Dukaan ecommerce strategy – how a startup from India got 1M customers within 3 months (11 min read)
Dukaan – an Indian start-up created with small and medium Indian businesses in mind, allowing them to move their offline services online.
Founded in May 2020 by Subhash Choudhary, Suumit Shah and Anurag Meena in Mumbai, it gives tools and support to create an online store almost instantaneously, through WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and others. This lets people reach more clients and make the process of selling and buying easier.
In three months after the launch, thanks to the Dukaan ecommerce strategy, the app had gathered 1 million users, helping them to carry on with their businesses in times of pandemic.
As the company says themselves they are not in the business of building digital storefronts, but of building entrepreneurs
Strategy & Tools
Dukaan History Timeline
- Feb 2014 - Subhash Choudhary and Suumit Shah met on Facebook. One observes the works of the other, messages him, proposing to meet and maybe come up with something together. As two guys who quit “regular” jobs to do something more challenging and interesting on their own, they get along pretty well.
- Nov 2014 - Founding of RiseMetric LLP, a digital marketing agency, based in Mumbai, entailing a group of marketers, designers, and strategists, providing services tailored for each of their customers (the biggest names include Sony and McDonald’s. First of them brings the company revenue of 2 crore rupees - over 5 million dollars.
- Dec 2018 - after realizing RiseMetric grew to its limits, Subhash and Suumit, together with Anurag Meena, branded it to Rankz, which had a goal to offer businesses a way to create and distribute optimized content, to enhance traffic on their websites. It started bringing over 1 million AAR.
- 2020 - COVID hit India, businesses were forced to close down or move to the Internet. Founders of Rankz observed the situation and eventually came up with a new start-up idea. Many small and medium businesses decided to start offering their services online, using Dukaan app, an online store creator that sets up shops in minutes.
- May 2020 – Dukaan was founded.
- Aug 2020 - Dukaan reaches 1 million users in 3 months and gets 6 million dollars funding from Lightspeed and Matrix.
- Sep 6, 2021 – Dukaan raises $11 million to further expand to South Asian markets. This is at a $71 million valuation.
Dukaan ecommerce strategy – answering real problem
Dukaan responds to a real problem. Over 100 million people work in kiranas, which are Indian local grocery stores. Dukaan ecommerce strategy has been built with those shops in mind, but it is also designed in a way, so any other type of business, like a restaurant or coffee shop.
Dukaan offers no-code tools to enable non-technical people to set their online shops. The setup is extremely simple – you confirm your email address or phone, enter the business’s name, and you’re all set to add products.
There are also features like adding items by taking photos or digital payments, and in the future, Dukaan also plans to cover the logistics part.
Every shop is set up at mydukaan.io domain. Business owners share that with their friends and family, but at the same time, Dukaan gets promoted for free. As Suumit Shah admitted, this has helped them get much more recognition in the market.
Dukaan business model – Pricing
Using Dukaan costs $95 per year, which is a reasonable price for a small business owner. There are also premium plans like Dukaan Infinity which helps with marketing on Google or Facebook or Dukaan Enterprise, which is even used by Nivea to bring more efficiency to the distribution chain.
Who is the Dukaan founder?
There are three co-founders of Dukaan. They are Suumit Shah, Subhash Choudhary, and Anurag Meena. The first two have both skills in digital marketing and engineering, while Anurag has experience in programming. The trio had what it takes to go on with an ecommerce start-up app.
Dukaan ecommerce strategy – Social Media Marketing
Dukaan’s team is very active on social media, like Twitter and Facebook. Posting updates and staying visible online helps them to keep and gain customers, as well as carry some customer service, which puts them in a good light.
How did Dukaan start?
The Dukaan app started as an answer to India’s small businesses’ needs for going online easily. Suumit Shah studied engineering, but he has learned web design from his roommate, and then studied digital marketing through online courses to possess the vital knowledge for running his own startup project.
First, Suumit co-founded RiseMetric, a digital marketing agency in Mumbai. Soon, it was rebranded to Rankz, but it has failed, too. The authors of Ranks came up with the idea of a new start-up then, and that was Dukaan, an online store creator.
How did Dukaan start – Targeting
Dukaan was able to win with other companies that wanted to attract kiranas, because of their local market knowledge. Thanks to that, their messages were better targeted, and the product solved the real needs of people working in such stores.
Dukaan ecommerce strategy SEO
Good content attracts attention, and that was a part of the Dukaan ecommerce strategy. Dukaan’s blog helps customers figure out how to use the app, build a website, conduct different marketing campaigns, etc., which helps to build trust and the brand’s reputation, as well as attracts new customers through search.
Dukaan business model – No paid ads
Although Dukaan creators experimented with paid advertising and it could definitely help in the first months, they decided to drop them which might suggest that the results weren’t satisfying.
Dukaan ecommerce strategy MVP / EVP
The idea of MVPs is to provide a working solution to a problem at a minimum cost. However, there’s also the idea of an EVP, an exceptional, valuable product, which reminds that the solution should also provide extraordinary value. At this point, Dukaan solves one basic problem, and this makes it much easier to get its value as a customer.
Word of Mouth
Dukaan solves the problem of getting an offline shop online fast. This quickly delights customers, which are keener on sharing the tool they have used with others. That builds the brand and attracts more new users.
By December 2021, Dukaan team claim that they managed to reach 12 lakh revenue in orders since their launch, which stands for $1.2 million since May 2020. More than $1 million revenue in one year and a half can make quite an impression.
Need for Certainty
Bringing certainty to customers has a big impact on how they perceive a company. Reassuring them that their needs will be met, giving them information, keeping them updated, offering them expert-level support and advice, causes positive feelings towards the company.
The simplest solution to a problem is often the best one. The team has some long-term ideas, but they’d chosen to start with the simplest one – and so it was successful.
Psychology of Consumption
What guarantees repurchase of a product or a service, is the after-purchase consumption rate. If the product is being used a lot, it’ll probably be purchased again. Making sure the product is developing alongside customers’ needs and serving them well, helps to keep the customers for longer.
Having vs Using effect
People are more inclined to buy products and services that offer more, even if they don’t need or use all the included features. Constantly working on improving the product and adding new features gives it more value in the users’ eyes.
We have a tendency to assume people around us have more knowledge than us, and so their opinions must count. Seeing pleased customers and hearing their testimonials, as well as following given company statistics, the number of product’s users, success stories, etc., shapes the generally positive perception.
Updating a product often gives results in the form of recency and novelty effect. That generates excitement simply because it’s something new, which increases interest and, in effect, purchases.
Window of Opportunity
There were many businesses before Dukaan that had tried to do exactly the same – they even targeted the same audience – but Dukaan ecommerce strategy solution turned out to be the best. The combination of a simple product that allows solving a problem quickly and the communication that was limited to a relatively narrow target audience worked well. Then, the marketing was done by happy customers. The simplest solutions – both as product and marketing – are the best!
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