What looks like another nail in the coffin for chunky phone directories and supermarket noticeboard cards, Spark has launched a new online service that promises to connect consumers with small businesses in their local area.
The service, called WeDo, allows consumers to post a job and SMEs are able to receive relevant job leads.
Spark says that people expect digital services to operate with convenience and transparency – just look at platforms like Uber and Airbnb.
“It wasn't that long ago we ran businesses like the Yellow Pages service, helping connect Kiwis looking for businesses. Now we're stepping that up - connecting great tradespeople with busy households with a revised sense of ease and convenience,” comments WeDo lead Kayne Munro.
He adds that small business customers tell Spark that they don't have the time or resources to keep up their online presence, even though they know it's important.
“WeDo isn't about controlling or facilitating the work, but rather about providing a platform for small business owners to cultivate their customer base online, get paid quickly, plus have a fair shot at winning jobs - all without clipping the ticket on their hard-earned work.
So far it looks like Spark is rallying tradespeople (electrical services, cleaning, gardening, moving, painting, and plumbing) across Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch for the initial launch in August.
“Our main goal right now is to ensure we have a wide selection of businesses available in cleaning, gardening, plumbing, electrical, moving and painting before opening up the service to consumers. The platform is still very much in a beta phase, so we'll be capturing feedback from both businesses and customers and refining it based on the suggestions we receive,” says Munro.
According to electrician Danny Bowen, his father founded Silverlake Electrical in the 1980s, when there were two things that made success: Relationships and technology. Danny says he plans to use new digital technologies to reach even more prospects, 30 years later.
“We are a fast-growing, small business with a loyal set of clients. But we want to continue to diversify and platforms like WeDo will help us reach and grow relationships with a new set of clients. I think as a consumer it's difficult to determine the quality of a supplier's work until it's completed – that's the beauty of WeDo, it's a simple way to help consumers navigate and find reliable companies that provide a quality service,” says Bowen.
The company says there will be more locations and categories to be announced in future.