How this startup helped launch Canadian home businesses during the pandemic
Now available in Canada, Cococart promises ease-of-access for home entrepreneurs to thrive on their platform
The pandemic left countless changes that most of us could do without, but one lasting change we can enjoy is the emergence of thriving home-based businesses. You might have seen these home entrepreneurs on Instagram, or maybe you’re already getting your favorite sourdough bread from a home baker. From chefs to candle makers and everything in between, the number of home-based businesses in Ontario has skyrocketed since the start of the pandemic thanks to updated regulations from the government and startups like Cococart.
Starting a home-based business is easier than ever, but maintaining growth can be daunting, especially when compounded by invoices, inventory, and all other mechanics of a traditional business. Most sellers manually take orders and payments by messages or email, making the ordering process unnecessarily complicated and painfully inefficient. Unfortunately, this means more time sitting in front of a computer or spreadsheet and less time doing what these entrepreneurs love: making and marketing their beloved goods. It becomes more taxing for a one- or two-man show, especially for those pursuing their new venture as a side hustle.
A startup called Cococart is now available to change this for home-based businesses in Canada. With their unique platform, which lets entrepreneurs “create an online shop in one minute,” the e-commerce platform has already helped tens of thousands of businesses around the world.
Supporting local businesses during COVID-19
Cococart was founded in 2020 by two entrepreneurs motivated by a desire to help local businesses struggling to survive the devastating pandemic. As the world went into lockdown, they wanted to develop a quick and affordable solution specifically tailored for small and independent businesses. “Many businesses didn’t have two months and two thousand dollars to spare to build a website,” says Cococart’s co-founder Derek Low. “It was now or never, and Cococart was the answer. It only takes one minute and no credit card to start selling online.”
For customers, the traditional online ordering experience from home businesses can be tedious, which sometimes results in slow replies and abandoned carts. This strongly discourages customers from going through the hassle of shopping on social media. Alternative options like DoorDash or UberEats are also not feasible for home entrepreneurs, given the 35% commission these platforms can take. By eschewing tradition, Cococart prioritized the simplicity and functionality of their design, offering a wide range of must-have features, such as the ability to pay by credit card and bank transfers, set inventory, and support pre-orders. “We make it easy for anyone to support their favorite local business,” says Cococart co-founder Zhicong Lim.
Here’s how it works:
- Visit the Cococart website.
- Create a new shop in just one minute.
- Put your shop address online for customers to visit.
Orders, payments, and inventory can all be intuitively managed from the dashboard, with further customization of each website also available.
To help small businesses, Cococart’s basic features are always free to use. Businesses can upgrade to a premium plan to enjoy more sophisticated features, such as promo codes, bulk discounts, custom domains and analytics.
Expanding into Toronto
The company was founded by two UC Berkeley graduates with a passion for helping local businesses. Recently, this has led them to support provinces like Ontario where favorable changes to regulations have made it easier than ever to start and operate a home-based business.
As home entrepreneurs continue to expand, Cococart looks to be a valuable tool to help local businesses take their business online. Their most recent initiative, #supportlocal, has them partnering up with local businesses and offering exclusive promotions to get started selling online. As more consumers flock towards social media sellers, there’s no better time than now to join the home business wave. Or if you’re just a foodie who enjoys supporting local businesses, there’s never been a better time to do so from the comfort of your home!