Suppose you just started a small business. You are selling your products on various social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
But the problem is, it is taking a lot of time to maintain individual platforms. You have to manually take orders from each platform, and then manually manage payments - all of which are time-consuming and prone to human errors.
To address, you are probably thinking of creating an e-commerce website of your own. But this will drain a hefty sum from your pocket. Is there any alternative?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes, which is where Cococart comes in.
This start-up helps small and medium scale businesses build their websites on the go - in a few clicks, within a few minutes. You can use the website to receive orders from all the different platforms and process them in one place.
Cococart has recently entered the Bangladesh market. However, this start-up is based in Silicon Valley, the modern cradle of innovation and financially backed by Y Combinator, one of the largest VC firms in Silicon Valley.
Tanvirul Islam Dipto, the country manager of Cococart in Bangladesh, oversees its growth and operations in the country. In a conversation with The Business Standard, he chronicled how he brought the startup to Bangladesh.
A little backstory
Dipto, who dropped out of undergrad studies to pursue his entrepreneurial goals, was building a similar product, InstaChef, last year. His early concepts were comparable to that of Cococart.
However, for a number of reasons, his initiative did not bear fruit at the time. Before that, he was part of the early-stage growth team of Pathao and Kludio, where he helped launch their services.
Fast forward to the beginning of this year, he learned about Cococart through a mutual friend. It piqued his curiosity. "Cococart had a similar idea," Dipto added, "but they executed it far better than I could."
"Most of these features are entirely free and they take zero percent commission."
In a networking effort, he wrote an email to the Cococart co-founders and got a reply shortly. They spoke on a call about their shared ambition to bring e-commerce to the masses.
Cococart was excited to expand into Bangladesh after learning about the country's thriving economy. They offered him the opportunity to lead the expansion in Bangladesh.
Cococart was first launched in Singapore in September of 2020. Although Cococart had its first customers from Bangladesh long before it launched here, it started focusing on Bangladeshi entrepreneurs in April of this year.
Empowering local businesses
"A good business solves genuine, painful problems," said Dipto. "Here, the problem is that there is no easy way to build your online store, traditional platforms or agencies are too complicated and expensive for small businesses and non-tech savvy entrepreneurs."
"We have a solution to that," he continued. "We have created the simplest system for small enterprises to sell their products online. Using the Cococart platform anyone will be able to set up an online e-commerce store within a couple of minutes. With Cococart you make the whole process a lot easier. Our platform is specifically built for e-commerce."
So, if you have anything that can be sold online - from food to clothing to digital content to pretty much anything - you might benefit from Cococart's automation.
In fact, customers may place orders quickly and simply using a basic yet attractive digital shop. All administrative tasks, such as automated receipts and payments, are handled by Cococart.
Instead of combing through your overflowing email, there is a dashboard that keeps track of and organises all of your orders. Cococart also accepts a variety of payment methods, including credit cards and bKash, Nagad and Rocket. You may also use the 'Calendar' tool to take pre-orders and block dates that are unavailable.
But most interestingly, most of these features are entirely free and they take zero percent commission. If and when your sales grow, you may subscribe to more powerful features like a custom domain, analytics, and promotion codes to help you grow your business.
Cococart will save you a substantial amount of time, whether you are a tiny home-based business trying to grow your revenue or a large enterprise looking for an efficient mechanism to help you connect with clients.
"Taking your business online can seem daunting. With so many e-commerce platforms to choose from, it can be difficult to pick the right one, especially with hidden fees and complicated setups that may take weeks or even months before your shop goes live," he said.
He also added that "Cococart is designed to take local businesses online quickly and effortlessly. Unlike other e-commerce platforms that require a ton of customisations and back-end work, Cococart streamlines the process so that you can start selling in a few clicks."
Backed by Y Combinator
Being backed by Y Combinator was a major milestone for Cococart. Y Combinator is a startup accelerator that has helped startups like Airbnb, Dropbox, etc. They fund the most promising startups all over the world and provide guidance.
"We are excited to have the support of such an incredible investor as we build towards our mission of empowering local businesses across the world," said Dipto.
Since its launch, Cococart has supported over 10,000 businesses in more than 75 countries. Cococart has a global, distributed team of more than 10 people based in the United States, Singapore, Thailand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Nigeria, Dubai and India.
The team includes executives and engineers who formerly worked for Google, Dropbox, Figma, HP, and Blackmagic Design.
And according to Dipto, they are a company passionate about transforming local businesses and enabling new ways of selling online.
Dipto said, "With our super simple e-commerce platform and a growing community of merchants, Cococart is the easiest way for people to start their own business."
"Our immediate plan is to aggressively expand in underserved emerging markets, notably Bangladesh," Dipto said. "Our Bangladeshi shoppers and merchants are both enjoying the incredibly simple Cococart experience. In the last few months, Cococart has empowered hundreds of small businesses. Bangladesh, we believe, will become an e-commerce powerhouse in a few years. Aside from that, we are relentlessly working to improve our product and support more verticals like digital products, event bookings and ticketing."