#Asia Ex-Yahoo friends come up with a more ‘human’ way to shop


Raj Ramaswamy and Ashish Parnami founded ShopInSync
It happens often. You impulse-buy a gadget and end up regretting it. If your best friend had been around, you might have known of a smarter, cheaper, alternative in the store next door. That’s equally true of clothes, furniture, and a zillion other things.

Friends and family often hold the key to a happy purchase. They help you make an informed choice and pick the right stuff – especially when you are buying online. But how do you get them to see and approve from miles away?

That’s where ShopInSync, a mobile-based app, steps in. It enables a user to search through millions of products from top ecommerce sites like Flipkart, Snapdeal, and Amazon, and compare prices and offers before buying.

Not just that

The app lets shoppers consult their family and friends too – through an integrated messaging service. That is important in a country like India, where even minor shopping decisions can be influenced by social factors.

“We designed ShopInSync to serve the unique needs of the Indian shopper,” says San Francisco-based Raj Ramaswamy, CEO of the startup by the same name that has launched the app.

Four months ago, ShopInSync was founded by him along with Bangalore-based Ashish Parnami. The two were colleagues at Yahoo.

Here is how it works

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Photo Credit: Stefano Ravalli

The Android-based app lets you browse through the offerings of leading ecommerce sites. To begin with, it will cover 12 categories, including fashion, kids, electronics, mobile phones, tablets, home goods, and appliances.

The messaging app then lets you discuss a potential purchase with those you want to consult. And once a purchasing decision is made, it takes you to the etailier’s site. “We aspire to bring a seamless, comprehensive and connected shopping experience,” says Raj.

And how does ShopInSync make money? Through a fee. For instance, if the user buys from Snapdeal or Flipkart, those companies will pay ShopInSync a referral fee.

Crowded space

The app, however, enters a crowded space in India. Several other well-funded price comparison and discounts sites such as BuyHatke, Pricemojo, MyDala, and Cashkaro are already making their presence felt.

But what could help ShopInSync score is its messaging service. With ecommerce expected to touch US$100 billion by 2020 as per industry body NASSCOM’s estimates, apps with social collaboration features could catch the public imagination.

Besides, most online users in India search the web on their mobile phones – 72 percent of all online activity is done on mobile.

The startup is headquartered in San Francisco and has an office in Bangalore. It has found backing from Silicon Valley-based investors, including Vijay Ragavan.

“The product solves important consumer pain points and makes purchasing easier,” Vijay was quoted as saying in The Hindu newspaper.

See: 15 top-funded ecommerce startups in India this year – with a few surprises (INFOGRAPHIC)

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