Business is very competitive more than ever with a lot of channels to sell your product. Your Business needs to have presence where your customers are. These days, all the customers are online and businesses cannot afford missing out an online presence. For people with limited or no knowledge on the Internet, it is a daunting task to set up shop online and start selling. Zepo, founded by Nitin Purswani is the perfect offering for someone who wants to take out the hassle of setting up shop online, but want to reap all the benefits of having one. After having 2 unsuccessful ventures – a T-Shirt Business which got killed by a biggie and a web startup, Nitin’s third startup has hit the bull’s eye and is helping small businesses solve one of their major pain points.
Currently, the team is an eclectic mix of rockstars from as diverse backgrounds as they come, who drive the company every day. Zepo is currently a 17-member team and operate out of 2 offices, in Mumbai and Delhi. They are also on the lookout for passionate people to come and join the Zepo team.
Story behind the Startup
Just out of college, I started a small t-shirts manufacturing business. We used to print Marathi slogan t-shirts & supply it from shop-to-shop in Pune, Mumbai & Nashik. As the business grew, we wanted to open an online store for our t-shirts brand. But we went through a lot of hassle from dealing with mediocre web developers and designers to the choke up with payment gateways and courier companies.
At Zepo, we are trying to solve the same problem that we faced when we wanted to take our t-shirts business online. Slowly & gradually, this problem has become our passion & obsession, and we intend to make a big impact over here.
At Zepo, it’s been a complete roller coaster ride. But surely, there have been fist-pumping, chest-thumping milestones. The first one was when we got accepted as part of the wonderful Morpheus Gang. Then followed the backing by One97 Mobility Fund. And lately it’s been the pleasure of serving more than 600 customers on the Zepo platform.
We launched our Partner Program in January and the response has been great. It currently contributes to 5-7% of our revenues.
We now have a dedicated Partners Manager, who looks after the Partner Program and ensures that every partner is generating business from themselves.
On naming the Startup “Zepo”
The best things in life are random! And we quite agree with this now. We were brainstorming to come up with a fancy name for our start-up. And playing with vowels, we just happened to arrange “Z”, “E”, “P” & “O” together! And that stuck, like love at the first sound. 🙂
Why Zepo, and not their competitors
The foremost point that sets Zepo apart from its competitors is the simplicity and ease-of-use of the platform. We have onboard a 52-year old lady from Bangalore who has setup her chocolate online store on Zepo and all she knows to use is FB & Gmail. But even she manages and runs it all by herself! We are that easy and simple. The simplicity of our user-interface is our biggest USP.
The 2nd point that differentiates us from the crowd are the kick-ass designs that we keep rolling out for all our online stores. At the end of the day, it’s the online store templates that a store owner is buying from us. So we make sure that it’s only the best that we make available. No compromise there.
And the 3rd thing, I think, we are managing to do right is extending a complete ecommerce eco-system to anyone who wishes to sell online. Beyond an online store template, these store owners are also looking for a helping hand with marketing, assistance in logistics and some expert advice on how to sell online. We have made sure that we partner with the right people and have the best tools on our platform, to facilitate the same.
On achieving excellent Customer service testimonials
We have 2 quotes hanging on our walls at the office.
1. “Customer satisfaction is worthless. Customer loyalty is priceless.”
2. “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
And we swear by these two! These are not just statements; it’s the creed team Zepo lives by every day. We genuinely want to see our customers succeed and we work towards that every day.
Learning experiences from Previous unsuccessful ventures
The t-shirt business that I started soon after college, although did well, we couldn’t take it to greater heights and it remained a small business. Now, when I see back & connect the dots, it all seems like the entire experience at Bijness(dot)in – the previously failed web start-up & the wonderful experience at the t-shirts business came in very handy while building Zepo.The market for a t-shirt business has close to zero threat towards new entrants. Our designs got copied overnight by one of the biggies in the industry. And with more money he ensured that the same designs got better distribution, thus killing our business. During the same time, I also tried my hand at a web-startup called Bijness.in, which unfortunately failed, but taught me a lot of things right from product design to product management and a little bit of coding. In retrospective, what didn’t quite work was that we built something which the customer never wanted. We just built it because it sounded like a cool idea.
Future Plans for Zepo
All our plans – the short, the medium and the long term plans are towards solving one sole objective – simplify e-commerce for small businesses in India. The real game will begin when we’ll have 10,000 small Indian enterprises carrying out their online businesses actively using Zepo. At that point, we’ll have an unmatched leverage over Indian e-commerce. And we can continue to tune it to benefit the small businesses, for every vertical related to e-commerce – payment gateways, logistics, marketing, etc.
To be more specific, the initiatives planned in coming 2-3 years are:
A. Solving the next big problem for store owners – helping them get business to their online stores
B. Giving the store owners more and more control over the design of their store via HTML/ CSS customization
C. Launch the app marketplace to allow app developers to offer their product to store owners
D. Launch the theme marketplace to allow the designer community to serve the store owners
We hope you have enjoyed doing this interview as much as we did doing it. Here’s wishing Team Zepo the very best!