In 2014, while setting up The Man Company, a grooming essentials brand for men, the founders were clear on one thing—they had to pick their battles carefully. The company chose to focus on its products. Envisioned as a digitally native brand, it decided to use Candian e-commerce enabler Shopify to build its online store.

“We reached out to Shopify’s US team as they weren’t extensively in India then. By luck, they had a partner in Ahmedabad who coordinated with us to launch the website,” says co-founder Hitesh Dhingra. Two weeks later, the company had a fully-functioning digital storefront.

At the time of The Man Company’s launch in 2015, the company was spending between Rs 50,000-70,000 ($680-$955) a month on Shopify and its ecosystem of e-commerce apps. The business has come a long way since. It has raised $3.5 million in funding and claims to have recorded gross sales of Rs 86 crore ($11.7 million) in the year ended March 2020. Shopify remains a central cog in its online sales strategy. As of February 2020, Dhingra says that 75% of The Man Company’s sales came through its Shopify channel, with the business now spending about Rs 6-7 lakh ($8,200-$9,500) a month on Shopify’s solutions.

Dhingra was among the first wave of Indian entrepreneurs who turned to Shopify for their e-commerce needs. At the time, the easier way to go about things was to simply list on an e-commerce marketplace, such as Amazon or Flipkart. 

Over time, however, the number of Indian brands flocking to Shopify as an alternative to e-commerce marketplaces or in addition to them has grown. Today, everyone from coffee chain Blue Tokai and John Jacobs Eyewear use Shopify as a window to the world of e-commerce.

Covid-19 has only seen Shopify’s traction increase. In the first six months of 2020—half of which saw the country enter a stringent lockdown—Shopify claims that 123% more Shopify-powered stores were created as compared to the same period the previous year. A company spokesperson declined to share the total number of Shopify stores in India. However, interactive e-commerce database Store Leads estimates that there are around 20,272 such stores. Nearly a quarter of those were added in the three months leading up to September 30.

Admittedly, India is still a speck in the overall scheme of things for Shopify. The full-stack e-commerce enabler boasts a market capitalisation of $124.47 billion. It also claims to serve more than a million merchants and over 1,000 partners scattered across the globe. Such as the Ahmedabad-based company The Man Company enlisted that enable its ecosystem services like logistics, marketing, etc. 

Company filings show that its gross merchandise value for the second quarter of 2020 grew 119% year-on-year to $30.1 billion.

AUTHOR

Bhumika Khatri

Bhumika covers e-commerce, consumer internet, and everything startup for The Ken in Delhi. In her previous stint at Inc42, she spent two and a half years writing about a breadth of startups and topics. A commerce graduate, Bhumika completed her postgraduate in journalism from the Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media, Bengaluru. You can reach her at Bhumika@the-ken.com

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