From purchasing a lovely boot cut trouser to buying a finely detailed piece of jewellery, shoppers are exposed to a plethora of brands and innumerable options. Every nook and corner of a city has either a shopping mall, a small retail store or an outlet. And every time consumer go to these outlets or stores they notice some of or the other difference in terms of product quality, prices, brands, etc. We often think that the more the options, the better it is. But same time these countless options lead to a perplexed consumer. Once a consumer steps out of his home to buy apparels, it becomes one exhilarating but exhausting trip to so many outlets and malls to get “that one” good fit.

The offline shopping universe is too vast. Hence, Shopholix, a mobile app, curates the offline shopping options available near customers based on their profiles and preferences.

Founded by Hemant Upadhyay, Abhinav Midha and Chinmay Bhatt, Shopholix is a location based mobile and web interface that enables shoppers to locate, explore and plan their shopping trips.

The best part about this app is that you are notified about the related trends offered by the stores near you. Shopholix allows you to virtually browse the latest fashion and stay connected with your favourite stores. The current version of mobile app brings you to the city of Mumbai - where you can discover malls, markets, stores, products, exhibitions, boutiques and much more.

IndianWeb2 interacted with Abhinav Midha, Chief Business Officer at Shopholix to know more about their mission and vision in regards to the startup.

On Starting up

Hailing from Allahabad, for Abhinav Midha entrepreneurial journey started with Café Coffee Day where he built the entire cookie range. He co-founded bowl house in 2008, a chain of Asian cuisine restaurants across West and South of India. He built a strong profitable business which couldn’t scale.

During his Bowl House days, Midha have been an active Zomato advertiser. He noted how an aggregated interface solves a business problem. “Fashion and Lifestyle Category is different in the way it works – primarily consumer psychology and retailer mathematics differs from food and service category. The brick and mortar businesses operate on a digitally isolated platform. Unlike ecommerce, they lack shopper predictability and re-targeting capabilities. The brick and mortar stores lack the ability to engage digitally acquired users. Shopholix is solving a brick and mortar retailer problem – our strong contextual re–targeting is a smart product of technology and business solutioning,” says Midha

There is a lot spoken in the media about retail apocalypse – retailers have to adapt to the new digital wave. Shopholix enables them to adapt and monetize the entries digital opportunity in their brick and mortar stores.

“My entrepreneurial vision is scalability – at Shopholix my focus is to build a scalable product and operations. Entrepreneurship did not just happen to me – it’s the way I look at life, continues learning as we build,” says Midha.

The industry is fragmented with lot of perceived solutions. The problem statement is not clearly understood as the ecosystem is ever evolving. “We live in a reactive culture – the biggest challenge we face is how to craft a proactive solution for a reactive business mindset. To overcome the challenge, we encourage pilots for each client onboarding.” explains Midha.

All About Business And Technology

Shopholix is a B2B company, a proactive CRM software with a shopper interface. They charge Rs 30 per managed (engagement & retargeting) user on the platform. Currently they have over 7 retailers with over 40 stores managing over 40,000 users on the platform. The entire platform is built on MEAN stack. The user interfaces are built on Java, XCode, and HTML 5. the startup claims that platform is seamlessly and securely integrated with multiple 3rd party applications ensuring 360 digital shopper management. Further, high grade encryption ensures data security across ecosystem.

Started with a seed capital of $100,000 in October 2015, Company has generated revenue of over 15 lacs since inception. Currently they are focused on Indian market and have already built a base in Mumbai.

Not A Replacement To CRM

Surviving in the market and dealing with competitors is a challenging task for any startup. The source of competition could be direct and indirect. Shopholix faces direct competition from various CRM applications currently feebly penetrated in the market. Though the solution they offer is not comprehensive, the retailers often hope for a great future (as promised in the catalogues, mostly expected in coming releases).

On asking Midha whether Shopholix is a replacement of a CRM or not, he said, “We are not replacement of a CRM. We are smart layer which sits on top of your current technology architecture. We also face indirect perceived competition from social media, fashion influencers, and hyper local e-commerce companies. There may be some overlap in terms of solution offering, a piece of something we do could overlap with a competitor, but primarily from a solution standpoint Shopholix is a unique offering which is going to be the most penetrated software solution in retail industry.”

Future Plans

Earlier startup had raised $200K to strengthen their product, increase client base and standardize operation by March 2018. Now founders are planning to raise a growth fund of $5 million in April 2018. They are further planning to generate over 3 crore revenue by April, 2018.

“Keeping the enterprise nature of our solution, we are looking at strategic investors who along with the money bring knowledge and market relationships. The average ticket size for the April 2018 fund raise would be half a million USD,” says Midha.

For a startup entrepreneur, early adopters are their actual angels. For next 12 months startup plans to ride along with early adopters and consolidate their product, capabilities and operations. “The best part of the Shopholix journey would be from the growth phase where the speed of growth would be directly proportional with the expansion plans of the clients (retailers). The opening of FDI, positive socio-economic states, stable government would contribute in a great future – a compilation says over 50,000 new brick and mortar stores would open by 2025 only in India. The growth would primarily be driven by tier 2 and 3 cities,” concludes Midha.

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