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    Date submitted
  • 21-May-2018

Member Marketplace Inc.

Abstract

We create marketplace websites for member-based organizations that allow their members to sell their products and services together online.

Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Our current customers are small businesses in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. We started our business as CedarRapidsMarketplace.com and have tested/proved a model over the past year where we went directly to the business owners themselves. We currently have 40+ vendors and close to 600 products. Since joining the Iowa Startup Accelerator we incorporated our business as Member Marketplace, Inc. to expand our platform to work with member-based groups. We created the ShopWhereILive.com platform to partner with Chambers of Commerce to allow their members to sell online together. Each chamber would have their own shopwhereilive.com domain for their members/community.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

Business membership groups are not providing opportunities for their members sell online or generate effective leads from that member affiliation. Often, a directory listing is the only online option which typically just allows for a business name, logo, small description, and a link to a website or social media that takes customers away from the organizations’ website.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

We help their members sell online. Small businesses often need help to list their products or services effectively and chamber staff are already very busy. We take the stress off of the busy chamber staff and work directly with members to get the marketplace up and running. Additionally, our websites can generate revenue for the Chamber providing more value to their members, especially small independent business owners with no other web presence. Our websites can create additional online revenue for businesses through online sales, and additional revenue to their city through sales and business taxes.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

Other member directory companies like MemberClicks, WebLink, ChamberMaster, ChamberNation, ChamberOrganizer, GrowthZone, YourMembership, and more are focused on building software solutions for the to help Chambers manage their memberships, calendars, directories, and finances. However, not one system is member-focused (vs. chamber focused), or provides an online e-commerce space to members to sell their products and services in a marketplace website. Individual businesses can have their own online website, though they will have to build and manage it on their own or pay someone a hefty fee to do it. They will also have to get traffic to their website. Similarly, they could also open a shop on one of the large marketplace websites like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy- though those shops to not leverage the affiliation they have with their membership and the organizations clientele.