By Richard Stuart-Turner, Tuesday 03 January 2017
Online marketplace Quotable has made a number of changes to its business model, removing subscription costs and placing a greater focus on print.
The platform was launched earlier this year with the aim of enabling printers of all sizes to compete on a level online playing field not dictated by marketing spend or SEO.
The three-staff London-based company has refocused in the last few months and its primary focus is now on print and production.
“60 to 70% of our requests were for print but a lot of people were putting jobs up without enough information,” said chief executive and co-founder Matthew Anstiss.
“Now, for every print and packaging request we’ve got a specific custom-made set of questions such as paper thickness, how a booklet is bound, where it’s folded and so on and that gathers enough information for the suppliers to quote on.”
Quotable previously worked on a subscription model but the subscription costs have since been removed and the platform is now a free network for both buyers and suppliers.
Anstiss said that, as the firm is not currently taking any cuts, it is relying on investment money it has already secured to run the business. Optional paid features will be introduced in the near future.
“We will be introducing enhanced features for buyers and suppliers, things like a bigger gallery for your profile, larger data transfers or the ability to subscribe to more services. We currently cap the [free] job alerts at seven,” said Anstiss.
“We started off as a paid pilot to test if people wanted this as a service. They did and we were growing really quickly so we took the data that we got from that and it gave us an idea of what people were willing to pay. It also told us how many services the average business wanted to subscribe to, which worked out at 6.8. That’s why we capped it at seven, as this covers most businesses.”
He added: “A lot of people ask us what the catch is. We say to them that eventually we will monetise things, as we’re still a business, but at the moment we’re concentrating on growth and are genuinely doing this for free and people are joining up because of that.
“And in future, when there are optional paid features, there’s no reason you have to take them. We just hope that those features will enhance your experience with the platform and help your business to grow.”
Once buyers have posted jobs on the site the service sends notifications to suppliers that have subscribed to the relevant product type. The supplier then quotes directly to the customer for the job. Once the job has been placed the customer and their chosen supplier then liaise directly.
Businesses can also now add other firms to their contact lists to save each others details for future work.
Nearly 1,300 companies have signed up to the platform since its launch, the vast majority of which are printers, and 534 jobs have so far been placed on the service.
“Machine learning is the big thing for us now. We’re learning more about what people buy on so we’re trying to grow businesses by what they’re good at,” said Anstiss.
“If a company is always winning jobs on good quality then we’ll match them to buyers who want good quality, likewise for timings, customer service, response rates and things like that.”
The platform is also set to implement custom filters so suppliers can set variables such as distances, minimum quantities, print sizes and lead times.
Additionally, Anstiss said the firm is currently in talks with some global investors. “We’re heading over to the US in early 2017 to potentially look at some businesses over there and get an idea of how they do things.
“We’re looking at the bigger picture and we think there could be scope to take Quotable worldwide. It’s not something we’re 100% sure on as yet but it’s something we’re looking into because it’s a huge market over there. We see Quotable being a global trade platform for business, replacing the need for SEO and marketing.”
The company’s website has recently moved to www.getquotable.com.