E-commerce aid Shopstar adds new functionalities

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Cape Town startup Shopstar, a platform that allows anyone to create and manage their own online store, has added additional functionalities, including a notification button for when products are out of stock and a tracking service to see where orders are coming from.

Shopstar, which launched in August of last year, has built e-commerce stores for the likes of SUPER Glasses, ZAXLonline and Dear Rae, has more than 1,400 registered shops with a combined turnover of more than ZAR5 million (US$460,000) to date.

The startup has now released a host of new functionalities for its stores, including a “notify me” button allowing shoppers to enter their details and be informed once a product becomes available, and the ability for orders to be sorted by email address so shop owners can easily find their repeat customers.

New customers can also now display a splash page containing social media details while their store is being built, while an orders map has been introduced showing all online orders and where they are coming from, allowing owners to better target their marketing.

Shopstar client service manager Bettina Schutte told Disrupt Africa the startup was focused on building e-commerce as an industry in South Africa.

“E-commerce is still very young in South Africa, and that we need to focus on developments which will help market the shops. These include the trust economies we have been speaking about – linking buyer profiles to shops and social media,” she said.

The company also recently launched a design tool, allowing shop owners as well as designers on the Shopstar platform to design their own store.

It is very intuitive and easy to use, offers virtually unlimited choices of colours, fonts, creating background images and much more,” said Shopstar managing director (MD) Jens Herf. “We believe that a successful shop primarily needs good products, good product images and professional order fulfilment. However, we have had many requests from shop owners and designers for a more advanced tool. We listened to our users and developed this module over the last two months to effectively replace prescribed themes.”

Shopstar is self-funded but is in conversation with prospective partners, having been one of three startups to receive an investment offer at the SparkUp! Live event in Cape Town in May. It also took part in Seedstars Cape Town and Get in the Ring, and is part of the Microsoft BizSpark programme.

“It is our vision to see every young creative and small business in Africa sell and market him/herself online. Working closely with our clients, our mission is to provide a product that allows them to successfully, cost effectively and without much technical knowledge sell their goods and services online,” said Herf.

“We are continuously developing the platform to add new features but only after careful deliberation and consultation with users of the platform.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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