Weird and Wonderful B2C Online Businesses

By Campbell Phillips | 24 Sep 2014

It seems there’s a new online business model appearing every day. With that in mind, here’s our overview of some of the more novel Australian e-commerce businesses.

Is there anything you can buy, rent or accomplish online these days? It certainly seems harder to find something that doesn’t exist online – and that’s a worrying sign for entrepreneurs surveying the e-commerce landscape.

Ascertaining gaps in the market is probably best left to the entrepreneurs themselves. Instead, here are our top five novel Australian online businesses to check out.

1. Catch of The Day

Ok, so this may not sound that novel to many readers, but the fact remains that this company has continued to innovate online since it first began. Not only has Catch’s founders, Gabby and Hezi Leibovich continued to propagate subsidiary brands (Scoopon, Mumgo, EatNow, for example), they have also recently changed Catch of The Day’s standard model to include a more ‘traditional’ online retail flavour, replete with categories and a search field.

Catch of The Day

2. 99designs

As the swing towards online outsource moves on apace, a few businesses have sprung up to service the growing market. Like elance or Freelancer, 99designs acts as an online marketplace, but with more of a bent towards design-specific activities. Founded in Melbourne, the company now has a global following of both clients and designers.


3. Helpling

A recent addition, Helpling is a business accelerated by the renowned Rocket Internet and launched here in Australia in recent months. The model also follows the online marketplace standard, and ensures greater accuracy in matching consumers with cleaning services via the use of proprietary algorithms.

3. Wedding Service Matcher

Another marketplace, the business was launched by a newlywed couple who realised there must be a better way of discovering and collating all the services required to put a successful wedding together. Still in the early stages since launch, the company is currently ramping up its database of those about to wed and the service providers that will compete for the business. Well worth a look.

Wedding Service Matcher

4. Bluethumb

Interested in new and inspiring artwork, but unsure where to find it? While marketplaces such as Etsy have already pioneered the artisan and handmade category, Bluethumb represents a homegrown alternative with a dedication to supporting local artists. By developing apps and websites with mobile interactivity in mind, this e-commerce business is maximising the interest its product category naturally incurs.

5. Tablo

eBook marketplaces and vanity publishing unite in this interesting young business. Tablo was founded by Melbourne-based Ash Davies, who sought to overcome the pain associated with having a book published into Apple and Amazon’s bookstores simultaneously. The platform he’s created also provides a great way for budding authors to receive feedback as they create their masterpiece chapter-by-chapter.

Tablo screenshot

What do you think about our shortlist of novel Australian e-commerce businesses? Have we forgotten a must-have? Let us know about it in the comments below.

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