Though the eCommerce ecosystem is still relatively young, there’s no denying that it continues to grow and evolve every day. As social networks like Twitter and Instagram test the waters of retail, buy buttons and in-app shopping could become dominant forms of doing business in the digital space.
With more than $300 billion in total eCommerce sales in 2014 according to Internet Retailer, though, the proliferation of shoppable social networks and online merchant communities have made it that much harder logistically for small businesses to maintain effective online presences. Managing sales and responding to customers through a single channel can tax any small merchant’s resources to the limit, but multiply that by all the platforms modern consumers shop on today and you have a recipe for disaster.
However, ShopSeen and CEO Adeel Ahmad think there’s a smarter way to run an eCommerce business without missing a beat.
Founded in 2013, ShopSeen markets itself as an all-in-one solution for merchants tired of trying to maintain continuity between all the different places they list their products online. Instead of a rote inventory management system, though, Ahmad explained how ShopSeen goes a step further to offer a solution uniquely adapted for the fragmented world of eCommerce.
“We wanted one dashboard that was more than just the order management you get with a classic inventory management solution,” Ahmad said. “We wanted something on the front-end, too – one place to post products on any commerce channel or social channel while also handling inventory order management.”
The most irresistible tech innovations are the ones that solve a pressing need for retailers, and ShopSeen seems to fit right into what small merchants want out of an eCommerce experience. Through a retailer-facing dashboard, users can change product listings and check customer messages from every social network they do business on – all with a few clicks. Most sellers who use ShopSeen are of the vintage and one-of-a-kind item variety, Ahmad explained, but some larger retailers that want to offer sneak peeks on upcoming products through social media have also used ShopSeen to reduce the administrative burden of chasing down data.
While Ahmad believes that ShopSeen is a great tool to help eCommerce players clean up their current operations, he also emphasized how an all-in-one solution makes it simple to push new products out faster than any competitor.
“Through the act of posting to Instagram or pinning on Pinterest, retailers have created a product for sale, put it on a checkout page, and potentially pushed that product into the Square register app,” Ahmad said. “With that one post, you’re selling online, offline and on each of your social channels.”
But what self-respecting multichannel retail management solution would skimp on mobile? Not ShopSeen. Ahmad explained how an iOS app is currently under review from Apple’s app store. Once approved, retailers with ShopSeen will be able to adjust inventory and contact customers from any channel they list on. According to Ahmad, it will be the first native mobile multichannel inventory control app for retailers. When you add in the fact that customers shopping through social networks aren’t forced to set up accounts or register with ShopSeen, it’s clear why Ahmad believes his startup’s solution to be eminently easy for both shoppers and merchants to use.
A lot of attention is given to startups that make the consumer path to purchase as frictionless as possible, and while a smooth checkout process can help drive conversions, customers won’t even get to that point if the retailer is spread too thin across several social networks. As eCommerce continues to capture a larger and larger share of the market, it’s products like ShopSeen that will help retailers keep pace with the ease-of-use their customers will – and have – come to demand.