An unknown startup is tackling Indonesia’s ecommerce giants with a ‘no discounts’ policy

Sale Stock’s motto: Fashion for all of us. Photo credit: Sale Stock.

Shopping app Sale Stock is making its mark. It’s currently ranked number 10 shopping app in Indonesia’s Play Store – nose-to-nose with ecommerce incumbents like OLX, Lazada, Tokopedia, and Bukalapak. But unlike the giants, Sale Stock launched less than a year ago.

People in the tech scene praise the startup for its speedy execution. Yet Sale Stock has never been covered by Tech in Asia – the founders flat out refuse to be interviewed!

Sale Stock is media shy. It has so far refrained from broadcasting its existence and only recently began airing TV commercials.

While the founders prefer to keep a low profile, some information about the elusive startup found its way online. Here’s a summary.

5 co-founders

Sale Stock was started by husband and wife team Lingga Madu and Ariza Novianti. Lingga is a former wealth manager.

The other co-founders are Stanislaus Tandelilin, who used to work at Citi; Ivan Samuel Heydemans, who joined Sale Stock via Lazada; and Listiarso Wastuargo, a former engineer at Facebook.

Funding situation

Sale Stock never made any fundraising announcements, but it’s listed as a company in the portfolio of Ardent Ventures and thus is now managed under Wavemaker. The two funds recently merged.

Ardent partners with Indonesia’s Sinar Mas Digital Ventures (SMDV), the tech venture arm of conglomerate Sinar Mas. It’s possible SMDV has a larger stake in Sale Stock. The startup has an office in SMDV’s downtown Jakarta space and another presence is forming in Bumi Serpong Damai (BSD), a satellite city developed by Sinar Mas.

Orami, an ecommerce company officially backed by SMDV, also has plans to establish itself in BSD – so it’s not far fetched to think Sale Stock also received an investment from them.

Tech in Asia reached out to SMDV for comment.

Multiple locations

As already mentioned, Sale Stock has presences at Sinar Mas spaces in Central Jakarta and BSD.

The official address stated on its website places it in East Jakarta. The address is near a warehouse tagged with its name on Google.

The company mentions it has peripheral presences in Jogja, Bali, Bandung, and Singapore.

Mobile-only

What sets Sale Stock apart from the major ecommerce sites is that it’s fully geared toward mobile. It has a minimalist website designed for mobile browsing, and, obviously, an app which is designed to make mobile shopping as seamless as possible.

Strictly affordable fashion

Sale Stock offers unbranded women’s fashion and accessories. Prices are low-end. No item – whether dress, watch, or pair of shoes – appears to cost over US$15.24.

According to SWA, a local business magazine, Sale Stock works directly with distributors to build up its collection. Lingga and his wife spent months surveying factories to find the right partners. SWA’s ran a story about Sale Stock last December, and it’s one of only a handful of articles that shed some light on its genesis.

No discounts

The company has a “no discount policy” – the aim is to offer consistently low, but fixed prices, so there’s no need to wait for sales seasons. There’s no delivery fee, and it accepts cash on delivery. It also has a 30-day return policy.

Logistics partner

If you try to buy and track something on Sale Stock, you’ll be directed to aCommerce’s parcel tracking system. No surprise there, after all, ecommerce logistics enabler aCommerce is also out of the Ardent/SMDV coop.

Speaking to young women

Sale Stock makes a point of using informal language to address the users of its app. It calls shoppers “sista” and refers to itself with the name “Soraya,” creating an approachable, young brand personality.

According to the SWA interview, Soraya is the name of Lingga and Ariza’s daughter.

App store stats

Sale Stock was founded in 2014. It seems like its app was launched on the Play Store in October 2015, which is when it started tracking the first version. It has between 1 million and 5 million installs.

It’s currently ranked 10th among shopping apps in Indonesia, after OLX, Tokopedia, Lazada, Bukalapak, Blibli, Zalora, Shopee, Elevenia, and Matahari Mall.

Along with Shopee and Zalora, it’s the only app in the top 10 that focuses entirely on fashion. Shopee is in a similar range of installs, while Zalora scores higher with between 5 and 10 million installs.

Hiring spree

Word on the street is that Sale Stock is growing fast, and this is supported by the fact they’re in hiring mode. The website currently posts some 30 open positions in various offices.

Competitors

Sale Stock’s closest competitors are mobile fashion commerce apps like Shopee, Carousell, or Lyke. However, the difference is that it’s not a C2C play like Shoppee and Carousell, which allow people to sell their own items, or Lyke, which aggregates products from existing online shops. Sale Stock sells only its own inventory.

Conclusion

Sale Stock’s approach seems to gel with Indonesian shoppers. The app shot up into the top 10 within less than a year. Shopee is similarly successful, but let’s not forget that it has a couple of months of head start and unicorn-company Garena backing it up.

A possible downside could be a comparatively asset-heavy model because Sale Stock curates and seems to store, to some extent, its own inventory. The low prices likely translate to slim margins, which means it needs massive scale.

Converted from Indonesian Rupiah. Rate: US$1 = IDR 13,120.