First collaborative website for shopping between individuals
During the health crisis, digital services are a precious form of assistance. To help make our days run more smoothly, OuiKAN, a start-up founded in 2017 in Aix-en-Provence, is offering free use of its online person-to-person errand platform. It was selected by the French government as one of six recommended solutions in its category to ease the home confinement experience. The service, which was developed in 2017 with support from Provence Promotion, is available everywhere in France.
Since locating to Aix-en-Provence where he chose to create his company and launch its service, Jean-Yves Maurel, the founder and CEO of OuiKAN, says he is delighted with the reception and talent he has found in the region. “We received tremendous support from all the key players in the economy, both institutions and private businesses.
It started with Provence Promotion, then continued with P.Factory, which helped us with development, and the chamber of commerce and BPI, the public investment bank,” he shared. “We found that the region had all the skills we needed, especially as regards product databases with Data Solutions and IT development.” He noted the friendliness of working relationships and the spirit of mutual assistance that characterize local businesses, and their willingness to support innovation and new projects.
In early March, Jean-Yves Maurel heard through the French Tech network about the call for civic action issued by the French Secretary of State for the Digital Sector, Cédric O, and decided to submit a pitch for his service. He did not imagine that it would be one of the six solutions selected in the “Home delivery” category, alongside the likes of Uber Eats and Frichti. But there is something unique about OuiKAN. It is not a delivery service and the orders placed do not involve drive-thru or retailer websites. This means consumers can access the full range of products on sale in brick and mortar stores.
OuiKAN’s business model: the sharing economy
It works through a collaborative platform. Like BlaBlaCar, the start-up connects two people for a service transaction. A consumer uses the OuiKAN platform to select products from the store of their choice, then assigns their order to a nearby service provider, picking from the 3,500 registered shoppers. They agree to a delivery time and rate each other, which helps build trust among the members of the community.
At a time when movements are limited, it is a welcome solution! The spike in activity since early March certainly proves it. Over that period, there have been 10 times more log-ins to the website, three times more shopping errands and heightened demand in greater Paris. The service is winning over seniors and persons with reduced mobility, as well as those who do not have the time or desire to do their own shopping. Several hundreds of shopping trips are carried out each week.
OuiKAN meets all the criteria for the call for civic action
During the epidemic, Jean-Yves Maurel and his business partner wanted to help others. Therefore, for the coming weeks, they are offering their service free of charge so the broadest audience can use it. The shoppers, meanwhile, still accrue all the benefits associated with customer loyalty cards, discount coupons and prizes offered by certain retail outlets. In a single trip, a shopper may fulfill orders for multiple customers.
OuiKAN was chosen for this particular aspect of its concept, in addition to the advantages of being free and covering all of France. The platform is a pioneer in this niche market and has been operating since 2017. The time is right to discover the service for yourself.
Read more on OuiKAN’s website (in french)