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SoBanHang will get $1.5M to assist small Vietnamese shops promote on-line for the primary time

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Just a few months in the past, brothers Hai Nam Bui and Hai Lengthy Bui have been creating a bookkeeping app for small retailers in Vietnam. Known as SoBanHang (or “gross sales e-book”), it will assist companies that normally depend on paper ledgers digitize their operations, just like Khatabook in India and BukuKas and BukuWarung in Indonesia. Then a brand new COVID-19 outbreak hit Vietnam. The companies SoBanHang had been working with, which are sometimes household owned and have lower than 5 workers, struggled to manage. The staff held a hackathon and got here up with a brand new product for retailers to create on-line shops and handle orders. Since launching three months in the past, SoBanHang’s “hyper native e-commerce enabler” has signed up virtually 20,000 retailers, many promoting on-line for the primary time.

The corporate introduced right now that it has raised $1.5 million in seed funding, with participation from traders together with FEBE Ventures, Class 5 and Kevin P. Ryan, founder of companies like Gilt Groupe, Enterprise Insider and MongoDB.

Earlier than launching SoBanHang, Hai Nam Bui based Datamart Options, an information analytics and automation platform, and served management roles at Lazada. Hai Lengthy Bui additionally spent a number of years in administration at Lazada, earlier than holding the chief analytics and chief know-how officer positions at Landers Superstore, a Philippines grocery store chain.

The concept for SoBanHang was planted when Hai Nam Bui visited a grocery retailer whereas carrying a Lazada T-shirt. The shop’s homeowners noticed the shirt and requested him how they might begin promoting on-line. So he helped them register an account on Shoppe and begin importing product photographs and descriptions.

“After I had all the things arrange, they bought their first order and requested, ‘how can I ship the product?’” Hai instructed ahosti. “I mentioned {that a} third-party logistics supplier will come and choose up the products. After which they requested in regards to the cash. They didn’t perceive the method they usually didn’t really feel comfy giving items to a third-party logistics suppliers.”

A photo of a merchant in Vietnam looking at a smartphone

Certainly one of SoBanHang’s purchasers

For the reason that majority of e-commerce orders in Vietnam are paid by means of money on deliveries, the shop’s homeowners additionally had questions on fee. Hai defined that the client would hand money to the rider, who would then give it to Shoppe and, in flip, Shopee would deposit it into the shop proprietor’s digital pockets.

“And so they requested ‘the place is the pockets? How can I withdraw cash to a checking account if I don’t have a checking account?’ That was an a-ha second, once I realized that quite a lot of e-commerce platforms are nonetheless not touchable to about 90% of shops in Vietnam,” mentioned Hai. “The techniques are nonetheless manner too complicated for them.”

Hai and his brothers began engaged on a digital bookkeeping app to assist companies digitize their operations, however when the outbreak and lockdowns hit, it turned crucial to assist them begin promoting on-line instantly. Based mostly on SoBanHang’s analysis, there are about 16 million “nano” to micro-sized companies in Vietnam. Many are very native, serving prospects inside a pair kilometers. Actually, companies on SoBanHang usually carry out their very own deliveries on foot.

“That was our second a-ha second in regards to the retailers, which is that they’re promoting to prospects of their neighborhoods. The patrons and sellers are literally inside strolling distance. After they join with patrons, they’ll make that order transaction, after which retailers ship the nice themselves and accumulate the cash on the buyer’s doorstep,” mentioned Hai. This eliminates the necessity for SoBanHang to have complicated logistics or fee techniques, or for retailers to make use of third-party supply apps that cost excessive fee charges.

Lots of SoBanHang’s purchasers beforehand managed most of their transactions on paper and didn’t have a point-of-sale system or laptop computer, so the app is the primary time they’ve digitized their operations. SoBanHang can be utilized for every kind of shops, however through the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s seen probably the most adoption from meals and comfort shops.

The retailers are sufficiently small that their prospects can simply message them orders, however SoBanHang makes the method smoother and permits them to promote extra. Having a web based storefront additionally helps put together retailers for different COVID-19 outbreaks and preserve relationships with their prospects.

For instance, SoBanHang has a strategic partnership with Viettel, the most important telecommunications firm in Vietnam. This lets them supply discounted SMS to companies so prospects can see particular affords even when they haven’t put in SoBanHang’s app and don’t get its push notifications. For instance, if a grocery retailer needs to promote out their stock of contemporary fish, they’ll ship out a textual content blast to customers.

After lockdown restrictions are lifted, Hai mentioned SoBanHang will help small retailers proceed competing in opposition to bigger gamers like grocery store and comfort retailer chains. Their benefit is that “they’ve an excellent relationship with their prospects, they know them nicely they usually sit and wait for his or her prospects to return. We need to flip that relationship into a brand new gross sales technique for them.”

Sooner or later, SoBanHang plans to proceed engaged on its authentic plans for bookkeeping app. Like different bookkeeping apps, it plans so as to add monetary providers, like working capital loans that may be disbursed even with out a digital pockets or checking account. However within the near-future, the startup will proceed serving to small retailer promote on-line for the primary time.

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