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New digital marketplace launched to aid small businesses

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unnamed-14PRESS RELEASE – Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) was declared opened by Hon. Bradley Felix – Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Commerce, Industry, Investment, Enterprise development and Consumer affairs.

As the closing activity of the official launch of GEW the Sales Only App was unveiled to a packed Sandals Halcyon ballroom comprising of Government officials, Chamber of Commerce executives, established business persons as well as Entrepreneurs from around the island.

The preceding activity was a speed mixer, where entrepreneurs were able to spend up to 10 minutes at tables manned by specialists in different aspects of business including: Accounting, Law, Information Technology, Social Media, Banking, PR, Marketing, Business Processes as well as two tables manned by an experienced Business Man and Business woman. This upbeat activity allowed budding business persons an opportunity to ask burning questions and to get advice specific to their businesses while networking with other like-minded investors.

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Among the excited group, Anselm Mathurin Founder of Sales Only Inc. presented what he described as “St. Lucia’s Digital Discount Market Place; where Retailers attract Shoppers by offering guaranteed discounts”; thus the name Sales ONLY. As a 17 year Regional Product Development and Marketing specialist he stated that Businesses needed help – confirmed by the room’s response. The two major issues identified by entrepreneurs are 1) Access to start up capital/financing and 2) Cost of ongoing marketing and customer engagement activities. For those businesses able to find financing it is estimated that at least 60% of them will fail within 5 years. As the engine of economic growth we can’t allow this continue. His concerns were validated by the Commerce Minister who’ve stated that SMEs/MSMEs (Small and Medium enterprises) make up between 70%-80% of all businesses, contribute up to 60% of GDP and are responsible for approximately 50% of all employment on island.

“The Sales Only Mobile App and Web platform gives us the opportunity to address unfunded or underfunded marketing investment of businesses. 66% of small businesses see marketing as a cost and not an investment. When businesses don’t advertise shoppers don’t know about them; generally don’t buy as much, thus reducing sales and revenue opportunities which ultimately leads to their demise.

With the Sales Only Mobile App and Web platform two problems are addressed:

  1. Shoppers can’t easily find SALES for the things they need and love
  2. Relative unaffordability and ineffectiveness of traditional advertising

The platform consolidates thousands of scattered product and service offers across all media/channels into ONE, SINGLE, DIGITAL DISCOUNT marketplace. Finally ANY BUSINESS can post unlimited ads for FREE to boost sales and customer engagement. Users can download the Mobile App which is already available in both the Google Play and iOS App Stores for free.

“I hate shopping, so my vision was to wake up in the morning, open my Mobile App and see ALL SALES available in St. Lucia, all in one place! No more endless walking, scanning through newspapers, magazines, searching through chaotic Facebook groups or having to be in the right place at the right time to hear an ad on the radio or see it on television…everyone’s busy! For businesses without a website, no problem! We’ve put the power back into the hands of shoppers. When the Mobile App is opened or the website loaded users will instantly see ‘Featured Sales’ (paid option) on the landing page of the App and Home page of the website with the discount percentage! If they don’t like these offers they can then search up to 12 Categories to find the sale that’s right for them: Auto & Marine, Beauty, Electronics, Events & Tickets, Fashion, Food & Drink, Health & Fitness, Homes & Gardens, Kids, Lifestyle & Leisure, Pets and Service.

The most empowering feature of the platform is that ANYONE can register as a business and start selling instantly; home business, small business, any business! The distinct quality of the platform is that it will attract motivated shoppers because it only showcases SALES and DISCOUNT offers. It puts the shopper in direct contact with the retailer and increases engagement because now sight within the ad the shopper can ‘Like’, ‘Share’ on Facebook or retweet on Twitter if there is an offer they support. The shopper can also call, email, check the website and even get directions to the retailers if needed.

We are truly excited and optimistic about this new service because there hasn’t been any other as detailed or as functionally rich especially since the platform also offers the ability to purchase right within the App or website. “Our hope is that going forward entrepreneurs take advantage of the platform including persons who simply want to sell extra clothes or household items that are no longer needed; they can now do this in an organized searchable manner which is convenient for the shopper. We also envision a scenario where shoppers proactive ask their favourite stores to put their offers on the platform so they can enjoy savings from the places they love to shop at. Freedom for Businesses and Power to Shoppers!

“We’ve invested 6 months into the development of the platform, an idea that more than 6 years in the making and more than EC$25,000! I’m a patriot and have always believed that for us to succeed we must not be afraid to try new things outside of our comfort zone, and to those who say St. Lucia is not ready for this….Global ride-sharing juggernaut UBER is already in Trinidad and Tobago!”

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