We have previously written about Panoplaza, a slick photography solution that can be used to create virtual online stores using panoramic photos of real stores. The company’s founder Soko Aoki tells us today that it has now partnered with up-and-coming Tokyo-based, e-commerce startup Stores.jp, a service that lets anyone easily create their own online shop.
As of this past April, Stores.jp hosted over 30,000 online stores. It already offers professional photography services for items users wish to sell. So for any small retailers who already have an offline presence, the capability to bring that online with this new Panoplaza’s unique 360-degree store view is a very attractive offering.
Stores.jp users can now apply for the service, which costs 25,000 yen, or about $250. The idea, of course, being that once viewers see the store online, that it would induce them to visit the store in person.
In Japan, we’re seeing a number of intriguing e-commerce startups providing alternatives to the perennial market leader Rakuten, which still has an abundance of painfully ugly online store fronts harkening back to the days of GeoCities and Altavista.
Stores’ competitor Base recently launched a new iOS app that allows users to build their store completely on their mobile. Base is a hot startup in the Japanese space these days, and when I asked Soko about them he says that he would welcome a conversation with them as well, but notes that he hasn’t spoken with the company yet.