With borders closed and restricted local movement during lockdowns, running a small business in Australia has been extremely challenging over the past year, particularly for businesses who traditionally require face-to-face interaction with customers, including retail stores and restaurants.

Further, when businesses want to be inspired by new products and innovations, there is a lack of resources as trade shows have been cancelled and sales calls are limited.

In response, Australian-owned and focused B2B wholesale marketplace, TradeSquare, has launched to exclusively serve local businesses – both buyers and sellers. Since launch late last year, the site has already attracted more than 2,500 registered buyers and over 400 wholesalers offering in excess of 100,000 products. 

TradeSquare enables businesses to buy local in the wake of global supply chain disruptions, for more reliable delivery times and local points of contact, while supporting Australian businesses and employers.

Smaller companies have traditionally lacked access to wholesale suppliers due to insufficient order volumes and turnover to warrant the vendor setting up accounts and conducting credit checks, so TradeSquare has solved that problem.

“With every buyer that signs on to our platform we perform that process once, then that company –assuming they are approved – can start trading immediately with not just one wholesaler, but 400 – and counting,” TradeSquare chief marketing officer, Roey Balbus said.

“We take care of the physical transaction process. Not only have we removed the risk to suppliers, we are providing both the buyer and seller protection, on an easy-to-use platform. And buyers can take advantage of financial solutions, such as Buy Now, Pay Later for business with Zip.”

Thinking and acting local

TradeSquare is about more than a reliable, wholesale trading platform – it’s an example of a new Australian business trend to commit to sourcing from fellow local businesses, helping adapt to and survive an unpredictable period.

There are 2.2 million small businesses in Australia (those with up to 19 employees), which contribute more than one-third (34.2%) of Australia’s annual $1.89 trillion GDP.

Small Business Australia, which recently launched the Buy Local initiative, is a passionate champion of the cause.

“Buying Local is about getting out and supporting the hearts and souls of your local community, the small business owners,” Small Business Australia director, Bill Lang said.

“We always hear about small businesses being the economic engine room of the economy, but just as important is the fact that these small business owners are the hearts and souls of local communities because they’re the ones that provide the prizes for the school fundraiser, the trivia night or sponsor the local cricket club.”

Among those businesses is Darren Foreman, Director of Mini POS, an Australian award-winning mobile scanning systems and software company,

“Our company offers mobile barcode scanning solutions for stocktaking, order processing, warehouse logistics and deliveries with 35 years of experience and for us TradeSquare offers a great opportunity to reach out to Australian businesses at a time when we need to support locally produced goods and services.”

Turning online to source supplies seems logical, but until the new marketplace launched there were few dedicated local wholesale-only options to work with, and none with the breadth of products or specialisation as the wholesalers already signed up to TradeSquare.

Being Australian owned and managed and only shipping to Australian businesses, not-for-profit organisations or government agencies, makes TradeSquare unique. While anyone can access the site, only registered buyers can see information such as pricing and delivery options or physically order goods. Buyers pay no premium or registration fee to shop on TradeSquare.

A turn-key solution

For sellers, TradeSquare has opened up opportunity to boost income by supplying buyers that were previously uneconomic to service.

“The turn-key solution we offer enables them to digitise their business and access new markets without having to invest in sales reps, trade shows, marketing, customer service, accounting and technology,” Balbus said.

“All products can be displayed online, all customers they sell to through the platform are vetted and approved by TradeSquare – so the suppliers just need to focus on fulfilment and delivering products.”

TradeSquare is currently working to integrate its platform with third-party software systems. A technical agreement with New Zealand software company Vend will soon allow seamless integration of Vend’s inventory management tools and cloud-based point-of-sale software with the marketplace platform.