Australian-made and owned products have a new online marketplace to call home, with the Buy Aussie Now marketplace and tick of approval officially launching today.
The virtual marketplace had its official send-off by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who promoted the website and Australian-made stamp of approval at an event at the Ministry of Chocolate factory in Melbourne’s east on Friday morning.
Following a post-Christmas soft launch, Buy Aussie Now boasts 15,000 products from 1,000 businesses and says it has another 5,500 registered to join.
Founder Mitch Catlin says the marketplace’s accompanying tick of approval will help Australian shoppers identify businesses that are 100% Australian owned, and products that are 100% Australian made.
“We want to try and do as much as we can for the businesses, because most of them are small-to-medium sized, and they don’t have a lot of spare cents to be spending on marketing,” Catlin tells SmartCompany.
“It gives them that added ability to showcase their Australian credentials,” he says.
Businesses approved as a seller on the marketplace will receive the tick of approval to use on their websites, marketing content, social media, and their products at no extra cost.
However, to become listed on the platform, sellers must agree to pay transaction fees equal to 8% of sales, and payment processing fees of 3%. They then manage their own shipping to customers.
The idea was born early last year after founder and marketer Mitch Catlin lost six months of work due to the pandemic in March. To keep himself occupied, Catlin set up an Instagram page to showcase Australian brands, which he says took of instantly.
“I couldn’t keep up with the messages from Aussie businesses wanting to be posted on our page,” he says.
The page tapped into the swell of support Australians were showing at the time for local businesses in the wake of the drought, bushfires and pandemic.
Within two months, Catlin had raised $250,000 to develop an online marketplace before raising a further $600,000. Buy Aussie Now is currently in the market for its next capital raise.
The marketplace boasts brands including Bondi Sands, Ugg footwear, Ministry of Chocolate and MyAura deodorants across nine categories, from clothing and home and lifestyle, to beauty and health and food and beverages.
Catlin is confident the platform will meet a real demand for an online ‘one-stop-shop’ for Australian-made products.
“In effect, we’ve created an Aussie-made Amazon,” he says.
Research by Roy Morgan shows Australians are more likely to buy goods if they are made in Australia, with 90% of Australians saying they prefer Australian made products — up from 88% four years ago.
What’s more, online marketplaces such as Amazon are outperforming legacy retail competitors in the e-commerce market. In 2020, online marketplaces recorded growth of 81% year-over-year, surpassing the overall 40% growth rate of the market, according to the latest data from Mirakl.
“Buying Australian made is movement that everyone wants to get behind right now. Everyone wants to support Australian brands but no one knows where to go,” Catlin says.
“So, for the first time, there is this one-stop-shop for Aussie-owned and made products.”