Advanced Integrated Systems Limited, (AIS), a tech solution company formed by Douglas Hallsall some 30 years, is finalising plans for the soft launch of an e-commerce platform called Q-Mall next month.
The platform’s debut in October is expected to set the pitch for full roll out during the high shopping and festive season.
Hallsall has invested north of US$1 million in the venture for which he hopes to generate enough business from both seasoned and young entrepreneurs’ use of the platform to advertise and sell their products and services to break even over the next two years.
The first phase of the project will see Q-Mall providing its service across the local market with help from delivery company Tara Couriers and a local taxi service. As the business gains traction in Jamaica, Hallsall plans to extend Q-Mall’s offerings to the diaspora market.
“I decided to develop this application for both financial and emotional reasons. It promises to be profitable, and I’m seeing where I can solve some of the problems of small businesses. The little lady that sells jeans downtown could now have the reach of all of Jamaica,” Hallsall told the Financial Gleaner.
Q-Mall has also partnered with mobile money platform Quisk for customers without credit or debit cards to purchase from vendors on the platform.
“Over 75 per cent of retail transactions are still settled in cash, and less than 15 per cent of Jamaicans have credit cards – a major impediment to e-commerce. Quisk solves that issue,” Halsall said.
Halsall noted that the system has already received good response from vendors, but the company is still in talks with large companies, like supermarket chain Hi-Lo Food Stores, to sell their products through the platform. Upon roll-out, vendors in the service industry looking for shop space on the Q-Mall will be charged between 3.75 per cent to 4 per cent per transaction while vendors selling a product will also absorb the 3.75 per cent to 4 per cent transaction charge in addition to a “reasonable fee”, plus delivery charges per transaction, Hallsall said.
“That takes care of the tools for managing every aspect of digital commerce, including inventory, ordering processing, logistics and packaging, marketing and loyalty, plus it is far less than setting up a brick-and-mortar location,” he noted.
AIS is primarily a transaction-processing service provider in the health insurance and financial services industries. The company’s health technology services include hospital information systems, health insurance administration, case management, drug interaction, telemedicine, eprescriptions, clinical decision support, and patient profiling for which it claims market leadership.
Hallsall’s venture into an e-commerce platform, which he first disclosed to the Financial Gleaner more than a year ago, is a component of the diversification plan the businessman has for his company. His next mission is to enter the telemedicine market before looking to list the company on the Jamaica Stock Exchange in 2021.
“We are the company that has all the copyright for drug codes. We therefore, have online linkages for every doctor, pharmacy, and hospital so one of the things that we can offer soon is telemedicine, but we are awaiting the Pharmacy Council’s approval on electronic prescription before we go ahead with that,” he said.
As to the timing for AIS’ listing on the stock market, Halsall said his current ventures were high-risk investments and needed time to prove their viability.
“These are risks that are far above those that would have been taken by a conservative manager of a company listed on the stock exchange, but because it’s my money that I’m risking then I control that. I either win big or lose big, but the health informative systems and mobile money are two achievements that I need to get more robust before I go on the stock market,” he said.
Published: Sunday | September 22, 2019 | 12:33 AM Karena Bennett - Business Reporter