[Startup to Watch] shopforme

Shopforme is a brain child of some peers of mine who went over to Silicon Valley.

Idea: You want something from somewhere else in the world. Post it there. Someone else at that part of the world will help get them for you.

Revenue Model: The transaction fee will be held by shopforme and will only be released to the person helping you to get your items when you actually get it. A transaction fee will be incurred and thats how shopforme makes money.

Thoughts:

  • The revenue model is exactly the same as Taobao, the largest C2C site in the world. To facilitate payment and to ensure quality products, taobao has an entirely independent and secure online payment platform – Alipay. Alipay holds the payment when the order is placed on taobao and when the buyer receives the product from the merchant, he then validates the payment, and the payment is wired over to the merchant. This is a sustainable model and solves the problem of online fraud and allows buyers to check whether the goods are received before the payment is actually made.
  • So the problem of online fraud should be something that shopforme focus on. How can shopforme assure the buyers that the money entrusted to them will not be embezzled?
  • Also, there might be many people who are looking to buy stuffs from other places, and shopforme relies on users that are actually at the destination to go and buy the item, and then ship/bring it back to Singapore to the sellers. Heavy marketing has to be done to get more users onto the site and it has to be on a global scale. Illustration: I want something from San Francisco or Inner Mongolia, there must be someone based at those 2 places to help me buy the item. Even if shopforme limits the geographical area to lets say the states or China, shopforme has to market the site to Singapore (buyers based here), and to the users in States / China. So marketing is the biggest challenge to shopforme in my humble opinion.
Potentials: 3/5

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Lets see how it goes. The site is still on Alpha and there is only one person who has a wish list up there.
Anyways, a little more info for Taobao, taobao is under Alibaba Group which owns an entire e-commerce ecosystem of its own. The CEO Jack Ma, is the first Chinese to be on the Forbes magazine’s cover page and he is really really amazing:

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