Great news! We have heard back from our friends in China whom we have enlisted to help us survey the local businesses on their willingness to be part of our app. As a recap, the following were some of the leading questions:
1) Are you willing to sponsor some of the bigger events held in colleges in order to improve brand awareness?
2) Do you want meaningful data analysis from events that you sponsored?
3) (To businesses that do not have currently employ any form of web advertisement, i.e. almost all of them) What do you currently know about web advertisement?
4) Are you interested to use the web as a means of promoting your business if someone does it for you for free? If it is not free, how much will you be willing to pay?
5) If our app has more than 60% of the student population registered, would you be interested to promote your business through our app?
Summary of results
The profile of the businesses interviewed are as follows: Bookstores, Electronic shops, Beauty parlors, Bike shops, Hair Salons, Printing Shops, Cake shops, Jewellery shops, Spectacles Shops, Restaurants, Gyms etc. Part of the raw data of the interviews can be found here: 市场调查
The following is a quick summary of what we have found:
Big insights from these interviews:
1. There is a distinct dichotomy of thought towards our app, between the really small businesses and the small-medium enterprises. The really small businesses are not interested in being part of our app, or believe in web advertisement, and are happy with the status quo. However, the small-medium enterprises who are interested in scaling take to our approach very favorably, and have expressed interest to be part of our app.
2. Local businesses (SME) want to sponsor college events to gain brand awareness.
3. Local businesses (SME) want to get data to find out more about these events they are sponsoring.
4. Local businesses (SME) want us to at least have 70-80% coverage of the school population before they find it attractive to be part of our app.
5. Local businesses (SME) are willing to pay to be part of our app for web advertisement, but most of them are unable to give a fixed sum. Most said that they want to see the effect on demand creation before committing a sum, as this is a new form of advertisement that they are not familiar with. However, we managed to get 4 out of 19 businesses to say willingness to pay between (RMB 1000-2000, i.e. USD 160-320) for an annual subscription to be part of our app and enjoy the services we provide.
We learnt a lot from the survey results, mainly that local businesses around college campuses should not be grouped and seen as one distinct set of customers. They are in fact two different groups of them, and we need to learn how to identify the different sets in order to make our solution and marketing efforts more worthwhile. Overall, the survey results are largely in our favor, and we are really excited to continue working on further understanding more about how to best serve these local businesses and start getting them excited about our app.