Katherine Hague, co-founder of Toronto-based startup ShopLocket, has always been an entrepreneur at heart. Just after graduating with a BBA from the Schulich School of Business, she worked in Marketing with Toronto’s ecobee and then went on to consult with other digital media startups.
When she began looking for a new and creative way to sell some T-shirts that she had designed to promote her services, she couldn’t find an eCommerce solution in the marketplace that met her needs. Other than listing a T-shirt on Craiglist or Kijiji, or paying a ton of money for set-up costs and ongoing fees for a Shopify storefront, there was no way to sell just a single product in a professional and simple manner.
So Hague and her co-founder Andrew Louis set out to develop a platform that was both cost-effective and stylish enough to be featured on any blog or website.
“We wanted to be the YouTube equivalent for eCommerce products,” says Hague. “Using ShopLocket, people can embed their product for sale on their blog or any other website in the same way that you can embed a YouTube video.”
Launching in open beta today, ShopLocket makes selling online easy—with no storefront required. The company charges a $2 listing fee that you only pay when you sell something—plus an ongoing 2.5% transaction fee. The ability to test the ShopLocket platform, with very little risk involved, makes the product attractive for small businesses, bloggers and more.
Within minutes, a business can be up and running with ShopLocket. Simply name your product, upload images, add a description, and publish. Voila! Payments can be collected using any PayPal email address.
ShopLocket has been attracting a lot of attention—even though they were trying to fly under the radar while preparing for today’s official launch. They were recently featured in the Sprouter newsletter and at a SproutUp event in Toronto. They also appeared on TV on BNN’s “The Pitch.” Because of all of the media coverage and word of mouth to date, over 1200 accounts have already been created by new customers on the ShopLocket website.
“We’ve seen a lot of pick-up from fashion bloggers, small businesses, musicians and authors who are using ShopLocket to sell their swag, first album, or book on their website or blog,” says Hague. “For example, Toronto location-based mobile games developer Massive Damage is now selling a ‘Please Stay Calm’ T-shirt with ShopLocket to promote their popular app.”
According to Hague, ShopLocket will be examining which industry verticals are the most receptive to their product over the next six months. From there, they will build out a bigger promotional plan. In the meantime, they’re getting a lot of calls from investors and will be pursuing more funding opportunities in the weeks to come.