Findit aiming for No 1 spot in online marketplaces
By Goh Thean Eu April 3, 2015
- Aims for app downloads to grow tenfold to 13mil
- Set to offer marketplace feature within 90 days
FINDIT Services Sdn Bhd, the company behind location-based social platform app Findit, may be new to the e-commerce space, but it believes it has what it takes to become the Malaysian online marketplace leader within the next 12 months.
“This means the leadership position in marketplaces for merchants that includes postings, classifieds and deals,” Findit Services marketing and product head Manav Sethi (pic, above) told Digital News Asia (DNA) recently.
Manav has reason to be optimistic. Prior to the official launch of the Findit Malaysia mobile app recently, Findit Malaysia, which was established last July, had already recorded 130,000 downloads and had 280,000 businesses in over 800 categories listed on its platform.
“So far, our traction has mainly been driven by word-of-mouth,” he claimed.
Over the next 12 months, the company is targeting to grow app downloads to 13 million. “If all goes well, we can even achieve that within three quarters,” said Manav.
But Manav acknowledged that despite its word-of-mouth traction, not many people on the street know about the Findit brand.
“The media may know about Findit. Those in the tech space may know. But the common guy on the street does not know what Findit stands for, or its reliability,” he said.
Findit is a location-based app with an integrated platform for searches across local businesses, deals and classifieds.
It allows consumers to be more aware of the products and services offered within their area, so that they don’t have to travel far for those particular services. It also integrates deals and classifieds features so that they can get a holistic view of what’s on the table.
For example, if a user searches for ‘Home Furnishing,’ he or she will get a list of such companies that are close to the user, deals (discounts, promotions) related to home furnishing, and last but not least, listings on second-hand furniture for sale on the classifieds section.
Findit is also working with Groupon, so if a user searches for ‘Spa in Kuala Lumpur’ on its platform, he or she can get a list of promotions and discounts that are related to the subject, on top of the business listing and classified ads.
All this may make Findit an indirect competitor to search engine operators like Google and online classified companies like Mudah.my, but Manav doesn’t think so.
“Google is a horizontal search engine. It monetises services like AdWords. For a merchant to get into the bidding process, to know the keyword density, keyword acquisition – that’s not the merchant’s job. His job is to focus on his business.
“Those pains – we will take it off the merchants,” he said. “But then again, at the end of the day, the pie is big enough for everyone to have a role in it.”
Findit charges merchants a fee if they want their listings prominently displayed. But this fee does not go entirely into Findit’s pocket, said Manav. A substantial portion is used to get these merchants ‘discovered.’
A search for ‘Home Furnishing in Kuala Lumpur’ on Google will see a paid ad by Findit (pic, below).
“Today, more and more people are spending most of their time on their phones and tablets,” said Manav.
“Beyond search engine operators, beyond managing the hassle of advertising on these search engines, what options do small and medium enterprises have? That is the market we want to acquire,” he added.
Full suite of services
For now, the Findit platform allows users to search product and business listings, deals, and classifieds. But that is all going to change.
“In 90 days, we hope to include a marketplace feature,” said Manav. “Currently, transactions and payments are done offline ... but we want to bring them online.”
This would help Findit differentiate itself against its indirect competitors, and to also attract more merchants on board.
But Manav understands the challenges ahead. “Developing the platform is easy. Creating the experience is easy. The challenge is to create the merchant relationship.
“How do you communicate the value to the merchant? How do you ensure that the moment a customer buys something off the merchant’s shelves, it gets delivered to the customer’s doorstep?”
There is also room for improvement even in its current services (business listings, classifieds and deals), Manav acknowledged, adding that Findit will continue to also improve the user experience.
Once the platform is widely used, not only would it be able to inform the user what the nearest Japanese restaurants are, as well as give deals related to Japanese restaurants, it would also be able to tell users “which Japanese restaurants their friends like,” he said.
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