Simplicity. It’s the key objective of innovation. And innovation is key to successful competition in a global marketplace. Australian startup Selz has embraced this interrelationship with their offering of simple selling tools for individuals and businesses that have a strong online presence.
PayPal has a serious contender on the loose, with Selz set to take a large bite of the multibillion dollar online transaction market.
Using Selz, individuals and businesses can be selling in less than a minute. How? By creating a product listing via Selz and choosing where to place that product for sale. You can embed it into your blog or website or share it as a post or tweet. You can pin it on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. You can even sell the product on Facebook by adding a Selz Store tab to your Facebook page and your followers will be able to make a purchase straight off that page.
While still recognised as new, the accelerating pace in which technology is changing means the e-commerce industry is ready for disruption. And Selz has come on board at the perfect time to turn the industry upside down with their simplified selling system.
“We saw a gap in the market for simple, smooth e-commerce. For many entrepreneurs, particularly those from creative industries, the hassle of selling online creates real problems,” says Melissa Whidjaya, Selz Community Manager.
“It’s not something that they want to spend much time on, and more often than not the solutions available don’t actually fit their business model, particularly for those wanting to sell digital downloads.”
She adds that a blogger might want to offer an e-book for sale; and by using Selz they can sell it straight from their blog page or post. This opposed to sending the potential buyer off to a third-party site or having to set up an online store just to sell one digital product.
“There are so many people out there looking for an alternative to Paypal that’s going to make life easy and get the job done so that they can spend more time doing what they love,” says Whidjaya.
Selz’ underlying philosophy and argument
Recent times has seen a shift in the perception of what a ‘career’ should be, and people are now “carving careers out of doing what they love, outside of the 9-5 grind”.
“With social media being an effective marketing and community building tool, the playing field has really leveled out in terms of getting your stuff out there for people to see,” says Whidjaya.
There are also people working on their creative pursuits side by side a full-time job and tight budget. As such, they can’t afford the time or price to put complex systems or technologies in place that a larger organisation would.
Whidjaya also adds that there is a lot of ‘third party’ marketplace selling going on, which has some advantage in terms of exposure, but “in the long run it’s the marketplace that gets the traffic, the commissions and the contact details of your buyers, which can affect the agility and longevity of a smaller business.”
Whereas, Selz is all about “empowering the ‘little guys'” by providing them a tool that affords them the ability to operate outside the boundaries of larger organisations, and have “real ownership of their business, end to end.”
“Selz holds so much possibility, and we see it as something that will help bridge the gap between being a part time creative and a creative entrepreneur with a sustainable income.”
The company is targeting creators, entrepreneurs and bloggers, particularly those that have cultivated an online community or following, and are now seeking to take the next step by offering a product.
With online sales in Australia growing to $37 billion in 2013 from $27 billion in 2010, and 55 percent of Australians using the web to research their purchases (according to Google), those who are not leveraging the internet are missing out on sales.
As such, Selz is also aiming at those who are selling via third-party marketplaces, but are seeking to move the sales onto their own site, and eventually those who are yet to embrace the online space.
Building the product
Whidjaya explains that with a highly experienced development team behind the product, overcoming technical obstacles was quick and smooth. Thus far, they’ve spent $2 million on the product.
“We started off with a lean canvas to come up with our MVP and achieved that in a short amount of time, which allowed us to then move onto to extra product features and enhancements,” she says.
The Selz team regularly post valuable selling tips on their blog, and engage with customers and potential customers through Twitter and Facebook.
The podcast site BlogcastFM based in the US has just engaged Selz as a sponsor, which is a great opportunity for the company as they share the same target audience – bloggers!
They’re soon going to embark on a national PR campaign with high profile Australian personalities that use Selz. Details are currently undisclosed.
And they’ve already reached out to various online publications including StartUpSmart and ITWire.
Successes and challenges
So far, the team are proud of the rapid growth they have seen since its launch in April and their happy customers – predominantly from the US, UK, Australia and Canada.
On top of that, they’ve seen some “amazing success from some of [their] sellers” who’ve shown genuine excitement towards how easy it was for them to transition from creating to selling.
On the flipside, Whidjaya says remaining flexible has been a challenge, as well as maintaining a balance between user feedback and their own intuition.
The Selz team have set up a pipeline of exciting new features that will add more value to the process of selling online for both the seller and the buyer.
“We’ve just launched video and audio preview, and soon, among other things, you’ll be able to send your e-book straight to your kindle, export your sales list so you can use it for your email marketing and embed your entire store into your blog,” says Whidjaya.
They’re also looking forward to multilingual expansion which will allow them to move into a larger market in the future.
Take a tour of the Selz website at www.selz.com.