SearchMyStreet.com: Sally Sidhu
Company name: SearchMyStreet Website: www.SearchMyStreet.com Founders: Sally Elizabeth Sidhu Based: Tunbridge Wells (Kent) Staff Numbers: 7 Date started: June 07
Tell us what your business does: We bring internet shoppers to local high street stores. SearchMyStreet.com is different from online shopping search sites like Amazon or Kelkoo because it only shows you products sold in local stores. It’s also different from yellow pages, which doesn’t provide details on specific products and services like prices, descriptions and pricing being offered by local stores.
We also allow you to compare prices with other retailers and online comparison sites. SearchMyStreet provides consumers the information necessary to make the best immediate purchasing decision.
Where did the idea for your business come from? Research and my own shopping habits. We’re riding a trend in e-commerce – of shoppers gathering product information online but making their actual purchases in stores.
Over the past decade the internet has increasingly influenced the way in which we shop for and buy goods and products. Consider this: over 87% of European consumers have researched a product online in the past year. New market research shows that 59% of UK online consumers research a product online, but choose to purchase it offline in a real bricks-and-mortar store.
What were you doing before starting up? A busy working mother of two, who passionately believes that there’s no better feeling that visiting your favourite local store for shopping needs. I’ve also had experience of running small retail business in the past.
What appealed most about being your own boss? Being able to execute my own ideas
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What planning did you do before you started up? Extensive market research both in the US and UK. I am backed by a strong board of advisors experienced in business and technology. Also used local advisory groups including Startups.co.uk.
How did you raise the money? The business is currently self-funded but going through first level of fundraising.
How did you find suppliers? Software development is offshored and outsourced. Board of advisors have strong expertise in this space. How have you promoted your business? Conventional advertising, local press and SEO
How much do you charge? It is free to join for a limited period. After this period, There will be a charge of around £400 per year per store. This is lot less then an average small retailer’s annual spend on advertising in a local paper, yellow pages etc.
What was your first big breakthrough? Major brands signing up including Harrods, John Lewis, Currys, Heals etc
Where do you want to be in five years’ time? In a joint venture, or in an alliance with services providers such as mobile operators, directory service providers or business service providers to small businesses.