Startup#6 Online Services provided in Retail format (Offline)

More and more products and services are now available online, the bottleneck is now the time we spend on the computer and mobile for everything between filing taxes to planning a vacation.  The solution is to be found in a shop near you.  Imagine making filling online forms, transacting, paying bills, printing etc. as easy as talking to a person.  Most services can be trusted to others with the exception of a few like one’s bank account.

1 Idea – Create a franchisee model where local shops can offer several services under one roof with high-speed uninterrupted access to the Internet, computers and payment machines.  The shop offers a broad range of services using the website of the service provider e.g. paying bills to enrolling courses for freshmen (university site).  They would also specialize in a set of services that has the highest demand in the local area – this could be ticketing or even checking day-care availability or houses on rent.   Great for people short of time or not comfortable doing it themselves online.

2 Revenue Model – Transaction fees for each service (within a website) that would otherwise be free if you did it yourself, in addition to any online transaction fees.

3 Challenges –

Trust is a big issue, esp. when passwords or personal details have to be shared.  A solution is that the customer keys in login and password himeself/herself and does not share this (similar to typing PIN at a Store).   The service provider can also be trained to say NO to such requests, that could make the business vulnerable to legal action, if the customer were to change his/her mind later after consulting someone.

The other issue is making credit card payments.  Just as above, the customer can key in secret infromation such as the credit card code.   These fields tend to be masked (just like passwords are hidden text), so this can be accomplished with no trouble.

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