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“We can now offer consumers that extra level of convenience and speed and give local retailers that added advantage over these big players.”
By working with self-employed local drivers, Flash Market helps small retailers meet customer demand for one hour delivery within a 30-kilometre radius. Gee believes the model will completely change the way Australians shop locally.
“We want to see small businesses thrive, and already we’ve seen a lot of new signups from family-owned retail stores that have never sold through an online marketplace or had an e-commerce presence before,” Gee said.
“Small businesses are the bedrock to all communities, and we are giving them the tools to pivot to online and offer fast delivery so they can compete against the big players.”
Despite having zero qualifications or experience in the retail industry, Gee was prompted to set up Flash Market after witnessing the devastating effect online giants were having on the local retail industry, particularly smaller players.
“Amazon and eBay are crushing local retail,” he said.
“Amazon is monopolising the market. And we can’t have that in our local sector, because it’s what makes towns and cities vibrant, it’s what creates jobs, creates revenue and helps our circular economy and trade within Australia.”
Fair deal for retailers
Flash Market adopts an approach similar to Groupon, allowing retailers to post deals, as they would in store, that will show up in shoppers’ feeds. These deals can also be converted into flash sales, creating a limited time offer to drum up more interest.
“That’s why it’s called Flash Market; it’s an online marketplace for flash sales.”
Gee says Flash Market will allow small retailers to reach millions of potential customers, while also protecting their profit margins with a low fee payment model.
“We will look after the business and let the business then look after their customers, because at the end of the day, if you don’t look after the business, they won’t survive.”
How does it work?
When consumers land on the Flash Market site, all participating local shops in the area will be displayed along with their product range.
After making a purchase, customers can choose to pick up their item in-store, have it posted or hand delivered in 60 minutes within a 30 kilometre radius.
Customers can also opt for 24-hour delivery, with the ability to track the order in real time.
While it has a similar model to Uber Eats, Flash Market charges a much lower commission at 10 per cent, and delivery charge, between $5-10, is at the expense of the customer, not the retailer.
“If we fail to deliver on time – you won’t have to pay for the delivery,” Gee said.
The company also allows drivers to maximise earning potential by delivering up to 10 orders at a time.
Crowdfunding target of $5 million
Over the past two months, Flash Market has had over 30,000 consumers sign up to use the service and is currently onboarding retailers.
“Anyone can sign up. We’re generally after the mum-and-dad type stores and the franchises that are owned by local families. We know that there’s a lot more of them around and a lot more that need help. There are so many that don’t have an e-commerce presence at all.”
Flash Market has started a national outreach campaign to get businesses signed up in all parts of the country.
The business is also running a crowdfunding campaign through Birchal to drive its mission to become the largest online marketplace in Australia by 2025.
“Crowdfunding has got this beautiful aspect of bragging rights with everyday people being ambassadors,” Gee said.
“They can jump in an Uber on a night out and tell the driver that they can sign up to be a delivery driver for Flash Market. When they’re in retail, they can tell them about selling their products on Flash Market. They can tell their friends to shop on Flash Market and how important it is to support local retail. It’s a powerful model.”
With a maximum target of $5 million in shares, Gee said the capital will be used to bolster sales and marketing.