Adskaro today.
During this time, while working with a lot of small and medium sized businesses, Ashish witnessed that most of the eCommerce businesses have made some presence on Facebook. But, at the same time they also hesitated to get into the know how’s of the tech part. This was the time when Ashish went ahead to fill the gap and in doing so he launched Exprestore in the May of 2012.
“I knew what the missing link was but we initially built an Indian payment gateway which today is also one of the USP’s of our startup. Payment gateways are still painful and we didn’t want our customers to go through it. So once the payment gateway got acceptance we launched our product in the market,” added the very enthusiastic entrepreneur, Ashish while talking to me on a Saturday afternoon from his office.
While reviewing the startup mid last year, I had highlighted that the product is neat and simple and so is the backend process that is usually used by the customers of Exprestore.
Market response for Exprestore
But how are the Indian users of Facebook responding to commerce on social media specially when there has been some bad press for Facebook commerce and with the country seeing a lull in eCommerce business.
Ashish is of the viewpoint that India is a discount centric market and people are ready to buy if brands are ready to sell. To give a snapshot on how eCommerce has been doing in terms of revenue, Ashish shared some pretty impressive figures with me:
1. Exprestore is generating four and half lakh monthly revenues.
2. And on an average it has been signing up with 40 stores monthly.
Challenges and the road ahead
Moving ahead, he informed that he has been focussing quite aggressively on the small and medium scale business. To do this effectively the startup has recently partnered with Getit, who work extensively with the said business in India. Besides this, white label solution to clients, RSS store feeds with eCommerce companies are some of the exciting initiatives by which Exprestore is growing its presence.
However, Facebook’s inability of still not showing apps on mobile is hitting the startup, as Ashish believes that today the world is a mobile first one. Right now Exprestore is missing out on a lot of traffic and he is already working around ways to crack it.
[pullquote id = “lhipull” class=”center_lhi”]For now we are hoping that Facebook will take a serious note on the problem. Additionally, we have started selling on platforms like Tumblr where we have seen a lot of traction.[/pullquote]
“We are thinking of using Facebook’s API and implement a solution in which a user views an image of a product on her news feed and on click she would be landed on the page of the brand. Along with this we have tied up with Offergrid that is promoting the client products on various platforms.”
By the time we ended our long chat, I was highly impressed by the excited young man. And for all the young aspirants out there trying to chase their dreams, Ashish has to say this,
“The journey is not going to be easy but don’t give up on hope and invest in building a great team; they will help you grow your business.”