Kartrocket: past, present and future..

KartRocket provides a power packed do-it-yourself ecommerce platform, keeping in mind the unique requirements of the Indian ecommerce industry and Indian SMBs. With KartRocket, Indian SMBs can launch their web and mobile ready stores with best designs, built-in shipping, payment and multi-channel sales integration.

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The why

KartRocket emerged out of trying to fulfil a need for a certain shoe manufacturer who wanted to enter the online retail business, wanted a custom design, a single point for all communication and contracts – but did not want to spend too much on it. As we interviewed more brand owners and retailers, we realized this was pretty much a consistent need across the SMB population in India.

The existing solutions in the market operated on a bespoke project model which led to longer go-live periods and no price transparency. Each component of the ecosystem was sold separately at a custom price. The entire process of going online was slow, expensive and cumbersome.

As we explored more, we realized the problem was three-fold: lack of an effective product, lack of aggregators and lack of integrators. This realization offered opportunity enough to quit our day jobs and work full-time on developing the KartRocket product.

The making

We realized that the key to offering an ecommerce platform in India on an on-demand, low-touch and quick time-to-market model would be to offer several prebuilt options to our customers – both in terms of site design and in terms of the ecosystem to support the merchant’s e-tail business.

Our entire functional product development effort came directly from customers. We basically let our pilot customers paint a blank canvas with their requirements and in turn delivered their websites for free. By the 11th pilot customer, there were no more requirements that weren’t already there!

To ease the effort that went into designing the customer’s website, we developed cutting-edge design templates for each industry vertical we were targeting. Now, our sellers could simply choose a template, upload their products & graphics and have a ready ecommerce enabled site in less than 3 days.

To ease shipping, we aggregated leading domestic and International shipping providers into a courier exchange which we called ShipRocket. As demand aggregators, we pre-negotiated bulk shipping rates and offered those to our customers. With real-time integrations we were able to offer one-click shipping to Indian SMBs. This meant no additional contracts, low shipping rates, instant access to shipping and cash-on-delivery collection facilities. It also means access to a much wider geographic range for delivery and cash collection.

We also pre-negotiated rates with payment gateways and instead of pocketing the commission – which was the norm at the time – we passed it on to our customers.

Many of our customers were concerned they weren’t actually making any sales. We knew we had to solve this problem or we would never be able to retain our customers.

We started by integrating product feeds such as Junglee, Shopzilla, Google Products and Bing Products into our system. We also successfully integrated eBay and Amazon with our platform and that gave our sellers a real reason to stick with us.

We added over 100 apps that merchants could “plug-in” to their store to extend their store’s functionality further. Apps allowed our merchants to get specialized features for their needs such as social media, viral marketing, customer service, email marketing and much more.  Apps also laid the framework for adding new courier companies, payment gateways, third party integrations and more internal features in the future.

More recently, we have added a micro-services marketplace and a classifieds directory under the brand “Taskr” which will serve as a one-stop shop for all services which cannot be offered over a SaaS model, but are nonetheless required for setting up and running a serious ecommerce business. This stems from the fact that several Indian SMBs require customization and marketing services, which cannot be offered by a company focusing on SaaS. So we decided to create a marketplace of freelancers who would, on pre-defined prices, offer services such as photo shoots, product data entry, image clean up, store setup, store design customization, search engine marketing, pay per click marketing and even product packaging solutions.

With KartRocket, our sellers have the entire suite and tools needed to run their ecommerce business. They have access to beautiful web and mobile store-fronts, ShipRocket: a unique shipping engine, an integrated payment gateway and multiple channels to get sales. Apps help merchants extend their store to an enterprise level platform and also keep our product fresh and ever-growing. Taskr is the answer to all custom work required, without the hassle of getting involved directly. The bundling of the entire solution is what has worked for our company. Indian SMBs want to work with one service provider. Without compromising on the premise of SaaS, KartRocket has been able to become that service provider. A true one stop shop.

From here on

We’re lucky to have found the right set of mentors and investors who have helped define the product and market strategy going forward. We plan to use the funds raised for enhancing the product even more and investing in marketing and sales.

On the product front, our focus will be on creating many more design templates for every industry, adding more online sales channel integrations and making the setup and maintenance process as wizard-based as possible. We believe in productizing as much of the process as possible and being very aware of how our customers are interacting with the product. This will be the key to converting a do-it-for-me mindset present in Indian SMBs to a do-it-yourself mindset – which is crucial for any SaaS business. We are targeting customers in the obvious apparel, accessories & electronics categories but are also actively looking at importers, manufacturers, service providers, restaurants and travel companies who can greatly benefit from a simple yet effective solution like KartRocket.

Kartrocket: past, present and future..

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5 Hidden Problems slashing at your eCommerce Stores

You have all the latest designs and tech-wiz in your e-store. It could also have some of the best brands and the most classy of attractive deals. But when you create your e-site you could have unknowingly used a few things that inhibit your progress even without your knowledge. You probably don’t even know what they are and how badly they might affect your business. Well no problem! Lets sort this mess out.

  1. 1.          Emphasis of Headlines

Yes the first word with headline is catchy. But using them makes me personally feel really desperate. Like my page is screaming “Read me! Please read me!” But then it doesn’t matter what you “feel”. If it sells, use it and sell.

Headlines outperform to images almost always. Glittery and attractive pictures are no match to a smartly written header. Research shows that people only scan the first couple of words in a headline before they make their decision to leave or stay. Frankly you bet a lot on the heading. It is just one line that is responsible to not only convey your message to the viewer but also grab the focus of your customers.

It should be crisp, clear and concise. You have a limited time to confront your visitors with your purpose. And if they don’t like what they see there is a rare chance they will buy what you have to offer. So put up the best and most amazing few words together to add juice and substance to your titles.

  1. 2.          Avoid the register option

I know these options are very well intentioned. In fact they are to make the site more interactive and user-oriented. But they are usually a huge turn off for any potential customers. It generally implies the person cannot access stuff on your site without first signing in. And signing in is not as easy as eating an ice-cream. On the contrary it’s as difficult as making ice cream at home. It’s a bogus task with a lot of tapping on the keyboard and thinking and then typing some more. And it just keeps going on. What is the point of registering on a site when you can buy stuff on a little lesser site without the formalities?

So usually when users encounter this option even remotely, they back right off the site’s home screen. Avoid the whole thing until absolutely necessary.  And if you can’t do without this information I advise you to keep it all super short. With only a couple of really significant details like the name and email-id, as this might not deter your customers very highly.

  1. 3.          Optimum Navigation Mechanisms

Once upon a time when the internet was just the World Wide Web and there was no google searching anything on it for information was an exasperating and annoying task. Not only this but the task was generally a rather unpleasant failure too, because however hard you might try there was no way you could locate what you wanted.

Now however Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has made the world easier and everybody’s temper a lot cooler. Information is really easy to seek and use but more importantly it is now accessible for common man.

Now imagine an eager buyer who is scrolling through some of the sites for any particular items he wishes to buy. He comes to your site, finds it rather attractive and decides to give your services a shot. He stays on your page but can’t find what he is really looking for. He gets rather jumbled up in the process of his searching as you have no particular working methodology in your search. He will obviously snap at one point or the other and probably shift to a more convenient and organized eCommerce site. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you just lost a really great customer because you were unable to provide the ideal amount of ease your users deserve.

One of the most efficient search mechanisms is the breadcrumb search. You choose from a few limited options which then has its own options and so on. But you always know where all the options are leading you and you can henceforth go where you please on the site without any problem.

  1. 4.          Tricks of great typography

This one is rather difficult to master since there is just so much you can improvise on. Also every style is different and someone or the other always supports even the weirdest of designs. So what to do here to get optimum amount of consumers. To stick to the commonly preferred and admired typography schemes is a really neat trick. After all if the users don’t like the way your content reads, they won’t let you know about it, they’re just going to leave.

Improving margins and line height on every page with text, adding white space both between lines as well as around is a must.

Ever seen those flashy pages with red background and yellow font colour? Well you obviously saw them and then clicked right away, so you probably don’t remember them.

Well no one likes these weird combinations that are so horrible to look at and impossible to read without getting a headache. The easiest colours to read? Good old fashion black text on a white background — it may not be original, but it’s a safe bet to attract customers.

  1. 5.          Site loading time

The following button is a pain in the neck to everyone whenever it might appear.

In fact as per research, people do not wait longer than 3-5 seconds for a site to load. And they wait even less than 3 seconds when they are accessing eStores on their phones. So your site might be using high scale images that take hours to load, but the customer who was there is now gone. Users really are impatient beings and will rather classify you as a bogus site than wait and evaluate your work.

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