The ever-growing community of independent professionals and small businesses needs to be part of the digital revolution in order to keep growing. To do this many business-to-consumer (B2C) businesses use bigger platforms to advertise and sell their products, relying on leveraging their already existing customer base and their technical know-how.
There are numerous platforms like Hipages, Beauro, buybuye and Hiresquare that act as online marketplaces for tradies, beauty therapists, retailers and local rental businesses, connecting them with consumers. Small businesses advertise themselves on these platforms where they can easily sell their products and services.
Some of these sites take a clip of the ticket and others take a pay per lead or subscription fee. Whatever the cos,t the aim of these platforms is to connect small businesses with consumers and lower the cost of advertising and maintenance fees.
Looking to further support and boost local businesses working in the B2C sector is Sydney startup InPin.biz. The startup is creating an online ecosystem for small businesses and diverse professionals to digitally market themselves, while also providing a platform where consumers can instantly connect and review a merchant’s portfolio in a hyperlocal and instant manner. It does this by offering digital content creation and marketing tools to local businesses, entrepreneurs ,and skilled individuals.
“This kind of B2C channel is missing currently, where the businesses are connected to consumers,” said founder of InPin.biz Gaurav Wasan.
“There are a lot of players, even in Australia and the United States, who actually work on a commissioning model, as in they have a database or Yellow Pages for these small merchants or these creative individuals, and they act as a middleman where they interact with the consumer. The problem with this kind of model is the original identity of the small merchant is hidden. And the middle, all these ecommerce giants, they are actually a face to the consumers.”
InPin.biz works by offering businesses the ability to create their own page on the platform with drag-and-drop themes and pre-built business templates, as well as digital flyers, pamphlets, and portfolios that can be posted on social media networks to help smaller businesses reach a broader audience.
For consumers the mobile app provides location-based offerings with multiple shopping categories. Within the app consumers can keep a personal log of shops they have visited and services they have used. A digital wallet is also provided to shoppers so they can scan for instance their Woolworths or flybuys cards.
InPin.biz also has an augmented reality feature for consumers, enabling them to see the direction and distance of the merchant’s address from their current location. Like Google Maps, InPin.biz gives directions and the contact details of local businesses.
The mobile app is free for consumers to download, where they receive 25 credits to start off their campaigns. These 25 credits can be used to create 25 digital flyers or pamphlets, or so on. For the 26th credit and each one after that InPin.biz charges a dollar. Rather than a commission based payment model, the startup charges for specific content creation, which aims to then generate leads.
The idea for InPin.biz came to Wasan in 2014 after a conversation he had with a fellow small merchant in India.
“They were fearing that they were losing their business because these big venture capitalists backed big eco-merchant and commerce players were capturing the business. They were actually not able to hold onto their customer base,” explained Wasan.
Wasan brought this idea to Australia and has so far targeted a fraction of the market. The startup is still in the process of growing its own customer base and converting leads into customers.
For an initial fund raiser Wasan is looking for $250,000 to target small universities and boutiques to find and make connections between students and fashion retailers.
Being so new to the market, the platform has a long way to go and while InPin.biz offers a variety of different features, it will be hard to generate leads given there are numerous marketplaces focused on niche sectors of B2Cs like tradies and beauticians.
In 2014 B2Cs in India gathered momentum with notable startups like Flipkart and Snapdeal owning 50 percent on the $4.9 billion that was invested into the ecommerce space. In Australia while the B2C space is relatively smaller eMarketer estimates that between 2011 and 2017 ecommerce sales will reach $32.56 billion.
Australia’s ecommerce growth predictions look good for startups like InPin.biz, however with Wasan being quite new to the circuit in Australia it may take him a while to test the waters. He said the platform has been global from day one and looks to tap into small business markets nationally and globally.
“Our platform is not confined by boundaries, so that our merchants on our site who are registered in the United States, in Australia, in the Philippines, in India. We are not confined.”
Image: Gaurav Wasan. Source: Supplied.