GOLOCAL

At a time when Whanganui businesses are feeling the economic impact of Covid-19, a new online platform aims to help get them back on their feet.

YetiTech, created by Bradley Kirkland and Heath King, is a multi-vendor e-commerce store expected to launch this week.

Its main aim, "helping Whanganui businesses", Kirkland said.

He had previously created an online platform called UB Sales, but when the pandemic hit, he decided to rebrand and remarket.

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Kirkland has worked closely with Russell Bell and Yvonne Wallis, of Balance, to help structure it, as well as meeting with economic development agency Whanganui & Partners to discuss how it will benefit local businesses.

"It's more of a community incentive than anything, that was the whole focus to get it out there."

The platform works as a service where businesses can sign up and put their products on the site to then be sold.

Yetitech charges businesses a monthly subscription fee to use the site, which Kirkland said they are still revising to make as cost-effective as possible.

But unlike some other online trading sites, Kirkland said everything for sale is new and it gives local businesses that would not typically have a website another channel to sell their products. Businesses that have a website can also use it.

"What we're doing is just a peer-to-peer focus on the locals that sign up and it gives them an alternative channel to have the chance to get online if they can't already because getting online can be quite the battle."

Kirkland said even if businesses get online, they can struggle to drive customers to the site.

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"Whereas if we're already out there, people shopping local might have already heard of one shop and then they can find another shop that was doing something they're looking for without having to hunt through."

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Local businesses are able to sign up and pay a monthly subscription to sell their products through YetiTech. Photo / Bevan Conley
Local businesses are able to sign up and pay a monthly subscription to sell their products through YetiTech. Photo / Bevan Conley

Kirkland said there are still a lot of features to come on the website, including a chat system between the customer and businesses.

This is so people can contact the businesses directly to inquire about a product, similar to a Facebook Messenger style chat, he said.

"It creates an open form of dialogue, creating a peer-to-peer trading platform."

Currently, the platform is being marketed only to Whanganui businesses.

"Our keen focus right now is on supporting Whanganui because that's where we're from and then we'll expand beyond there once things kick off."

In future, the name of the platform may be changed and Kirkland said he would like to work closely with Whanganui & Partners and Mainstreet Whanganui to come up with something "that really unites our city".

Anyone who wants to join the platform can email brad@yetitech.nz or call 021 262 5408.