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Two Metre Toddler Still Growing

Salehoo Group, Level 2, 107 Cashel Street, Christchurch

Two Metre Toddler Still Growing


Christchurch, NZ, May 2008 - If the development of Christchurch based on-line product sourcing directory SaleHoo was measured in physical human terms, the three year old company would be a two metre high toddler. Simon Slade, founder, says the membership grew at a rate of over 200% in the year 2006 to 2007, making SaleHoo one of the fastest growing startups in New Zealand.

The rapid growth has taken place not in the backyard but in the cut-throat Amercian market. Currently has over 50,000 members, slightly more than the urban population of Gisborne.

Slade started the company out of necessity. A Trademe buyer and seller from day one Slade says "I grew tired of unreliable suppliers and began to create a list of suppliers that could provide top quality goods when I needed them." That list eventually became

After five months of development and with a product well on the way Slade and business parnter Mark Ling had a decision to make. When exactly should SaleHoo be launched? “It's possible to become too precious with the thing you've spent so much time and energy (and money) on.”

Being first to market was a nagging demand for SaleHoo. There is a staggering precedent for those products that are first to market. In marketing terms it's called the law of leadership and often leads to the brand name becoming the generic term.
Even though he was buoyed by the overwhelmingly positive comments from the handful of test users Slade admits the only way to really find out what the world thought of SaleHoo would be a full release. It's an advantage that online businesses have that most brick-and-mortar businesses don't.

On the web, if the product has a solid enough core then it can stand by itself, “Once we had 99% of the bugs fixed, getting it out to market was the most important thing for us. We knew that getting people to actually use the directory would be more efficient than the three of us brainstorming and testing over and over again. Also, we wanted to be earning money and developing at the same time, delaying the release would mean losing potential income.”

Three years later there are over 5000 suppliers and 1.5 million products listed on the site. Members pay a one off fee of $67 US dollars for access to the list of wholesalers, liquidators and dropshippers. They then contact the supplier to purchase goods that are usually sold on online auction sites like eBay and Trademe, although a smaller number use the suppliers to stock their bricks-and-mortar stores.

To keep up with growth SaleHoo has evolved from a directory to a fully fledged service. “We listened to our users and as a result the best ideas to expand SaleHoo came from our members.

One such feature was the review process, "We implemented a three tier process for new suppliers. First of all SaleHoo staff verify each supplier before they are registered. Then we use fifteen Powersellers from eBay, these are guys who make over $1000 a month in sales, to buy from the suppliers and publicly review them. And lastly, the users themselves are able to review suppliers."

"With over 800,000 people in the United States making a full time living selling on eBay there is plenty of room for the business to develop, growing with the users will be the biggest challenge.”


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