Cape Town e-commerce startup Shopstar adds marketplace features


Cape Town e-commerce store building platform Shopstar has launched new marketplace features on its platform to allow users to review and endorse stores.

Shopstar allows anyone to create and manage their own online store. It has built e-commerce stores for the likes of SUPER, Matblac, Research Unit, Hoi P’loy and Dear Rae, and Disrupt Africa reported in January the company was one of 13 startups selected to take part in high growth investment company Knife Capital’s Grindstone accelerator programme.

The startup has seen impressive growth in 2015, and has continued to add new features. Among the latest is ShopstarU, which follows principles similar to Airbnb. ShopstarU allows people to leave reviews on purchases they have made online or in-store.

Built on top of this is Shopstar’s endorsement model, which has been launched in beta. The model allows shops which carry stock from other shops on Shopstar to feature these on their platform.

“Smaller brands struggle to sell online and so we launched these features to build a stronger community and make it more attractive for their customers to shop and discover other brands on the Shopstar platform,” Shopstar managing director and co-founder Jens Herf told Disrupt Africa.

“The objective is to develop a connection between buyers, shops and brands. In the long run shoppers will be able to search for products within their social circle, location and by brands the trust. For example I am searching for leather bags in Cape Town, I see my friend Christian has bought and written a positive review about store and it has been endorsed by Visi Magazine. I will instinctively trust this store.”

Herf said at the end of the day e-commerce and commerce are actually the same thing, with Shopstar as a result not distinguishing between in-store or online purchases.

“If a customer buys in-store they will be able to write a review of the actual purchase. If they have vouchers on their profile they can use these in-store. Future functionality will be gift vouchers across multiple stores. The more registered users we have the more we can drive them to making online purchases,” he said.


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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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