What keeps a producer awake at night? Through our product validation process, we asked ourselves and others the question multiple times. This is in addition to the obvious other question for a marketplace: What keeps a buyer awake at night?
Take Uber, for instance, it is somehow a marketplace: from one side you have the drivers offering their services and on the other side, there are riders who are offering to pay to take advantage of the service. The suppliers are the taxis, and the buyers are the customers. Uber sits in the middle and match-make them. So, what this has to do with Prowexx? Well, both are “agents” and both are relying on technology to get the business done. So far so good, of course, there are structural differences and completely different underlying mechanisms but this example along with a few others is quite telling when it comes to understanding the rationale of different players into the platform.
Coming back to the supply question, what would “drive” drivers. Well, it is quite natural to conclude that what they are after are more customers. Very true, they are not after a system to get paid quicker or safer, they are not even into a system which vets their riders beforehand. Even less so, they got into Uber so that they can locate their customers via an app. Of course, they like all these perks, but did anyone of them give up his traditional taxi for Uber for any of that? The answer is an emphatic No.
What Suppliers are after are more sales, or put bluntly more money that goes into their pockets, what goes out as cost after that is still a grey area and not the most important as already mentioned. So how did we adapt and how did we offer this?
Prowexx has an important consultancy aspect: on regulations, packaging, design of brochures, market analysis, competition analysis, pricing advisory and so on. If we do not offer this directly, we rely on our service providers to do so when they are solicited. But all this is not our core product. What is then our prime offering and where is the USP (Unique Selling proposition). Our Core product is a virtual gateway to the UK market, a trade show online, a tool that allows suppliers to become visible and recognised. So, like a trade show for example, instead of setting up a stand, you set an online presence. And like any trade show, it is not worth much if the pavilions are empty. Hence, we recognised the importance of onboarding buyers straightaway. Uber went one step further by finding riders automatically and by the way, this is what Alibaba and other marketplaces do, a platform for sharing RFQs (Request for quotes). We chose to remain more mechanical. For our market participants, it takes years to establish good and longstanding relationships so going the RFQ route did not make sense. We went the route of digitalising the product showcase exercise and like Uber, we filled it with many cool perks.