Fairmart, a Singapore-based startup that drives sales for retailer stores by making their products searchable online, announced Wednesday the closing of an oversubscribed S$2 million ($1.5 million) seed round co-led by Quest Ventures and Entrepreneur First, with participation from SOSV, Vectr Ventures and Hustle Fund.

“Fairmart is solving the perennial problems that prevent local retailers from leveraging the benefits of digitisation, starting with the most labor and time-intensive task of managing online inventory. By enabling automated listings, Fairmart helps local shoppers find what they’re searching for, while enabling retailers to focus on what they do best: driving sales and customer engagement,” Fairmart Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Jan Gasparic said in a statement.

“Our mission at Fairmart is to put Singapore stores on the map, so that the next time shoppers search for a product online, they will see their local minimart or grocery store in their search results,” he added.

Fairmart supports the digital transformation of minimarts, grocery and specialty stores in Singapore by automating inventory and omni-channel engagement.

Singapore has over 22,000 retailers, and there are over 4 million in South-East Asia. While shoppers still buy mostly offline, 83 percent of shopper journeys start with an online search. Retail stores are losing $4.5 billion in sales to digital competitors each year because their products are not searchable online. However, going online for a small retailer means not just having a website but also listing their products with relevant details and stock information, and ensuringtheir inclusion in search engines. This requires over 200 hours of manual data entry for a typical minimart that carries over 1,500 products. With Fairmart, they can digitize their entire inventory in less than 30 minutes, creating new opportunities to capture shoppers at the start of their search journeys.

Store owners pay a monthly subscription so that whenever they scan a product using Fairmart’s smart scanner, it adds that product to the store’s Fairmart page, along with Google and Facebook. Shoppers searching for products can quickly see what’s available and either reserve for pick up or order directly. This helps brick-and-mortar retailers who are recovering from the pandemic adapt to evolving shopper behaviors.

Fairmart was founded with support from Enterprise Singapore’s incubation partner, Entrepreneur First. The company directly supports efforts led by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) by enabling mobile payments, automated inventory management and omni-channel engagement

“The pandemic has altered shopper habits towards a digital shopping journey. However, there is no solution that addresses the unique challenges of small and medium enterprises (SME) retailers digitizing their inventory for search. Fairmart’s solution addresses these challenges directly with minimal capital and talent cost outlay,” said Jeffrey Seah, Partner at Quest Ventures.

“The founders’ unique backgrounds, with Jan’s extensive exposure to China’s online to offline (O2O) ecosystem, and Daniil’s experience at market leaders Shopback and Redmart give the team a unique perspective on the post-Covid retail landscape,”‘ he added.

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