Solving a pet peeve about following instructions led this Australian woman to dominate a global market

Photo: iStock.

Karen Pouye hates having to set up a new digital recorder because she cannot stand having to read the instructions.

She’s not the only one – it’s a multi-billion dollar problem for the consumer electronics industry.

Manufacturers lose an estimated 6–20% of their profits annually on returned goods. Three-quarters of the time, they’re without defect, but just haven’t been installed or set up properly.

In an industry worth more than $285 billion annually, that means set-up issues are costing almost $43 billion in lost revenue every year.

“I believed that there must be a better way to do [instructions], especially in the 21st century. And as a digital producer, I knew that there was a way to do it with video,” Pouye told Business Insider.

So Pouye, a former film production teacher, launched Whizbang.TV for everything from digital recorders to flat-pack furniture.

Whizbang.TV is a video platform that allows consumers to scan a QR code on a physical product, which then launches an instructional video for smartphone, as well as connecting them with further customer support tools.

Without meaning to, Pouye also solved a huge problem for foreign language manufacturers exporting goods into English speaking countries.

“We provide overseas manufacturers with a communication bridge. With the power of video, people can actually see how [a product] is working,” she said.

“Particularly with products mass-produced in China – the distributors don’t have the necessary customer support, and some of the instructions are abysmal.”

The nbn™ Glocals Report touches on this issue, noting that word-for-word translation from English to Chinese (or in reverse) is a common issue for businesses trying to expand into Asia.

The report defines a “glocal” business as an Australian SME expanding globally while enjoying the luxury of staying local, and Australia’s high speed broadband network is hoping drive that growth through increased connectivity.

CT Johnson says in the Glocals report that 80% of information media and telecommunications businesses are looking to capitalise on the opportunity to expand “glocally”, followed by wholesale trade (76%) and manufacturing trade (65%).

“Although Australia has traded with China for centuries, the ‘Asian Century’, as many economists have referred to it, continues to present new and plentiful opportunities for Glocal SMEs,” Johnson writes.

“Just as Australian SMEs value China for its market potential and access through online selling platforms and the internet; China too appears to value Australian products and services.”

Servicing Chinese manufacturers was a happy coincidence for Pouye, who was inspired to run her small business from her home town of Wollongong on the NSW south coast in part because the local economy had been hit by the downturn in mining.

“The Wollongong economy was predominantly dependent on steel production, so employment has been a real issue here during the slowdown, and I was frustrated by the fact that most of the students that I was teaching would never find a job once they had finished,” she said.

“All of the money has been going over there and we’re losing our manufacturing, so I started a business locally and now my main customers are actually overseas manufacturers.”

The irony isn’t lost on Pouye, who is proud her business has become a critical part of her manufacturing clients’ distribution network, bringing dollars back on shore via video production.

“Manufacturers are realising the value of a video guide, and how much it saves them in customer support and product returns.”

Once considered a novelty, instructional videos are now expected by sales and customer support teams, and have grown at a similar rate to general video consumption globally.

A recent report by Cisco has marked IP video traffic to increase to 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021, up from 73% in 2016.

And according to the nbn™ Glocals report, this is one of the key reasons “89% of SMEs currently operating in overseas markets believe that having the right technology infrastructure in place is critical to their Glocal success, while 93 per cent believe connectivity is critical to keeping in touch with overseas markets.”

Pouye agrees, saying fast broadband via the nbn™ broadband access network has increased the potential of her business, as both her customers and audience are international.

“Greater connectivity has allowed us to achieve much more, but what has changed the most is not how far we’ve come so much as how much further we can go,” Pouye said.

“There is nothing local about the videos we produce. We live in a global society – there are no boundaries when it comes to commerce.”

According to recent research, increased connectivity and strong international demand for Aussie products has fuelled a new breed of local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) who are operating globally while remaining in their local office – going Glocal.

To help encourage burgeoning SME’s to go Glocal, the nbn™ has launched new initiatives to help businesses tap into global markets through a series of free webinars, and one-on-one mentoring with Chinese business expansion experts. For your opportunity to be a part of this mentorship, please visit glocals-competition.nbnco.com.au today.

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