Community Engine, the hip social commerce website which set up in Byron for their pilot program earlier this year, is now making its presence felt across the country. More and more individuals and groups are signing up to the free tool to talk and trade.
Renee McEvoy and her fiance Byron Howarth operate Shortys, a funky tapas wine bar in Lennox Head. “Community Engine is a great network for small business around the local area” outlined Renee. “It’s really awesome”.
Community Engine offers a web presence, email, social media and networking at no cost. For those wishing to utilise their world class e-commerce facility, a fee of 6% is charged upon sale for businesses and 2.85% for not-for-profit groups. Two of the most popular functions are the database and membership management tools. “We are about providing easy presence on the internet” said Community Engine’s Dean Power. “There is now no excuse to be offline, it’s all rolled in and it’s free”.
In a maverick marketing move, instead of advertising their web platform Community Engine allocated $125,000 to give to community and not-for-profit groups across the country. Each time a person clicks to follow a group that is signed up to the Community Engine giveaway, that group receives $1. “Any organisation can sign up and raise money” said Dean Power. “Businesses nominate a not-for-profit group to support and of course the not-for-profits keep the money they raise”. Nearly $27,000 has been given away so far.
The group are now focusing on how their tools can be used by small business to keep the $16 billion spent annually on online sales in the local economy rather than going overseas. According to research by Frost and Sullivan 75% of Australians who shop online make purchases from offshore sites, with 45% of online expenditure going overseas.