How Mobility Quotient created an easy and convenient way for shoppers to browse millions of local products all in one place.
SokoLocal is an in-house project by Mobility Quotient (MQLabs). SokoLocal is a product search engine that allows consumers to find, browse and shop their favourite products from local businesses in their city. We began this project in efforts to support local businesses by showcasing local products and helping them gain visibility during a time we felt our communities needed it the most.
On March 1st 2021, we launched SokoLocal–a new way to easily shop local businesses. The website and mobile app make it easy for users to find, shop and support local businesses and their products all in one place. In the case study below, we will cover our challenges, discoveries and achievements during the creation of SokoLocal.
Our goal was to support local businesses. Supporting local businesses is something we hear about frequently, but why aren't more people doing it? We figured that in order to get shoppers to buy local, it has to be easy to find local products.
To overcome this challenge, we created SokoLocal to be a locally-focused search engine that allows shoppers to shop products by geography. Much like a search engine provides results across various websites, SokoLocal's results are a variety of products from thousands of local businesses in each city.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many small businesses have been scrambling for ways to keep their businesses afloat. There was a significant rise in the use of food delivery services, curbside pickup and online shopping. Many businesses had to rely on technology and their digital presence to make sales. However, many small businesses don't have developers, SEO specialists, a marketing team or surplus dollars to spend on online advertising, so their business gets lost.
We took the global competition out of online shopping with SokoLocal. The product search engine gives priority to products from locally-owned businesses in their geography, so users are always met with results from local businesses first. Business owners no longer have to worry about the "big guys" stealing their shine. Products can also be promoted and given preferential positioning within the results in their geography.
Additionally, we offered SEO support to local businesses to help them improve their ranking on SokoLocal and across all search engines.
It's no news to us that local marketplaces have taken the internet by storm over the past few months. Many of which were faced with the same chicken and egg scenario. In order to attract users, there must be businesses and products. In order to attract businesses and products, there must be users. Our knowledge of SEO and traffic building allowed us the tools to attract users, but why are businesses so reluctant to list their products on local marketplaces? After conversations with business owners in communities, we learned that the process of uploading each product to a new platform is taxing.
Additionally, they now have another platform to manage on top of their websites and social media pages. So, we took the work out of it.
We wanted to make getting listed on SokoLocal simple for businesses. What separates SokoLocal from other online marketplaces? Well firstly, we removed the element of manual uploading products. Instead, to be listed on SokoLocal, all a business needs to do is submit the link to their already-existing online store and leave the rest to us.
How? We use indexing technology to catalogue products from eligible websites, so they are streamed effortlessly into our search engine. Additionally, we refresh the content often, so as products are sold, edited, added, and removed, these changes will reflect within the SokoLocal search engine.
Three months after the launch, SokoLocal reached over 1 million products with over 790 businesses listed on the platform. In the 8 weeks following, the platform reached 2 million products with over 1,200 businesses listed on the platform.
Additionally, we've helped numerous small businesses improve their SEO and gain visibility within their cities and communities. It's no small feat, and it is from experiments like this on our own projects that we can help improve our client efforts as well.
We can help. Contact us and let's discuss your website goals and challenges