A Cardiff technology entrepreneur is looking to take on the big boys of the eCommerce world by giving thousands of small, independent retailers a major post-pandemic boost.
Tej Randeva has launched Add to Cart, which claims to be the UK’s first online marketplace focused on supporting small-scale businesses without taking away any of the autonomy that makes these ventures unique.
His eCommerce website will enable online sellers to benefit from expert marketing methods without the expense associated with a professional campaign, getting their products noticed by more new customers and giving them a much-needed lifeline after the difficulties of COVID-19.
Unlike other rivals, Add to Cart is designed to work alongside sellers’ existing sales platforms, such as Shopify, making it easy for anyone to sign up, get started and to start selling.
The site already has over 100 businesses and more than 60,000 products listed and has generated hundreds of online orders for retailers, including giftware specialists, boutique crafts, grooming experts and food suppliers.
“The last 18 months have been extremely difficult for small businesses, with COVID-19 restrictions causing chaos and restricting traditional footfall,” explained Randeva, who is also behind price comparison website for hire services anythingforhire.com.
“Most of the major marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are not geared towards small sellers and make it difficult for them to succeed without spending lots on listings and ads.
“With Add to Cart, we have developed a platform that is easy to use, has no subscription fees and, most importantly, leverages all of our back-end marketing expertise and support to get sellers’ products to the top of the online rankings.”
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He continued: “This will give independent retailers a major boost following the pandemic, providing them with access to thousands of new customers they would not normally get in front of.
“The trial period has exceeded our expectations and the feedback from users has made us even more confident that we’ve created a vibrant and much-needed e-commerce marketplace.”
Users can sign up to Add to Cart completely free of charge, importing all their product details directly from their existing eCommerce platform through a simple, single-step online interface.
Once sellers have signed up, the startup says they will benefit from a wide range of services, including SEO marketing, paid advertisements, social media campaigning and more – all designed to improve visibility and boost sales.
While many of the big online marketplaces do not release customer details to their sellers, Randeva’s new platform will make all data available, allowing users to remarket and build lasting relationships with their client base.
The team will also soon be launching a new feature that will allow shoppers to search by locality, encouraging them to support businesses within their communities.
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Randeva added: “Add to Cart has the potential to scale-up extremely quickly and we’ve got exciting plans to cement our position in the UK and then move overseas, potentially starting with Canada and then moving on to the US, Australia and Europe.
“So far, I have self-funded the entire venture, but to accelerate the growth, we’ll be going to market for private investment, initially looking to raise between £500,000 and £1m.
“This will help us ramp up activity and expand the team, creating up to 15 jobs at our HQ in Cardiff over the next 12 months.
“COVID-19 has taught us a lot of things and one of those is the importance of community, both in life and in business. We’re backing the small independent retailers and giving them their own platform to sell and grow.”