myoffsteet is brainchild of Shahjahan Chaudry and Shahrukh Chaudry, who are also behind HOMEEXPRESS. Myoffstreet was also awarded P@SHA ICT award for Startup Company.
Read on for details
GnW> Describe myoffstreet ? what is it and who should come there and what does myoffstreat offer to its users?
myoffstreet is a city-based social advertising network. Our mission is to help local stores & home-based businesses grow effortlessly. Anyone can start a free store and start interacting with local customers. Our network is divided into cities (Karachi, Manila, New York, etc) and we attract a focused audience through social marketing.
We are in the traffic business. We gather a local audience on our platform and deliver it directly to a small/retail business without any hassle and at zero cost. We solve two major problems for a small business: traffic and software.
GnW> Who came up with the idea and what was the moment you guys though lets get this out of door as an actual product?
Why do 90% of small businesses fail in the first year of business? Most of them have great products, but nearly all of them find the struggle of attracting new customers too hard or too expensive – and collapse. What does internet do? It slashes the cost of communication by over 50 times compared to traditional mediums. We wanted every small business to be able to harness the power of internet to grow their business without putting in too much time or money. We believed that if we could build a platform where products could be discovered by an attentive local audience, it would allow hundreds of small businesses to flourish. That was and still is the core idea. As for the launch, we believe in "launch early, and often…and innovate as you go." We’re not afraid of making mistakes. We’re evolving and getting better week after week.
GnW> Who is the founding team behind myoffstreet? what were you guys upto before that?
The founding team is Shahjahan Chaudhary and myself Shahrukh Chaudhary. We started our entrepreneurial careers in 2004 with HOMEXPRESS. Homexpress is a free direct-mail monthly magazine, which reaches 42,000 homes in Karachi. We have been servicing small/retail businesses for over 6 years now and it is that learning that is helping us build the best marketing platform for the little guy.
GnW> How many users have you signed up?
At the moment we have 15000 registered users with myoffstreet. And we are adding on average 50 new users everyday. We have over 400 active stores that either add products or answer queries regularly. On average, 2 stores join us everyday. The growth is accelerating as we reach critical mass.
GnW> What is the activity on the site, how many pageviews/visits are happening?
We have had over 3 million pageviews in the last 30 days. Every visitor to myoffstreet spends over 8 minutes on our site.
GnW> What are the sales numbers specially within Pakistan, are people buying off stuff online?
myoffstreet is an advertising platform. Our core proposition is that you add products to your online store, and every product acts as an advertisement for your business. The customer discovers your store through your product and makes the purchase offline.
We’ve recently added an online selling option as well. Now local stores can sell through our system. What is interesting is that cross-city online sales are higher, while in-city offline sales numbers are much bigger. For example: customers in Virginia or Toronto ordering from stores in Karachi or Lahore. But customers from the same city as the store, collect the information online but prefer to visit the store and close the purchase.
GnW> How does the delivery model work if I buy some thing from the a store based in Karachi will it be delivered in Lahore? who handles the delivery the seller or you?
Stores are delivering products locally and internationally. We’re facilitating stores in both at the moment, but eventually the physical management of the products will be the store’s responsibility.
myoffstreet will facilitate small businesses in managing orders, receiving payments and marketing. We’re currently working with TCS for local deliveries and DHL for international deliveries.
GnW> What are the biggest hurdles you have faced in getting this on road?
From building the product to marketing it, we have learned a lot. This learning can be applied to create any kind of social marketing platform, e.g for travel, banking, farming, etc. Our biggest challenge is to generate the resources necessary to have the best possible team. There is no end to this challenge because there is always someone out there who’s so good you want them to be in your team.
GnW> Whats the business model ? how does myoffstreet make money ?
Major source of revenue is going to be advertising, but we are also looking at facilitating local commerce.
GnW> What is next in line for myoffstreet?
Product development will always be top priority, and we still believe that there is a long way to go as far as our product is concerned. We are currently working on launching myoffstreet in large Asian cities, and you will see us becoming more active in Manila, Kuala Lumpur & Singapore in the coming months.