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Chat-based e-com platform getting small business owners online

Published : Jan 14, 2016, 11:20 pm IST
Updated : Jan 14, 2016, 11:20 pm IST

Months after starting an organic food and beverage store in Arakere area of Bengaluru, Santosh R realized the need to go online to reach more consumers and make people aware of the products in the sto

Abey Zachaiah (centre), co-founder of Goodbox, with other co-founders and team members.
 Abey Zachaiah (centre), co-founder of Goodbox, with other co-founders and team members.

Months after starting an organic food and beverage store in Arakere area of Bengaluru, Santosh R realized the need to go online to reach more consumers and make people aware of the products in the store. Getting on an app seems to be on the priority list for most businesses these days. Small business owners, though have a different story to tell.

Apart from living under the constant fear of losing their customers to online portals, small retailers, like Santosh—though interested in the idea of going online or having their own app— face different challenges. The additional cost to build an app, fear of managing the technology and failure of experiment resulting in financial loss creates resistance among small scale business owners to invest in an app. Goodbox, a tech startup is helping these small businesses share an app and interact with their customers on a chat based interface.

The Goodbox app lets business owners manage their business page on the app and also facilitates a chat-based interface between store owners and their consumers. Divided in to categories, such as super markets, grocery stores, restaurants, government bodies like BESCOM and newspaper delivery agencies, the app provides a single platform for different businesses to connect with consumers.

A consumer logging into the app is given categories based on their location to find the nearest store. They can then chat with the store owner, check the availability of required product, request for a home delivery and make the payment through the Goodbox app.

“Consumers have a huge resistance when it comes to downloading apps. This problem also resonates with store owners who do not want to invest in an app that they know will not be a hit with consumers. Yet they want to be online to make sure they don’t lose their customers to big online players,” says Abey Zachaiah, co-founder of Goodbox explaining the inception of the idea.

A year through their launch in January last year, Goodbox has roped in 1600 business owners in the city and have over 48,000 registered users on their app.

For business owners like Santosh, Goodbox has reduced the overhead cost of maintaining the app while still having presence on an app. Through an app presence on Goodbox, he makes over 300 transactions every month since March.

Latif, who owns a supermarket on the Outer Ring Road, says being on Goodbox has solved his problem of dealing with cash as customers directly make payment through the app and the amount is credited in his account next day. His monthly transactions through Goodbox are over 500 on an average.

Goodbox charges business owners an annual fee of `999 for enabling payment option through the app. Chatting with customers, displaying message and menus on dashboard is a free service for business owners on the app. The company charges 1.99 per cent for every payment transaction made through the app. The app is completely free for consumers.

Location: India, Karnataka, Bengaluru