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Australian-only marketplace launching in August

Following an initial launch on Instagram in mid-March as a means to showcase Australian brands, and a subsequent capital raise in May, Buy Aussie Now, Australia’s first marketplace for locally made goods made by local businesses, is launching in August. 

More than two thousand small to medium businesses have already registered to sell through the website, which will offer goods across eight categories – home and living, toys and education, apparel and footwear, jewellery and accessories, food and beverages, pets, skincare and beauty, and gifts. 

Founder and managing director Mitch Catlin told Internet Retailing the idea launched when he realised there was nothing bringing the customer sentiment toward supporting Australian made and the reality of online shopping together. 

“To be honest, it’s moved a lot quicker than I expected,” Catlin said.

“I started Instagram to do some goodwill and support people, and get the discussion happening. But after the first couple of weeks I couldn’t keep up with the surge in direct messages, and I thought ‘people are bleeding, they need help’.

“I went to Chris White (CEO) and told him I needed help, and that’s when the more in-depth work started. We realised there was an opportunity and our investors felt the same way.”

After getting about a thousand businesses onboarded Buy Aussie Now did a vendor survey to find out what these businesses wanted from the marketplace, and what they would be willing to pay.

The reasons ranged from brand awareness, to wanting to showcase the fact that a vendors business was, in fact, Australian – something that can be lost in a sea of product listings on other websites – and Buy Aussie Now settled on a selling fee of 8 per cent, though listing on the website will be entirely free.

“Right now, Australian-made is what the customer wants. There’s been a build up of emotion of Australians wanting to support Australia. It’s always been there, but the problem is there wasn’t anywhere for them to go.

“I think the timing was right. There’s no doubt Australia has irreversibly changed in the way we shop and spend money… [Covid-19] has been a massive reality check.”

Additional reporting by Jo-Anne Hui-Miller.

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