For the last decade, commerce has got hundreds of new ways to reach the customer, especially with the leap of innovation in technology and its growing role in everyday life. More and more buyers are turning to the experience of shopping online, more and more sellers start new channels and methods responding this trend. And this is the sphere in which design of positive user experience directly moves the stakeholders to profits.
Today we are talking about a Moldovan startup that helps companies customize the experience of the buyer in the online store and maximize the conversion rate – Visely.
Startup Moldova: Alexandru, please briefly describe the idea of your startup. How do you want your audience to remember you?
Alexandru Dereveanco, Visely: The Visely platform from the nemo.ai team comes to help small and medium-sized companies that make online sales to increase their revenues using E-Commerce best practices related to CRO (conversion rate optimization), merchandising and search. Visely customizes the interactive experience of each visitor of the online store with the product catalog. This increases visitor satisfaction and maximizes the conversion rate of each visit to the online store.
Startup Moldova: There are a lot of platforms that offer solutions for E-Commerce, but what makes you special?
Alexandru Dereveanco, Visely: With the Visely platform, the customer’s e-commerce team is free to decide how involved it wants to be in the conversion rate optimization process. The options vary from full automation using predefined algorithms and Visely support for the control of every aspect of visitor’s interaction with the product catalog. Visely offers the ability to customize search algorithms, sorting rules, product promotion rules, personalized visitor profiles, UI / UX of product catalog presentation components and many other options. The important thing is that Visely allows any customization to be tested through the A / B Testing process, which allows the e-commerce team to make rational decisions based on real data from the experiments performed.
Startup Moldova: Where did the idea for this startup come from, from what necessity?
Alexandru Dereveanco, Visely: The idea of creating the Visely platform is the result of multiple experiences of interacting with online retailers in online store development projects using several e-commerce platforms. Enormous amounts of both financial and human capital were spent each time to create a customized experience in interacting with the retailer’s catalog. And most often the 80/20 rule applied, where 80 percent of allocated resources were spent on 20 percent of functionality. Moreover, customers often chose to change their e-commerce software provider, which basically meant migrating many customized business aspects from scratch to the new provider.
In the same way that search, categorization, merchandising, and referrals are an indispensable set for a successful online store, no client gets the job done without doing all of them. Obviously it takes significant time and financial resources for this. Hence the idea to centralize these critical aspects for an online store in a SAAS application, which easily integrates into existing e-commerce platforms and would be easy to use and customize by both the business team and by the customer’s technical team.
At the same time, in the e-commerce industry, the problem of optimizing the conversion rate and as a consequence, the valorification of each online visit at maximum continues to be persistent. Customizing the user experience of the store is a tool that, if used correctly, can bring significant results in improving this rate. We, the founders of the Visely platform, noticed that these two moments overlap quite synergistically with each other, we analyzed the market and decided to create the platform. More importantly, our customers have confirmed our assumptions through the trust they show in our product.
Startup Moldova: What were the biggest challenges you faced?
Alexandru Dereveanco, Visely: I understood over time that it is important to say no and keep the focus on the product. Given that the Visely team interacts as technical partners with its customers, they often received several so-called “feature requests”, which were tangential to Visely’s objectives and functionality. Several times, in the desire to keep or get the customer we ventured to meet these “requests”.
Such requirements will definitely come, some will be super useful for the product, others will not. It is important to carefully analyze how well it fits into the objectives of the product, and to refuse if necessary, without regretting a potential lost customer.
Another difficult time is to create a simple product with a clear and intuitive user experience. We are already in the third iteration of the rethinking and redesign of our back office application. We learn from previous experiences, successes and mistakes and try to make a better interface. At the same time, it is worth mentioning the phrase “Perfect is the enemy of good”, the product can be successful without being perfect. It’s much better to validate a good product now than a “perfect” product a year from now. In retrospect, we realize that we have often spent time and effort perfecting some features that have proven to be less important.
Startup Moldova: What is your target customer segment? Do you already have real customers? If so, who are they and where are they from?
Alexandru Dereveanco, Visely: The Visely platform addresses small and medium-sized e-commerce businesses, both their business teams and technical teams. At the moment we are glad that around 100 small and less small companies have trusted Visely and use our help in their daily business.Let’s mention some of them: Rothys, Twothirds, Nikin and Different Drop. Almost all of our customers are from North America, the UK, the EU and Australia.
Startup Moldova: Have you managed to attract investments in startups?
Alexandru Dereveanco, Visely: No, we have not attracted investments until now. We tried to apply to the Y Combinator accelerator in Silicon Valley, we reached the final interview phase, but we were not selected. Since then we have been developing the product with our own strength and with the help of our customers. However, the participation itself in the final phase was already very motivating for our team, and gave us an important impetus to continue the idea. At the same time, participating in YC was a unique experience for us at that time, it was reconfirmed by the Y Combinator team how important the business aspect of a startup is.
Startup Moldova: Please introduce your team to us!
Alexandru Dereveanco, Visely: I started in a classic way, with the three founders who met at the previous workplace, identified an opportunity and decided to take advantage of it. Here it is worth mentioning how opportune is the number “three” when it comes to founders, for an early startup. Having an odd number of founders helps overcome impasses in decision making whenever there is a lack of consensus. A single founder often clashes with a single point of view on the issue and decision-making. More than three founders sometimes lead to too many options to consider and can eventually paralyze the decision-making process.
At the moment we are a team of 5 people with an office in Chisinau who are in charge of all aspects of the business. We prefer to grow our team naturally, as our business grows.
Startup Moldova: What are your growth and development plans for the future?
Alexandru Dereveanco, Visely: We plan to continue developing the Visely platform and gradually to increase the team to 7 people by the end of 2022. With the completion of the redesign of the back office application of the Visely platform, we plan to continue integrating with other new e-commerce ecosystems.
Startup Moldova: Thank you, Alexandru, for revealing the secrets of Visely to us! On behalf of the entire community, we wish you and your team great success!