Freemarket is a new online supermarket where users pay – not with money – but with their opinion about products. It’s a product-testing site, where companies make new products available to users, who then “buy” the items with a review. Trendsonline spoke with Creative Director and Founder Simon Taylor about his business, which he started with Niels Henning Lindegaard.
The idea sprang from Taylor’s experience, where he often encountered the question of ROI from advertisers in all media. He saw how much money is spent on campaigns that do not give the desired effect. The solution was to create a universe in which the company speaks directly with the end user, without media noise in between. It takes place in a closed room, where consumers choose to accept the commercial message and give the company valuable consumer insights.
Freemarket opened its virtual doors to users this week, going live October 1. There are already products on the shelves, but Taylor admits that it has not been easy to get going – as with so many other startups, things are constantly changing.
“It’s not like opening a regular supermarket. It has taken time to explain to and convince customers about the concept and what they actually get out of it. Therefore, it has probably taken 2 years to get airborne.” says Taylor
Simon Taylor highlights the challenges of technology and building customer base. A solid team, consisting of people with the right entrepreneurial DNA that have been willing to sacrifice themselves for the project has been crucial to its success so far. In addition, patience has been a necessary virtue in Freemarket’s start-up phase.
Trendsonline asked for a look into the crystal ball, about what the focus will be for the next 6 months.
“Our main goal in 2013 is to build trust with members and customers. We want to create a universe which is fun. If we can create added value for all with some fun and different cases, so we create growth. Then we shall see when the year is over what parameters we need to turn up.” says Taylor.
Freemarket expects to reach 5,000 active members and stock to have a wide selection of products on the shelf in less than half a year. But the ambitions go much further, beyond its borders. This is a pretty exciting and novel idea, certainly one to watch.