Last updated on March 5, 2019
This tech startup provides micro-vendors with a suitable retail platform to promote their services and tools to embrace the digital economy.
Zowedo Co-Founder and CEO, Antoine Nicole, saw an opportunity to provide a service that could make a real impact in the Singapore SME market. He shared, “Finding a good service provider for personal or home services is like finding a needle in a haystack. As a busy working professional and a father of two young children, I wanted convenience. A simple way to find a service provider, knowing what I will get for the said price and determining the quality of the vendor based on other customers’ feedback plus being able to make online appointments. Such an online service did not exist across the range of services an individual or a family might need. The rest they say is history and Zowedo was born.”
The majority of Zowedo’s vendors are small companies or self-employed individuals who lack the resources and skills to bring their business online. The Zowedo platform offers a comprehensive and easy-to-use online onboarding process that takes these vendors step-by-step from creating profiles to making the very first sale. Post onboarding, Zowedo also provides vendors with proper training on how to make the optimum use of the ‘Partner’ dashboard on the website where they can manage bookings and appointments.
Transitioning into a digital economy
This comes at the right time for SMEs in Singapore, with statistics from Singstat[ 1] showing that the Recreation, Community and Personal Services sector has been among the fastest growing industries in terms of CAGR of operating receipts between 2007 and 2017 in Singapore. During the same period, the world was witnessing a new-age industrial revolution driven by the internet. The entire social, economic and industrial landscape of Singapore underwent drastic changes to adapt to the digital age.
As Singapore moves towards a Smart Nation, there are considerable resources and grants being made available to businesses. However, most SMEs that are sole proprietors or microbusinesses lack access to these resources and do not have the required skills or manpower to build a strong digital presence or marketplace. Zowedo has helped these businesses break into new customer segments through a digital platform and will empower them to grow and sustain. The startup also solves the issue of cash payments for small vendors – non-payment for services or preference for cashless payments – by providing an online payment gateway, which makes it easier and more convenient for consumers to pay for services.
One such business benefiting from the Zowedo platform is Bakerz@Work Academy, which offers bakery courses. Marketing Executive and Course Coordinator, Calynn Ping said, “Zowedo is a great platform for us to market our classes and increase our online presence. As listed vendors on Zowedo, we are happy to see that they are making efforts to run marketing campaigns and special promotions to promote our services. On top of that, Zowedo is responsive to customer related enquiries, which is a top priority for us.”
With Singapore’s burgeoning[ 2] e-commerce industry and the declining[ 3] footfall at brick-and-mortar outlets in the past few years, small companies and service providers cannot afford to remain offline if they want to compete in the market or stay profitable.
Terence Chiew, coach and trainer at business performance consultancy Peet Asia Pte Ltd, agrees that there are challenges for small businesses to scale their service. Terence shared, “As a small business I cannot afford big marketing budgets, so getting customers to learn about my services and contact me is difficult. Learning how to use digital marketing is time-consuming and quite challenging.”
Zowedo simplifies the consumer experience
Consumers have moved online with eCommerce and online payments driving the online economy in Singapore. While many consumers benefit from the convenience of online shopping and digital payments, there are limitations, which Zowedo helps to solve.
Today, a working mother does not have the luxury of time to research and find, and then book a cleaning service for her house. With office cubicles becoming increasingly redundant as laptops and smartphones make any location an office, there are increasing expectations for people to be online and available almost 24/7. This makes managing housework, home repairs or taking care of dependents a challenge. While there are digital options for each individual service, it is difficult to manage multiple mobile apps, passwords for different online services and track payments across different services.
The easy-to-use Zowedo platform provides a simple and effective solution to these problems. From registering for a pottery class to getting a handyman in for repairs to booking in-home spa sessions – consumers can find reliable and verified service providers across various verticals, all in one place.
To help people in making an informed decision before they purchase a service online, the Zowedo platform offers features like reviews and a section on what to expect from this service. Customers can also share a service if they like and report a provider if they are dissatisfied.
If privacy is a concern, consumers can contact their service provider through an in-built chat service. To ensure optimal consumer experience, customers can also schedule and reschedule appointments and returning customers get benefits out of loyalty programmes.
Zowedo aims to help consumers by adding transparency to the service industry where pricing has always been a bit opaque. With upfront costs and a clear scope of work, customers are provided with reassurance about their payments. Zowedo’s online payment platform also makes it easier to pay for these services and only releases the money after the service has been provided, thus ensuring the completion of the service and also preventing any cheating or dissatisfaction.
Zowedo is a marketplace dedicated to personal services where vendors and customers enjoy the ease and convenience of acquiring and transacting services online. It is your one-stop-destination for everyday services. The name ‘Zowedo’ is inspired by the founders’ vision to create a community of service providers (“so we do”) and customers so that people can live life doing the things they love.
 https://www.guidemesingapore.com/business-guides/industry-guides/retail-industry/the-s hifting-trend-of-retail-in-singapore