The ShopInMotion project aims to create a virtual shopping mall which would enable all e-commerce sites, whatever their size, to provide customers with access via mobile.
The aim is to level up the playing field for all e-commerce websites wishing to provide theircustomers with services via mobile channels. Four students from Epitech – an institute forcomputer technology innovation and expertise with establishments in most of the main cities in France – had the idea of bringing these sites together on one and the same mobile app in a sort of virtual shopping mall. Under the umbrella of ‘Epitech Innovative Projects 2013’, the venture, called ShopInMotion, is the students’ final year project and is still in the development stage. It is designed to enable customers to access their chosen shops from their tablets or smartphones. Thierry Yseboodt, one of the developers, sums up the project in a few words: “Our online platform enables e-tailers to be accessible via mobile free of charge.” E-tailers who already have a website just need to install an extra module which allows them to generate an online mobile shop and to work on the mobile platform easily and quickly.
From e-commerce to m-commerce
ShopInMotion has been developed in particular to be used by e-tailers who had created their websites using Prestashop, a platform launched by former Epitech students. This platform allows a retailer to launch an e-commerce site that s/he can adapt to his/her own needs with just a few clicks. Once a vendor identifies him/herself on the ShopInMotion site, and has downloaded the module, s/he has access to a very streamlined interface which lets the vendor adjust and personalise the parameters of his/her mobile store - colour, background image and so on. ShopInMotion does not take any commission on transactions that take place on the site. The business model is based on a premium offer, consisting of several extra, paid-for, options. Among these are real-time monitoring of the user’s shop statistics, twenty-four hour tracking, highlighting certain items in the store, and an upgraded listing in the app.
Improving the customer experience
“We’re looking to offer users a whole new m-commerce experience,” explains Thierry Yseboodt. He and his fellow-developers are fully aware that people may still be hesitant about purchasing items via mobile devices. However, their solution requires customers to enter their bank details on the ShopInMotion site once only, and they can then make purchases from different stores in the virtual shopping mall. They can also keep products in different shopping baskets and look around for a given item in several stores in order to compare prices. The four young entrepreneurs hope to launch their app within a few months, first on Android-based devices and then on iOS. As a first step they are targeting small and medium-sized businesses. Their offer will be free of any upfront charges and so entails no financial risk for companies that might wish to display their wares in the ShopInMotion virtual mall.