Building The Entry Point

Read the story behind Online Shop and it's start as one of UK's most visited and used services.

Building The Entry Point

Maybe the title of the article isn’t necessarily the best way to describe what we are trying to achieve but I believe it’s one that describes our concept quite well.

Both me and my co-founder Joe (Joe Todd), have spent years working on, and building start-ups cantered around commerce, marketing technology and sales. Our latest foray into this world was Cozy, the UK’s leading comfort marketplace, bringing all things comfort to you and your home, and one that is still running to this day – but it has become something more than a marketplace, it has become a platform that has spring-boarded our magnum opus; Online Shop.

We’ve been to Prague, we’ve been to San Jose, we’ve been all the way to Nagoya and Kyoto to find one common problem; entry. Whether it’s entry into certain university, entry into a club, or entry into business – there is always a barrier that is preventing 90% of the population from doing what they want to do. This is where we saw everything that we had learned from our every failure and every success coming together.

We saw the downturn of economy, thousands losing jobs and being placed on furlough, businesses unable to shift stock thanks to COVID-19, however, we also saw the good aspects; people focusing on their needs and wants, rather than the mundane, lots of them trying to turn hobbies into hustles and businesses to make up the shortfall of income due to the pandemic.

When Cozy launched we had mass-migration from Amazon and eBay with many businesses being unhappy with Amazon’s and eBay’s handling of them, and the overall general conglomerate ethical policies of profit over care. But it also presented a challenge, many of them did not want to list on another marketplace; because in essence, a marketplace is just a marketing platform to drive traffic to various queries of product SKU’s to make commission based on product sales from specific vendors.

“We’re trying to build out our own brand, and move away from any type of marketplace, with our own web presence”, this was the common trend we saw among the vendors we’d try to recruit, however they had one issue – time, effort and money.

Most people, and even businesses do not necessarily have the time or funds to invest into building their own storefront via Magento, WooCommerce, Shopify or numerous other solutions out there. You want something unique? You need to hire a development house or a design agency.

Everyone just wants to get on with it… this is where both Joe and I decided there wasn’t a solution out there that focused on just that – getting on with it.

Nobody has the time to tweak numerous settings, or design stores, because most don’t have the courage to invest several months of time and money to see whether an online storefront would work for them, and there isn’t an entry point either. This is where we started to build a solution, focusing on a fully sterile environment – where the only things you need to do are to upload your creative assets, upload product categories, upload products, set shipping options and connect your favorite payment processors – voila, I give you Online Shop, where setup of your very own storefront takes less than 5-minutes, yep, that easy. Create a store, and then share it across social media, track analytics via our internal dashboard, or use plug-n-play features like Google Analytics and Facebook to see how well you’re selling. And if you do want functionality with the likes of Shopify and others, we’ll be offering enterprise plans with all of the customizability you’d ever want soon enough.

We want anyone and everyone to have the ability to have an entry point – to turn a hobby into a business, or allow a business to quickly create and sell stock that they can’t during the pandemic.

We’d like to think we’re helping countless communities and businesses achieve things previously thought too hard to achieve, or with too many barriers to entry.

Now there’s an entry point, and it’s called Online Shop.