The challenge: International expansion
Dukaan is a professional ecommerce tools provider founded in July 2020 in India, at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As businesses were looking for new ways to sell online, the founders saw that Amazon didn’t cater to the needs of most small businesses. They built Dukaan to give ecommerce founders access to better online tools—at a lower cost.
The idea worked! Dukaan gained traction quickly in India. By 2022, the company decided to expand internationally. Now, they faced a major challenge.
Even for SaaS companies, which operate fully online, international expansion is typically very expensive and complicated. There are many unforeseen regulations and language barriers.
Dukaan needed a way to launch to a sizable audience, quickly test and improve their tool, and then develop features that could help the company meet the unique needs of different regions.
All of the founding team were entrepreneurs before founding Dukaan—and they all knew about AppSumo. Some of the founders and investors had even launched previous AppSumo products, such as InVideo.
The team knew from previous AppSumo launches about the scale of feedback they could receive from the AppSumo customers. Sumo-lings, as they’re called, are tech-savvy entrepreneurs who love providing detailed product feedback to founders.
With AppSumo, Dukaan saw an opportunity to quickly get their product into the hands of a large international audience of savvy business owners. This would give Dukaan an opportunity to receive ample feedback and learn the numerous unknown unknowns about expanding to new regions.
Put another way: Instead of paying to launch their product in one country at a time over many months, Dukaan could get paid to leverage AppSumo’s audience and quickly receive feedback from dozens of countries in a matter of days.
The Dukaan team reached out to AppSumo.
Partnering with AppSumo
The first step was to determine a launch strategy.
AppSumo helped Dukaan determine the best offer that would resonate with AppSumo’s audience. Many of AppSumo’s customers are freelancers and agencies. Sumo-lings also love to stack codes to upgrade their plans and purchase multiple products.
To maximize the success of their launch, Dukaan decided to tailor their ecommerce product to appeal to AppSumo’s audience.
Dukaan was originally built to help ecommerce founders create a single store on one account. But what if the platform enabled Sumo-lings to build multiple stores on a single account? That way, agency owners could turn ecommerce site-building into a regular service—on the back of Dukaan.
The Dukaan team created a wireframe of what this major product change might look like. They showed the wireframe to developers, who brought the new version of the product to life.
And so it was official: Dukaan would sell a white-label ecommerce site builder that agencies and freelancers could use to build and service their clients’ websites.
Since Dukaan’s primary goal was to gain feedback from Sumo-lings, they priced to sell—which meant offering a competitive rate.
Meanwhile, AppSumo’s creative team drafted the marketing collateral for Dukaan’s campaign. They wrote persuasive copy for emails, social media, and the landing page. AppSumo scripted and filmed a promotional video, plus product detail page copy, to showcase the product.
In the weeks leading up to Dukaan’s launch, AppSumo told Dukaan to anticipate a lot of traffic. It was 6:30 pm in India for Dukaan when their landing page went live on AppSumo. The Dukaan team was gathered in a single room in their office, ready to pull an all-nighter.
Dukaan launched on AppSumo on June 8, 2022. “Everyone was waiting in the office for something big to happen,” Jyotbir Lamba, the product manager at Dukaan recalled.
At 8:30 pm, AppSumo sent the first Dukaan announcement email to AppSumo’s audience. That’s when Dukaan started receiving some real traffic. The queries piled up. By 9:30, the Dukaan team was flooded. “We were receiving at least five different queries on five different channels within a minute—each,” said Neel Seth, Product Manager at Dukaan.
The entire Dukaan team was gathered in the same room to help each other answer questions. The DevOps team handled the most technical questions and everyone else took turns responding to more general support. Jyotbir Lamba said, “All of us worked the entire night together to answer questions. Within the first three and a half hours of launch, we hit 100 sales.”
The Dukaan team quickly noticed patterns in the inquiries. Taxation, for example, was a major point. Dukaan quickly added new taxation features to the roadmap.
The Dukaan team stayed up all night until 6 am, working from the office together to handle all the support. Support questions came in through their app, AppSumo, and from various social channels—especially their Facebook group.
Jyotbir Lamba said, “We were the #1 product on AppSumo that week. We had a phenomenal first launch.”
Following the feedback
“There are many reasons companies choose to launch on AppSumo. One of them is immediate customer feedback from technical customers. Sumo-lings love to surface potential features, existing bugs, and so on. They’re a vocal customer base.”
Dukaan received a lot of feedback and questions about their product. They decided to create a public roadmap that enabled Sumo-lings to add and upvote feature suggestions. Almost immediately, one feature request rose to the top: Tools to handle U.S. taxation received about 300 upvotes.
Dukaan didn’t know the incredible complexity that went into taxation in the United States. This wouldn’t be an easy feature to implement, but it was clearly a necessary one if Dukaan wanted to gain traction in the U.S.
The first step was to understand this topic. The Dukaan team jumped on more than 150 calls with Sumo-lings, who explained the entire taxation system to them and offered insights into the kinds of solutions U.S.-based Sumo-lings were looking for. The team used these insights to implement features that now enable U.S. tax to be processed on the platform.
Results: 3,000 sold licenses
Dukaan sold more than 3000 licenses during their first launch (which inspired them to launch two more times on AppSumo!). Those 3,000 licenses turned into more than 6,150 active stores on Dukaan. Those 6,150+ businesses have already generated millions of revenue.
As part of the AppSumo launch, Dukaan created a Facebook group to help the team connect with customers. This group has grown into a massive community of more than 70,000 people, all gathered around the tool.
Members of the Dukaan Facebook group regularly assist each other. The Dukaan team is active in the group. Still, when someone has a problem or doesn’t understand where to access a feature, members often solve the problem for one another before Dukaan members have time to respond. The community acts as an organic support agent.
There are three hours each day when Dukaan’s support team is not active. During those three hours, if someone posts a query on Facebook, there’s a very high chance that by the time the support team gets back online, that query has already been answered by another Dukaan user.
These community members believe in the product and love the roadmap so much that people go out of their way to help each other. The community continues to engage creatively with the roadmap as well. They’ve helped discover bugs, suggest new features, and ultimately set the direction for the future of Dukaan.
In the six months between Dukaan’s second and third AppSumo launches, Dukaan published more than 1,000 improvements and new features.
Want to launch your product on AppSumo? Learn more about becoming an AppSumo Partner. Maybe your success story will be the one we write about next.