What's the problem with your mobile phone? What kind of model do you have? Where do you live? If you can answer these questions, CompareRepair.se will find you a suitable repair shop when your mobile phone isn't working. The Chalmers students Michel Wester, Alexander Mafi and Erik Thorsen have seen to this since last fall when they started up the website, which now gets 200-300 visitors a day.
Last spring, when Michel had a problem with his mobile phone, he started looking for repair shops on the Internet, and wrote down all the ones he found on a list. When one of his friends later had a problem with his mobile phone, Michel sent over the list so his friend didn't have to do all the work. He then realised that since the information wasn't collected anywhere on the Internet, perhaps more people had a need for that list.
"That was when the idea for CompareRepair.se, a site that compares mobile phone repair services, was born. I told Alexander Mafi, who's in my class, about the idea, and he was immediately on board with testing the concept. When we'd spent a few weeks sketching out the business plan, we realised that it actually was a really good idea, and we decided to devote the whole summer to the project. Alexander built the website and I collected information. As time went on, we got Erik Thorsen on board, and his IT knowledge contributed to a successful launch of the site at the beginning of the fall," Michel tells.
Article in Aftonbladet resulted in major traffic
Since CompareRepair.se was launched, it's been full steam ahead. The service is aimed at a broad target audience, and the students have worked a lot to make it user-friendly for people of all ages. Seeing as it is a comparison site, it's naturally directed at the price-conscious user.
"We also believe the service helps people who don't have the time and energy to collect all the information themselves, but just "want it to work". Our typical user lives in a big city, has a lot to do every day and doesn't have the time to look for the information," Michel explains.
Articles about CompareRepair.se have been figuring in several newspapers, including Aftonbladet. That day, traffic climbed to 15,000 visitors and the websites of three repair shops crashed.
"They might not have been entirely pleased. But suddenly over 50 repair shops that weren't on the list got in touch with us and wanted to be seen on CompareRepair.se," Michael says.
The users' reactions to the service have been very positive, and they often send in comments and tips.
"A number of them say "It's about time somebody did something" and "Why didn't I think of this myself?" Those are great things to hear and it feels like putting in all that time was worth it. We also get proposals for new ideas and things we can do better, which are appreciated because it helps us improve," Michel states.
Want the site to bring income
The students don't earn a whole lot of money off the website, but they're currently reworking their business model in the hopes of doing so in the future. The idea is to offer profiling on the website to the repair shops.
"We're an independent comparison site, so all the companies are listed for free, but they'll be able to pay to get greater exposure. For example the shop's logotype can show up in the results field, they can get a link that leads directly to their own website, or they can get access to valuable statistics from our users. Right now there's no advertising on the site and we want it to stay that way," Michel says.
Promotion with little funding
The biggest source of traffic for CompareRepair.se is Google. The students put a lot of effort regarding promotion there, and have worked with search engine optimisation to climb the rankings among the search results.
"It's extremely important that CompareRepair.se comes up first when you search on Google, that's what we are aiming for. Besides that we've tried promoting the site through social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Since we're still students, we don't have a big budget for promotion, so it's a question of creating as much as possible with little funding," Michel smiles.
He thinks that the education at Chalmers has moulded the three of them, and that it has contributed to them setting CompareRepair.se in motion.
"You develop so much with gifted people around, you simply just catch skills from others! We've been very involved in school, all of us, and we've learned a lot about taking responsibility and taking hold of things. There are many great courses in the bachelor's portion of the Industrial Economy course program that have given us the right tools to be able to – and especially to dare to – start up and operate the site," Michel says.
All three study at the Department of Technology Management and Economics, where Michel and Alexander are currently finishing up their bachelor's projects while Erik is rounding off his Master's Thesis in the Management and Economics of Innovation master's programme.
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