The Next Big Thing?

The Next Big Thing?

What is it? is a new system that puts consumers and tradies in touch with stores – it’s basically a ‘market’ in the traditional sense because it puts prospective customers in touch with retailers. operates on the principle of ‘pay as you go’ for retailers. Your business profile is listed online but you only pay for the actual results you receive in return.

How does it work?

With you only pay for proven leads and expressions of interest. In traditional advertising, (catalogues, newspaper ads, radio spots etc.) you pay a lump sum based on what the advertiser thinks your spend is worth. With you only pay for any interest (which is automatically tracked and measured) that your business profile generates. This is all possible thanks to sophisticated but easy to use technology that is available on the internet.

Simplicity in mind is very simple to use. A tradie or consumer searches on the internet for a specific category, brand or product in a designated location. If your store stocks what they’re searching and if you happen to be in the specified area (or if you’ve specified that you deliver in that area) then your company’s listing will appear in that prospective customer’s search. The beauty of the system is that you are only billed if that prospective customer then clicks on your profile or sends you an enquiry (which is automatically faxed and emailed to your store). In other words, you only pay for potential customers – ‘pay per lead’ – rather than paying for the actual listing. You can even cap the maximum amount you spend to any amount you want per month.

How is this possible?

The technology behind has been commonly used by many industries across the internet for many years. It all comes down to how search engines like Google collect and ‘rank’ information on the internet. In laymen’s terms, Google (which is by far the biggest search engine in the world – with 79% of the Australian market) looks at information on the web and ‘ranks’ it according to ‘relevance’ by corresponding that information to the most commonly entered search words, also known as keywords. If something is searched for by typing in certain words, the websites that Google ranks as more relevant will appear before the ones that it considers less relevant. Because of the way is designed, Google has indexed literally hundreds of thousands of hardware retailer pages back to the site. This means that store information listed on is more likely to appear early in a Google search.

But what if I’m not ‘internet savvy’? was designed with simplicity and user friendliness in mind and anyone with an internet connection can sign up and use it. All you need to do is visit the site and click the ‘sign up’ button. After you create your account by entering your name and a few other details you can fill out your company business profile. You can come back to it or modify it any time (everything on the site is protected so no one else can access it). Start with some brief information about your company which you can either type in or select from a drop down list. You can then upload as much information as you like, including your logo, lines, products, ranges, promotions, services, brands, a blurb about your store, even your location (which will appear on an automatically generated map). Most importantly, you can also upload your store’s contact details. Because of the way is set up your profile actually works for you: the more information you include about your store, the more likely it is to appear earlier in a search.

Getting in touch with customers

Prospective customers who are looking for a name, brand, product, retailer or location will type in their keywords through a search engine. The stores that have included more information that matches the keywords that are being searched for are more likely to appear earlier on. For example, say you stock ‘Brand X’ of power tools. If a prospective customer wants to know how many retailers stock Brand X in a 5 Km radius (or a 20 Km radius – you can choose how far), they’d type in the keyword (i.e. ‘Brand X’) and tick the box for 5 Km within the designated postcode. then lists all retailers who have listed that they stock Brand X in the designated area.

Free and premium accounts

There are two account types on Free and Premium. Free accounts are exactly what the name implies – they don’t cost you anything. They allow you to enter generic information like your business contact details and a basic description of your business. Premium accounts allow you to upload almost unlimited information and give you access to many extra features like recording tools and information trackers. Premium accounts are also linked to the ‘pay per lead’ concept mentioned earlier. Basically, if a potential customer clicks on your business listing then that will allow them to view all the information that you have uploaded. If they want to find out more – i.e. they are a genuine prospect – they can ‘reveal’ information on your profile or send you an enquiry or a purchase order. This is what you actually pay for with a Premium account.

For example, you are charged 19 cents if your profile appears after a prospective customer searched for an item and they clicked to ‘reveal’ your profile it. If someone then clicks to view your business contact details (a sure sign that they are a good prospect), you are charged 49 cents. If they send you a fax or email a request (the customer types in this information and the Smartbuild site sends it automatically to your email address or fax number) you are charged 99 cents. Of course, you only pay for the most valuable lead, so if someone sends a fax after clicking through your contact details you are still only charged 99 cents.

You can choose exactly how much you spend per month because you can cap the maximum amount. The system is also backed up by sophisticated security that prevents fraud and tampering of business profiles. As mentioned, full reporting is available for Premium accounts. This means you can find out how many people are looking at your profile and what they are looking for too. has more than 160,000 free business listings as well as hundreds of premium business listings, with more signing up every day. are inviting Hardware Journal readers to trial the site for free. Sign up to, mention you heard about it in the Hardware Journal in the ‘Where did you hear about us’ drop down menu, and receive a Premium account with $20 worth of free credit. This is an obligation free account and you will not be charged unless you decide to continue.