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08-07-2012, 02:09 PM
Swogo.com
Helping consumers make the best purchase decision.
INVESTMENT SOUGHT: £17,500
Equity Offered: 5%

https://seedrs.com/startups/428

Product(s) and/or Service(s)
Swogo aims to empower consumers to make purchase decisions like experts.

Everyday consumers are faced with complex decisions about products and services, be it shopping for consumer electronics, buying a new car or even booking a holiday. We believe that making the best purchase decision requires expert knowledge and a considerable amount of time.

Our free service would ask consumers a series of simple questions about their desired product or service, which would allow our proprietary algorithm to determine their individual requirements. Based on this information, our service would recommend them the ideal product or service for their needs at the best price. The goal is to make it as easy as talking to an expert in store. What calculators do for maths, Swogo wants to do for purchases.

We plan to begin with consumer electronics, starting with recommending laptops. We then plan to branch out into other types of consumer electronics, followed by different product markets.

Intended Impact
We believe that Swogo will revolutionise the way consumers buy products and services. We want to let consumers make expert decisions easily, save money, and overall be happier with their purchases.

Substantial Accomplishments to Date
We have conducted in-depth qualitative and quantitative primary market research, speaking to potential customers, both online and offline. As a result, this provided us with substantial insights into the behaviour of consumers in the consumer electronics market, such as: their individual requirements when purchasing laptops, their reasons for shopping online and offline, the process they undertake prior to buying, how long this process takes, and the average price they are willing to pay for a laptop.

Moreover, we have created and defined our marketing strategy. In order to test part of our marketing strategy, we ran a blog named ‘Swogo on Tech’ from December 2011 to February 2012. During this time we managed to be approved for Google News, which helped increase our audience. This also led us to build relationships with consumer electronics’ manufacturers who sent us products to review. In order to produce content we recruited a small team of writers.

Monetisation Strategy
Primarily, Swogo intends to make money through affiliate schemes and sponsorships. We plan to charge a commission on each item sold through us. To put this into perspective, Amazon provide a 5% commission on the product price (minus delivery expenses, no sales and value added tax) which increases up to 9.5% as sales volumes increase.

In the future, we may also include other revenue streams, such as a PPC business model and subscription business model.

We plan to implement the PPC business model once we have achieved brand awareness. Upon making a recommendation of a product or service to a potential customer, the merchant would be charged per click for the lead. As it would take place after making a recommendation, it would be considerably more targeted than PPC advertisements on Google and other search engines, which could potentially result in a higher conversion rate of purchases.

The subscription business model would be a B2B offering. Swogo expects to build vast amounts of high-quality consistent data, both of technical specifications and consumer behaviour and trends, and we believe we will be able to sell this information to both retailers and manufacturers.

Use of Proceeds
We will use the proceeds to develop our service into a marketable product after which we plan to raise another round of investment.

In order to achieve this we plan to expand our team, hiring one lead
developer, one junior developer, and one user experience designer.

Additionally, we plan to outsource our work on developing a database
of technical specifications to a small team in a low-cost country.

Market Details
Target Market
Our target market is the general public based in urban locations. More specifically, our focus will be on younger consumers, aged 35 or less, who are highly active consumers, early adopters, possess high amounts of disposable income and own more devices when compared to those aged 35-55+. However, older consumers would not be disregarded, as many of them tend to engage actively with more traditional technologies, such as personal computers, laptops and mobile phones. Our target market tends to spend a fair amount of time online, whether this is for work, play or for social purposes.

Another major focus of our marketing initiatives will also be on non-tech-savvy consumers who know little about technological products and may lack the time to conduct research on the subject. According to our primary market research, 77% of people asked found technical specifications of laptops and computers overwhelming, with 66% finding it tedious to research online.

A large section of our target market is family-oriented, meaning that they may be looking to use the service to find and purchase electronic products for other family members. This would especially include the parents of undergraduate University students. Students who move out of their family homes to study often need new consumer electronic products, such as laptops, which are often purchased by their parents.

Characteristics of Target Market
We plan to launch in the US and UK markets, based in the consumer electronics industry, before branching out into other markets. The consumer electronics industry is a fast-paced industry, with a new laptop being released every 4 hours, a new TV every 15 hours, and a new camera every 45 hours.

Global revenue for the consumer electronics market is forecasted to increase from $355 Billion to $385 Billion in the next two years. According to the CEA, the average American household spent $1,380 in 2011 on consumer electronics, resulting in a $165 Billion per year industry despite a recession. By 2014, the UK consumer electronics market value is forecasted to be valued at $10.37 Billion. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office found that the UK has the largest market in Europe for consumer electronics, with 22% market share.

Marketing Strategy
Anthony and Ivor plan to leverage their online marketing expertise--both have held previous marketing positions and founded the digital marketing agency, createAI. All of our marketing efforts aim to revolve around our three core brand values: evoking messages of trust, being helpful to our users, and being recognised as experts in our field.

Online Video
Video could humanise a brand, and increase loyalty. As well as creating online video reviews of consumer electronic products, we plan to launch Swogo TV, a short fortnightly Internet TV show, with three segments - tech news, product group test and a presenter challenge. Swogo TV is meant to be a ‘Top Gear for Tech’ aimed towards our target market - early adopters and consumers under 35 years old.

PPC and SEO
We aim to focus on pay-per-click advertisements across major search engines to acquire users. This would be tracked, analysed and refined on a daily basis. However, for some keywords it would be more appropriate to work on search engine optimisation in order to reduce costs.

Social Media
In order to build an initial following we will aim to seed our Facebook and Twitter accounts with fans and followers. We also aim to run a number of competitions to increase our brand’s exposure, offering products provided by manufacturers. After this we plan to use social media to humanise our brand, evoke messages of trust, and interact with our consumers in a helpful way showcasing our knowledge as experts in our field.

Content Marketing
We plan to re-launch our tech news website, which has already been accepted onto Google News. This should help us reach and attract early adopters.

Offline Marketing
We plan to run display advertisements, using a marketing display fund. The marketing display fund is an advertisement that would be funded collectively by Swogo and other companies in the industry to give collective exposure and co-branding. It could be featured in major newspapers, magazines, and billboards.

Competition Strategy
We are aware of two main competitors, FindTheBest and Sortable. Both services allow the user to apply filters on technical specifications, reducing the number of results, and allowing the consumer to make a choice. At Swogo, we believe we are creating a more user-friendly approach, asking our users simple questions with multiple choice answers, such as ‘which of the following do you plan to use the laptop for?’ Unseen to our user, our system would interpret their answers as technical specifications and features. We believe this will be a much more appealing proposition for consumers and give us a strong advantage against the competition.

Related to this, we believe we can humanise our brand, creating a personal connection with our customer base, enhancing the customer’s experience with Swogo and increasing brand loyalty. We plan to achieve this via our Internet TV show, Swogo TV and our tech news blog, Swogo on Tech. In each of these, we plan to use members of our team to feature in the videos and adopt their own writing styles, so our customer base can warm to their individual personalities. We want our users to believe that we’re not just a company, but real people.