Pakistani E-commerce Startup Bazaar Raises $30 Million
Here is the marketplace news that captured our attention this week.
Pakistani E-commerce Startup Bazaar Raises $30 Million
Bazaar Technologies, an E-commerce startup from Pakistan, raised $30 million from investors in one of the nation’s largest fundraisings by an early-stage tech company, its founders said.
Silicon Valley-based Defy Partners Management LLC and Singapore-based Wavemaker Partners LLC led the initial round of funding into the one-year-old firm, which operates a business-to-business market place for grocery stores. Acrew Capital Management Co., Japan’s Saison Capital, UAE’s Zayn Capital Ltd. and existing backer Indus Valley Capital also participated in the round.
In the world’s fifth-most populous nation, fund raising by startups is taking off as investors trigger a frenzy for backing private tech firms in the region, including India. Bazaar, co-founded by friends Jangda and Hamza Jawaid, is tapping into a $170 billion domestic retail industry that operates mostly offline.
Since data about Pakistan’s traditional retailers was scarce, the company started out by going door-to-door across Karachi to survey shops. It found out that merchants spend most of their time purchasing inventory, and now helps mom-and-pop stores buy supplies from one marketplace instead of meeting 100 suppliers a week or physically browsing different markets.
Bazaar also launched a digital ledger product about three months ago to record orders and is testing a buy-now-pay-later offering, the founders said. Its app also offers prayer timings and business cards, part of an effort to become the go-to place for traditional retailers.
The company intends to expand across ten major cities within the next year, build its technological back end, hire more staff and explore further fintech opportunities, according to the founders. What's more, they will begin by trading groceries but have plans to continue to add different categories as they grow to eventually become a B2B marketplace for different types of retailers in the country.
The founders of Bazaar Technologies clearly saw great potential to digitize this primarily offline market and give more power to small businesses. Pakistan's retail industry is largely offline with small business owners relying on in-person visits to wholesale markets to source inventory which often leads to opaque pricing and product shortages. The lockdown would have exposed some of these problems even further and the lack of digital shopping would have cost business owners both time and money. Bazaar's tech-enabled platform not only allows small businesses to address some of these pain points, but it also contributes to Pakistan’s technology ecosystem; a significant contributor to the nation's economy.
TikTok expands Shopify partnership
TikTok is moving into e-commerce. This week the company announced an expanded partnership with e-commerce platform Shopify, as well as a pilot test of TikTok Shopping among select Shopify merchants across the U.S., U.K. and Canada in the weeks to come.
The social video platform first announced its plans to partner with Shopify last October, with the introduction of new tools that allowed Shopify merchants to create, run and optimise their TikTok marketing campaigns directly from the Shopify dashboard, as well as new integrations within the TikTok For Business Ads Manager.
The expanded deal being detailed today takes things a step further. Soon, Shopify merchants with a TikTok For Business account will be able to add a new “Shopping” tab to their TikTok profiles and sync their product catalogs to create mini-storefronts on their profile.
Kylie Jenner is among the early adopters of the new service, and will use the feature with her Kylie Cosmetics brand, which will be available to shop directly on TikTok. The pilot is also underway with other Shopify merchants in the U.S. and U.K., and will roll out to merchants in Canada in the weeks ahead. Merchants can request to join the pilot through Shopify’s own TikTok channel, the company notes.
Another aspect of the new partnership involves bringing to Shopify merchants product links that can be used to tag products in their TikTok videos. This way, TikTok users will be able to click the tagged product to be directed toward the merchant’s storefront for checkout.
Shopify also said there’s growing demand among merchants for working with TikTok, noting installs across Shopify’s social commerce channels increased by 76% from February 2020 to February 2021.
TikTok’s larger goal with shoppable content could ultimately be to challenge Facebook and Instagram, which has also been investing in online shopping in recent years with things like Facebook and Instagram Shops, a dedicated Shop tab in Instagram, shopping in Reels and more.
TikTok is the latest platform to dive into social commerce amid a wave of social media companies betting on users discovering and purchasing new products they see on their screens. Now, creators are paving the way for a new kind of entrepreneurship where content, community, and commerce are key. By enabling new in-app shopping experiences and product discovery on TikTok for the first time, Shopify is powering the creator economy on one of the fastest-growing social and entertainment platforms in the world.
eBay to Give CPC Ads Priority Access to Search Page
eBay is readying a full launch of cost-per-click ads (CPC). Called eBay Promoted Listings Advanced, the ads give sellers priority access to the top of eBay search results pages.
With the CPC model, eBay sellers pay a small fee each time a shopper clicks on a promoted listing. Unlike the “standard” Promoted Listings program, which uses a cost-per-sale model, eBay will charge sellers for “advanced” Promoted Listings clicks, even if no sale results from the shopper clicking through. The program is currently in beta and will roll out to eligible sellers later this year.
eBay has also partnered with third party service providers in the US, Europe, and China to make the new Promoted Listings Advanced CPC ads more widely available for sellers through APIs. eBay is working with ChannelAdvisor, Frooition, Just Applications, Pacvue, Push Auction, SoldEazy, Teikametrics, and TongTool.
In Monday’s announcement, statistics showed that for the majority of eBay purchases, approximately 70% start from search, and one in five eBay purchases starts with a listing that appeared at the top of search results pages.
eBay is introducing more advertising types as sellers are increasingly promoting their listings. It hasn’t found a way to grow sales on the platform but is getting better at monetising them. This is a step in the right direction as CPC ads are the next step in developing a universal suite of advertising solutions for sellers seeking more preferred access and control in search rankings and budget planning. What's more, the collaborations with third party service providers will allow Promoted Listings Advanced to become more accessible for sellers who use these platforms every day.