The service will be extended to small businesses soon.
The online marketplace has witnessed innovations to bring consumers anything but convenience. And making its way to the e-commerce world is ShopandBox, which claims to solve all your pains and problems in shopping online.
ShopandBox provides a service enabling shoppers to shop on the Internet in a new, fun and socially engaging way. Shoppers can choose to shop from Online and/or Brick and Mortar stores in other countries around the world where they pair them with trusted Boxers or personal shoppers, who will do all the shopping for them from item purchasing all the way to delivery of items to the shopper doorstep.
Xin-lungTai, CEO and co-founder of ShopandBox, has a global upbringing that allowed him to spend considerable time in the UK, Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, and Asia. He spent over half a decade travelling for work. But being based primarily out of Australia and Asia with time in the USA, it became very apparent to him that there is definitely a need for a new way in which Shoppers shop on the Internet to address certain problems such as price discrimination and item availability. Identical items are priced significantly differently around the world and certain items simply don’t become available in certain countries.
What is ShopandBox?
ShopandBox is essentially a peer to peer shopping service that is driven on-demand by shoppers who are given the opportunity to shop ‘just like a local’ vicariously through a Boxer from overseas.
“Peer to peer shopping, in other words that is social in its user experience as all communication is transparent and occurs on one order page where the Message Board is the central feature. All this under a global umbrella, meaning you as a Shopper in say Singapore can literally purchase anything (legal) from the UK, USA, France, S.Korea, Malaysia, Japan, HK as ShopandBox has Boxers there ready to go!,” said Xin.
With ShopandBox, every customer will have an assigned boxer to them, a Boxer will act as the customers personal shopper from start to finish. You tell them what you want, from where (if you know) and they do all the purchasing, consolidating, packaging and shipping of items right to your door step.
ShopandBox claims of putting the power back into the hands of the Shopper as Shoppers decide where to buy the item from, for how much, and how they want their item(s) packaged so that they can save on international shipping fees. Xin said that ShopandBox has partnered with DHL EXPRESS 3 day shipping to provide stunning rates where savings are passed onto the Shopper – rates that are not only much faster, but cheaper by up to 70% than if the Boxer were to walk into a local post office.
In addition to the actual cost of item(s) purchased by the Shopper, the Shopper also pays for international shipping and a small service fee of 10-14% which is how ShopandBox and the Boxers make their money.
Xin said that their number one philosophy is a transparent shopping experience, and everything (from pricing of items, shipping and any verbal chat discussions) is visible to both Boxer and Shopper and in fact, anybody on one centralised order page.That allows for Shoppers to actually see how ShopandBox works, by looking into the orders of others, and perhaps even purchasing what other Shoppers are purchasing too.
Currently, Xin shared that they are developing a new venture called ShopandBusiness whereby they work with small businesses to assist them in the purchasing of whatever their company may need from overseas to lower their costs, or if a portion of their business is looking to either extend their supply chain globally and use them as a freight provider.
According to Xin, ShopandBox, has been 100% bootstrapped to date between the partners and a family angel, using resources such as industry expertise from friends, family and their own savings. A lot of sweat and time have been put in and that includes giving up on their corporate careers, but Xin said they run a very tight ship with minimal/no wages as they continue to improve on their Beta product in anticipation of funding that will allow sizeable paid marketing to commence.
“Funding is a requirement in order to boost the business, and early signs of spending small paid marketing money ($500-$1000) is very promising. We’re seeking to seal funding by the end of the year, currently in advanced negotiations with an incubator investor of sorts that’s just listed in the ASX and a couple of angel investors with experience in this industry. For an early stage low margin, high volume start-up, we’re seeking to partner up with the right people who have both the risk appetite and e-commerce area expertise not afraid to try something different and most importantly truly believe in ShopandBox as a scalable, global e-commerce marketplace,” Xin revealed.
Xin-Lung Tai, 29, leads the whole ShopandBox team. Xin spent over half a decade as a management consultant focusing on complex technology solutions for some of the largest Australian companies across telecommunications, banking and resources working pre-dominantly in Australia, but he has also spent 2 years in Asia based out of Singapore in between.
Xin founded the company along with Lily Lin, 33, also a management consultant from Washington DC. Lily, has over a decade worth of consulting experience with clients in Australia and America, across telecommunications, media and most education industries. She also has an MBA from Madrid Business School.
The rest of their team includes, Louis Tan, 29. He was trained in the Silicon Valley and worked in the start-up scene for 2 years there before returning back to Malaysia to set up Red Ape Solutions, a consumer facing web and mobile agency with a wide clients from Jatomi Fitness to large ones like Astro and Samsung.
Rebecca Chia, 29, has spent in Research and Statistics working for nearly 5 years in Singapore, before moving over to Australia to work for Mr and Mrs Smith, a boutique luxury travel agency. She holds a Masters in Commerce (International Business) from Melbourne University.
ShopandBox team firmly believes that what they offer is a service that is fresh, engaging and most importantly one that is different from everything else that is out there in the e-commerce world looking to shake the way people shop online!
Name of the company: ShopandBox
Founders: Xin-lung Tai, Rebecca Chia, Louis Tan, and Lily Lin
Total funding at hand: $40,000
Target Funding: $600,000 to $1.2million
Source of funding: Self-funded
Start of operation: Nov 2013
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