CrowdMall is the place where ideas find their audiences and markets before they have been realised. The most compelling ideas will have some or all of the following features:
- Originality: Innovative solutions that have the power to capture people’s imaginations
- Impact: Disruptive ideas that have the potential to break through into the market and the public sphere, via the press and media
- Feasibility: Practical ideas that can be implemented with reasonable allocation of time, money and other resources
- Public interest: Compelling ideas that engage people and meet viable market needs
Sellers are people with ideas they want to validate in the marketplace to test whether or not there is a viable niche for their product or idea. Sellers explain their ideas in sufficient detail to attract interest from prospective buyers without explaining how to replicate their ideas. A good example to follow is the promotional blurb on the back cover of a novel, which is designed to appeal to readers with particular tastes and interests, engaging their attention with a tagline, a compelling description (often with hanging, open questions), review quotes from trusted sources, relevant details about the author, all in the context of a beautifully designed book jacket, using artwork, photographs and typography.
Sellers can raise complementary funds to support the development of their ideas by offering adjacent and relevant rewards in associated crowdfunding campaigns and by leveraging firm pre-sales to negotiate favourable terms and conditions with suppliers. This seed funding gives sellers sufficient time, space and financial incentives to realise their ideas with optimal speed and efficiency.
Buyers represent the portion for the core and adjacent audiences for a seller’s idea who take the decision to purchase a pre-launch order, which opens up the opportunity to engage with the seller’s journey towards fulfilling their order in community with other people who have ordered the nascent product or service (e.g. via regular news updates, newsletters, social media posts, competitions, invitations to events).
From idea to fulfilment
Sellers pitch their ideas at CrowdMall and provide opportunities for buyers to ‘purchase ideas’ by placing orders for pre-launch products or services. Each seller works out how many orders they need to take before their idea becomes viable commercially. Once this threshold figure is reached (if not before), the seller begins to realise their idea.
All funds raised from pre-launch orders placed by buyers are kept in an escrow account. Sales are only completed when a product or service is shipped; whenever a seller decides that an idea is not viable, buyers of pre-launch orders for the idea are then sent full refunds for their purchases.
In the time period between launching an idea and fulfilling pre-launch orders, sellers create communities comprising their buyers with whom they share news and activities about the journey they are taking to realise their products or services. This community forms the basis for an ongoing fan base and a mailing list of engaged customers. CrowdMall believes that the process of bringing to fruition a project or service can be just as engaging and rewarding for buyers as owning the finished articles.
Sellers and buyers are groupings that can overlap: any seller can place pre-launch orders for other sellers’ ideas for products or services; and any buyer with an idea for a product or service they want to validate can create a seller’s page.
All profits made by CrowdMall go to supporting its parent company, CrowdPatch CIC, a free-to-use crowdfunding platform for projects set up by social entrepreneurs, local communities, NGOs and charities.
Types of idea
CrowdMall serves all types of sellers who have ideas that need to be validated for market fit. Sellers can include:
- Pre-launch startups: Entrepreneurs can test their ideas in the market before committing time and money to solutions that do not meet a viable need
- New products and services: Established businesses can test ideas for new products and services with real buyers before committing time and resources to launching expensive scaled-up marketing and sales campaigns
- Legacy products and services: Established businesses can test ideas for old products and services that may now be viable due to changing customer tastes or market conditions before committing time and resources to launching expensive scaled-up marketing and sales campaigns