Eight out of ten Australians shop via the internet. By 2020, one out of every ten items purchased will be bought online (Statista). It’s predicted that by 2021, the ecommerce market penetration rate will reach 85.2%, and the number of people buying online will be 22 million.
This is great news for OzBargain, Australia’s most popular bargain site that has a community of online shoppers committed to sharing the best bargains with one another.
Founded in 2006 by Scott Yang as a “part-time project,” OzBargain has become a full-time investment as it continues to grow and thrive.
Scott describes the website as “a community for like-minded bargain hunters.”
He explains, “You can discover the latest promotion and what's on sale. You can share the bargains you have just found. You can also discuss with other community members the pros and cons of different sales, brands, and products.”
In the competitive market of the digital space, Scott shares that one of the most important skills to have is resilience.
“I do not look for the quick win and often decided against prioritising revenue,” he says. “Over the years I have seen too many cases where a business just looks for a quick profit and neglects its customers and community.”
However, in terms of looking at more practical skills for building a successful online business, Scott affirms the value of acquiring coding and programming ability.
He states, “From getting the prototype out to developing new features—a developer can quickly take a business idea, implement it, and test it out. Quick turnaround means faster to market and faster feedback.”
Scott shares that his focus is on the business of building OzBargain. This includes a myriad of responsibilities, including developing and hosting the actual website as well as managing a group of moderators.
He states, “Our main revenue is generated from serving display ads to our members and guests as well as a bit of affiliate commission.”
When it comes to marketing OzBargain, Scott takes a more organic approach.
“We are not currently marketing our business in the traditional sense. I believe that by developing a useful product, people will come. Most people have heard about us by either word of mouth, from friends, links from other online forums, or from search engines,” he states.
Today, his online company is currently employing four full-time staff dedicated to developing the website to make the community better, enhance the user experience, and successfully facilitate the steady rise in traffic.
When it comes to finding the right staff, Scott shares that most of them have been recruited from the OzBargain community and are “individuals who have been helpful, community-minded, level-headed ... and have the mentality to do the right things.”
With regard to nurturing a specific work environment, he states, “We have a fun and relaxed culture; everyone works remotely with flexible hours. There is no timesheet to fill, and I trust my team (and we trust each other) to get things done.”
Scott and his staff strive to create a positive experience for their OzBargain visitors. This includes moderating the community discussions and content.
“There are always trolls and spammers and other nuisance in many online communities. The moderators need to apply the right amount of moderation to keep the community fun yet civil,” he shares.
In addition, he and his team ensure that all new deals are properly formatted, expired deals are flagged, and all other content is optimised for the user experience.
As an entrepreneur, Scott enjoys the freedom to create a product that he wants to use.
“I get to decide on the design and implementation. It's just fortunate that the product is also adored by its community of users. I also love the flexibility of working for myself. However, it can be a curse as well as a blessing sometimes,” he states.
He shares how much he loves being part of a growing community and says, “It has its own inside jokes, memes, conspiracies, etc.”
He continues, “I love seeing people using it ‘in the wild.’ I’ve caught people browsing OzBargain on the bus and downloading coupons at the fast food shop, and I’ve heard the stories of people forming their little private OzBargain groups at their workplace.”
It’s safe to say that community is at the heart of Scott’s vision and has been crucial to his overall success.