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Behind the business with myMzone
Posted by Tom Keighley on 21 May 2012
Inspired by the idea that tourists visiting London’s markets over the Olympic period might like to make purchases remotely so as to avoid luggage troubles, Ravi Jay and Asaf Nahum set up myMzone.com; an online selling platform for market traders. The co-founders take Bdaily behind the business.
What key challenges has your company recently faced?
myMzone is a young company and we identified very early that setting up a company with a new concept from scratch would be a challenge. We knew it will be a challenge to get the word out quickly and make the website familiar to online customers. There are two areas which kept us entertained in the past few months
1) Technology Innovation: myMzone aims at building a purely search engine oriented, organic customer base which will benefit the market traders because it requires no investment from their side. Further since all of our services we offer local merchants are free, we had to build a platform that had a powerful search engine so that customers could identify the perfect item for them from a lot of products. This also meant that the website had to be positioned to be discoverable in search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo etc. With search algorithms changing all the time, we have to be ready to change at any time re-positioning ourselves to be ahead of the competition.
2) Engaging the B2B customer: Part of being a new concept is that there is a degree of ‘educating’ of market traders involved. This is when we learned that it is not enough to be just another online business but we have to incorporate the human element into our business element and maintain contact with the market traders. The responses we have received so far has been very encouraging and we believe it is because of the trusted-dialogue that we have opened and maintained with all of small businesses we feature on myMzone.
What is your biggest achievement over the past 12 months?
myMzone now works with 12 local markets in London and has more than 80 merchants registered featuring a total of over 2000 products since its launch five months ago. Given that we launched with 10 merchants from Camden Town, this is an improvement of 700% in the last 4 months.
What is your biggest focus for the coming year?
Turning myMzone into a household name across the world is our focus this year and we believe that we are in a good position to do so because of the large influx of traffic to London this year. We are planning on leveraging the attention that the local markets in London will get to promote the brands and making them a familiar name amongst tourists. At the end of the day, the success of market traders is a measure of our success.
If you had to choose one top piece of advice for someone just starting out in business, or is currently operating within your industry sector, what would it be?
Do not be fazed by developing a concept that is new. It is going to be difficult to get a footing initially but never give up on the idea. However, ensure you become an expert in the domain that you are entering, really understand what your customers wants and reflect on the added value that you offer to the end user.
Can you share with us your view of the current landscape of business, in this region or generally and where your organisation sits within it?
eCommerce platforms are changing traditionally accepted economic practices and making competition even fiercer than it has ever been in the past. As the internet opens up larger customer bases to local markets, it becomes crucial that we are able to offer better priced value propositions in order to gain market share. In order to maintain competitive advantage and emerge as an industry leader tomorrow, as an organization we have to be ready to take on challenges by not only leveraging IT but also the way employees and market traders think. Since we are based in London, we are in a good position to take advantage of the fact that we are available to our B2B customers on demand so that we ensure the human element remains in the process. Since we are adding this human element at the root, we hope to see it trickle to our B2C customers.