The start-up behind Australia’s first online shopping centre

Luke Kelly

As the managing director of a successful digital agency, Luke Kelly realised conventional online stores did not guarantee retailers sales or exposure. In his search for a solution, he spotted a gap in the market and launched Australia’s first online shopping centre.

Gouniq.com is home to over 90 designers and brands. But it is more than an online marketplace. The website allows retailers to create their own unique online shopfront – they can choose their layout, customise the font and change background colours – using simple drop and drag software. As such, Kelly’s creation helps small business overcome some of the major pitfalls of eCommerce.

“Some key factors why online retailers fail are limited marketing and design budgets, limited web development knowledge and a limited understanding of online marketing practice,” the 31-year-old entrepreneur says.

The only existing solutions were website builders like Big Cartel and Shopify and marketplace websites like Etsy and The Iconic.

“We noticed that nothing enabled retailers to setup and design an online store with no coding requirements. Furthermore, there was no way of connecting stores in an online shopping centre-style environment.”

Gouniq.com addresses those deficiencies by merging website builder software with the conventional online marketplace.

“This allows retailers to get more product exposure as stores share customers,” Kelly explains. “And buyers get incredible global choice in one transaction.”

Better yet, it’s easy.

Retailers can accurately represent their brand, while optimising exposure to customers. We do this by providing simple to use online tools that help setup a branded store with no design or coding skills required.”

Kelly believes this is what sets the self-funded start-up apart from other websites.

“Entry-level ecommerce solutions exist, but none focus on the equally important task of getting customers to a store,” he says. “Marketplace websites focus on getting products viewed but fail to distinguish between each retailer’s store branding and marketing.”

“With Gouniq.com retailers can set up and market a store to a network of instant customers.”

It’s an exciting idea that Kelly hopes to continue building on.

“Our vision for Gouniq.com goes far beyond a simple showcasing website for retailers,” he says. “We see Gouniq becoming the premier worldwide shopping centre. As the company grows we will be branching into other areas of product specialty.”

“We see the web becoming even more search focused as users place more importance on finding information from specific social and search tools,” he continues. “eCommerce will be no different. Gouniq aims to be the central location to find and purchase from stores from all over the world.”

There are, however, a couple of potential risks standing in the way of Kelly’s vision.

“It’s a new concept with a model that has not been tested, so we have a risk of users not feeling confident therefore not giving it a try.”

“We’re also wary of a larger eCommerce provider developing a similar concept,” he adds.

What advice would the eCommerce pioneer give other entrepreneurs?

Don’t get emotional about your idea, talk to people about it and take their advice on-board.”

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