Led by top US venture capital firm, 500 Startups together with a prominent group of angel investors, Aussie born peer-to-peer international shopping service, ShopandBox, has raised AUD$1 million in funding.
With almost exclusively organic growth, over 95,000 items have been ordered by ‘Shoppers’ from 146 countries and it has a growing pool of 70 personal shoppers located in over 20 countries.
The financial boost will be used to further strengthen existing ShopandBox shopping routes and to accelerate expansion into new countries.
What exactly does ShopandBox do?
The brainchild of Melbourne husband-and-wife team, Xin-lung Tai and Rebecca Chia, this service allows people to shop like a local for anything they want, from anywhere in the world with the help of a personal shopper, known affectionately as a ‘Boxer’.
ShopandBox empowers Shoppers to buy items that are either not available in their country or are available, but at a much higher price.
CEO Tai says, “We started ShopandBox after we noticed that every time we travelled overseas, friends would ask us to get them things that they couldn’t get in Australia. It seemed obvious to us that there was a gap in the market and we have gone a long way to filling it.”
“We have created a thriving global platform that enables Shoppers to purchase anything they want from around the world fuss-free without being subjected to exorbitant pricing and unreliable, unaffordable international shipping fees.
“At ShopandBox, we put the power back in the hands of Shoppers who determine where they want to shop and at what price. Boxers do not mark up the cost of items and simply collect a small service fee as compensation for their time and effort.”
In addition to just buying your desired items, Boxers can recommend additional or alternative items, look for the best prices, give Shoppers access to local deals, help them shop, get past payment issues, all before checking and repackaging their items to save them money on international shipping rates.
With an exclusive partnership with DHL Express, ShopandBox offers door-to-door service in one to three days with rates often unbelievably lower than any other shipping method.
How is ShopandBox doing so far?
Right now most ShopandBox customers are from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, UK, Brunei, Middle Eastern Countries (UAE, Saudi, Qatar) and Europe (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands) where they are mostly buying from US, UK, France, Japan and Korea.
“Our service works particularly well for limited edition items that never reach Australia, or take so long to get released here, if ever! Our most popular categories are beauty and cosmetic items, electronics, fitness products, well as luxury goods,” Tai revealed.
The cornerstone of the ShopandBox business model is its passionate Boxers.
Many Boxers are part-time, casual workers who would love to work to earn some extra cash but can’t take on full time jobs, typically stay-at-home mums, retired folk and students.
While Boxers come from all walks of life, they share a common love of shopping, they know what’s trending and where to bag a bargain.
So unlike existing e-commerce sites and freight forwarding services, ShopandBox delivers a completely personalised service from start to finish.
“What sets us apart from the myriad freight forwarding services is the very real connection between Shoppers and Boxers. We carefully match Shoppers with Boxers that share their interests so they get a completely personalised and specialised service,” Tai highlighted.
“Half of our Shoppers come back for more and are constantly building bonds with their Boxers whom they totally trust to find them what they want.”