One of the biggest trends in e-commerce today is the role social media is playing in the industry. Consumers exchange information, recommend and review products and services widely. enMarkit is an Indian company that wants to capitalize on this trend and facilitate and complete actual transactions on social media.
Vipin Aggarwal, campus entrepreneur turned venture capitalist, and Ekta Mittal, formerly with Amazon, launched enMarkit at the end of 2012, a mere year after meeting each other.
Through enMarkit, Vipin and Ekta take a technology-enabled approach to addressing the fundamental issues of doing business online in India. The idea is to emulate real world Indian shopping behavior where people seek references about good shops from friends then use their friends’ name and business with the shopkeeper in order to get better deals. After a purchase, the shopkeeper is eager for more referrals so he offers incentives for repeat shoppers and referred customers.
Providing transactional solutions for social commerce to both buyers and sellers alike.
That’s the enMarkit motto Vipin Agarwal, founder of enMarkit, champions. By combining all the best aspects of already existing ecommerce websites such as ETSY, Amazon and eBay, with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, enMarkit has found a way to leverage the advantages of social networking to properly benefit ecommerce for service providers and individual buyers.
EnMarkit’s nifty Pinterest-style website allows vendors to create a Web page for their business, get a dedicated brand page within minutes, and sync up their social networks so that enMarkit can manage their product listings for them. Likewise, buyers can rate and review sellers they’ve purchased from and share their experiences among their online network.
Since the launch of enMarkit at the end of 2012, they have reached over 7,000 new registered sellers, over one million page views with only a 23% bounce (industry average being 40%), and the month on month growth in number of visitors is over 400%. In addition, 37% of traffic on the enMarkit website comes from referrals.
F.A.S.T Payments at O.N.E. Storefront
The team has built two enabling solutions, the F.A.S.T. check out system and ONE unified storefront, to help translate this real world social buying behavior to the virtual world of ecommerce.
As all vendors know, if something is too hard for customers to figure out, they won’t do it. Through enMarkit’s universal and mobile friendly Fast Anywhere Secure Transactions (F.A.S.T.), buyers can safely purchase services or products that run the gamut from handcrafted gifts to home stays abroad.
First, sellers choose their membership:
- Starters: Those who are just learning how to sell their services get up to five listings.
- Advanced: They get between five and fifty listings.
- Professional: They get fifty or more.
Then they create a listing that describes their product or service (pictured top of page).
Once they’ve entered a description, uploaded photos and even videos of their product, a unique, integrated payment link is generated allowing the seller to then share their listing through every online networking outlet they use.
The perk here is that there are no setup fees because sellers don’t pay enMarkit anything until they actualize their first transaction. Once they’ve made their first sale, only “Advanced” and “Professional” members pay a first transaction fee. EnMarkit does, however, enforce a 5% transaction commission for each sale, which is used to recover money transfer fees and operating costs, but buyers can use enMarkit at no cost.
When buyers click a listing link a clean popup opens with the item description, its price and a “Buy It” button at the bottom, which takes them to the F.A.S.T. page that collects their payment information.
F.A.S.T. makes it easy for buyers and sellers to make online purchases, but the most intriguing part about enMarkit, what sets them apart from all other e-commerce websites, is their ONE storefront, which connects vendors and customers on multiple social platforms.
Social media then plays a crucial part in lead generation and indirect marketing for the enMarkit seller because once a shopper has purchased an item, she can write a review for the seller and share her new product and experience with her online network of friends.
On the flip side, in order to retain and draw more customers, sellers can offer discounts to loyal patrons who write positive reviews and refer their friends.
Can this be the start of crowdsourced marketing? Where social networks function organically as airwaves for consumerism?
ONE enables social graph search among the displayed items so that buyers can get information on the sellers who have been ranked by their social networks; they can see who’s viewed it, liked it, commented on it, bookmarked it, bought it and reviewed it.
Furthermore service providers are ranked on the enMarkit webpage depending on how closely they are connected to each buyer creating a personalized shopping environment for each buyer and seller. Further empowering the buyer is their ability to post a product or service they are looking for on enMarkit and have vendors vie for their business.
For Buyers it’s an Inverted Ebay; For Sellers it’s a More Personalized Craigslist
Vipin and Ekta have created a mash up of ecommerce websites and social networks and added Yelp with a twist. And they’ve done so all the way from Gurgaon, India, a small city just north of Delhi.
Vipin had spent more than five years investing in, managing, building and exiting multiple business in India, but he was always eager to help entrepreneurs and therefore kept a look out for technology enabled solutions to help launch their businesses.
Once Vipin and Ekta were introduced to each other, they discovered a shared interest in social enablement. Whereas Vipin shared the business challenges to be addressed, Ekta brought together solutions through technology.
At the end of 2012 Vipin and Ekta left their jobs and started the journey to launch Colabcom Technologies, the holding company that owns the enMarkit brand. And so far enMarkit has already been recognized at multiple forums for its unique innovations on design, simplicity, and usefulness to the online transactional ecosystem. Just to name a few, enMarkit has been shortlisted among the top 4 up and coming ventures from India by the TiE Global Conclave, has been hailed as the fastest growing ecommerce company in India by YourStory, and has been featured on NextBigWhat, India’s largest platform for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Not even a year later.
Currently, enMarkit focuses on the Travel and Design verticals within the Indian geography, specifically targeting service providers and service seekers, but in due course, they will broaden the footprint of their offering.
When asked about enMarkit’s future, Vipin’s ambition is for enMarkit to reach over one million users by this year’s end. He expects to be operational break even within the next 5-6 months and he expects to be profitable on a Net Profit basis by March 2014. And Vipin won’t be resting on his laurels once that goal is reached.
The idea is to make enMarkit the one stop destination to provide solutions for all go-to-market and post-launch market building strategies for individuals and businesses. Instead of focusing on service led business models, the aim is to leverage technology to create products that offer higher scalability and better margins.
Vipin and Ekta have introduced a universal yet individualized social ecommerce solution that embraces social network marketing unobtrusively for its users. It is a personalized market for buyers and sellers to mingle among their own, their family’s and their friends’ vast online networks.