From registering for a yoga class to getting a handyman in for repairs- consumers can find reliable and verified service providers across various verticals in Zowedo. Source: Shutterstock

From registering for a yoga class to getting a handyman in for repairs- consumers can find reliable and verified service providers across various verticals in Zowedo. Source: Shutterstock

How Zowedo is bringing micro-vendors closer to consumers

MORE and more Singaporeans are opting to shop online these days.

According to a recent iPrice estimate, spending in the country’s e-commerce market is estimated to reach US$7.4 billion by 2023, indicating the city-state is well on its way to becoming a regional e-commerce hub.

Further, as part of its digital transformation agenda, the Singaporean government has also made numerous resources and grants available to push enterprises to become digital, and for the most part, the businesses have heeded this call. Except for one group — micro and small businesses.

Small businesses that are sole proprietors that are offering personal services, often struggle to get on board the digital revolution. This could be due to several reasons.

Most often, they lack the expertise and resources. Besides, due to their size, they are not eligible for government grants.  And thus, establishing digital business platforms beyond social media pages is a challenge.

But Zowedo aims to change that. The online platform is on a mission to connect the medium, small, and micro-sized businesses to consumers, to further democratize the service industry.

Filling the gap in the market

“Today, you can purchase pretty much anything online, gadgets, fashion, groceries, food, taxi, etc. However, you cannot find services and book an appointment for service instantly,” Zowedo Co-founder and CEO Antoine Nicole told Tech Wire Asia in an exclusive interview.

According to him, this is because most personal, lifestyle, and home service providers are micro-vendors and small businesses who do not have access to the digital marketplace.

“Building a good website with the booking and payment functionalities, SEO, search and social media marketing are out of reach for many of these service providers,” explained Nicole.

So, Nicole and this team at Zowedo took it upon themselves to develop and build all the tools, that empower these vendors to rapidly embrace the digital business environment and reach a bigger market which will enable them to grow their income.

To do that, they needed to develop a platform with a seamless onboarding process, to make it easier to get vendors to list their services and focus their energy on their core business, instead of worrying about administration and marketing.

“Our partners are usually self-employed or small companies. Many of these vendors are unfamiliar with how to offer services through e-commerce marketplaces or online marketing,” said Nicole.

Hence, Zowedo also offers support to help them get started.

“We advise them on how they should structure and price their service to be able to accept booking online. We provide copywriting and assistance to develop their profile and listings,” said Nicole.

Vendors could also take advantage of other value-added services that the platform offers, such as photography services or creating short videos about their business boost their digital marketing campaigns.

Enhancing consumer experience

Zowedo is designed to promote convenience and ease for customers to buy services the same way they would buy products online today and offers all the essential features to help them make a more informed decision when engaging a service.

Be it leisurely shopping for yoga classes, or engaging a plumbing service in a hurry; consumers are empowered to compare prices, read the reviews before making the purchase. Zowedo’s proprietary appointment booking system also lets consumer schedule the services at each others’ convenience.

“The eco-system we created equips small companies and self-employed individuals who lack the resources and skills to bring their business online with a suite of scheduling and payment tools to participate in e-commerce effectively and offer their business to digitally savvy customers,” Nicole explained.

The platform which went live four months ago has 400 services listings at the moment, and the number is growing every day.

“Zowedo’s solutions are making an impact on how personal and home services are being bought and sold. Our partners can now share their talents and skills in a career that is economically viable and sustainable,” said Nicole.