With the new normal settling into the countries, e-commerce is more important than ever before for businesses.
E-commerce is the ability to sell goods and services online. With fewer people outside, brick and mortar stores have less foot traffic for their business.
Businesses who have not set up an e-commerce website now need to create a system to do so. Even if e-commerce is not feasible for the business, a website is a great way to raise awareness and market the business as more people turn to Google to find businesses.
This is where CtrlAltFix Tech comes in. They are a start-up that helps businesses start up their own website and e-commerce business.
Business Day spoke with Ishmael Moreno, CEO of CtrlAltFix Tech, about e-commerce and the services his businesses provide.
“We are a start-up targeted towards entrepreneurs who want to transform their business ideas. CtrlAltFix Tech offers web development. Some businesses don’t have their own. We’re trying to focus right now into helping businesses quickly move online,” he said.
Moreno, 25, wants businesses to get serious about investing in websites to grow their business.
“E-commerce allows businesses, especially those that actually sell products, to sell their products online.”
CtrlAltFix Tech uses WiPay as a payment gateway. A payment gateway is the way businesses can receive money online using credit cards. WiPay is a payment service provider.
WiPay, he said, is easier for TT businesses to use instead of PayPal. PayPal is a global online payment system founded in 1998. WiPay is Caribbean-based and connected through Republic Bank. Moreno said PayPal has higher transaction fees than WiPay.
CtrlAltFix Tech is currently working with the NGO Patient Advocate Mission (PAM) to develop an app called SafeSpace.
PAM is a support system for people living with HIV.
“I want to give back to the community. They support people who have HIV.”
The app would allow for people to anonymously share stories on topics such as HIV awareness, anti-bullying, mental health awareness, sexual abuse, love and relationships.
SafeSpace would have a feature that allows people to keep track of their CD4 levels and remind people to take their medicine.
That project is scheduled to finished in September.
CtrlAltFix Tech builds both websites and mobile applications (apps), but Moreno does not think that most businesses require an app.
Data from a 2018 Entrepreneur article said TechCruch estimated US consumers spend approximately five hours on a mobile device, 92 per cent of the time the user was on an app. The other eight per cent users were on a web browser.
However, even though people spend most of their times on apps, those apps are usually Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Twitter.
The Entrepreneur article also said statistics from Localytics show 23 per cent of apps are used once. Eighty per cent of these apps are not used three months after it was first launched.
Moreno does not advise businesses use apps unless their business requires a need for it. Apps like Food Drop or TT Ride Share that communicate with the user would need an application. Otherwise, a website would not be able to communicate with the user if the browser was closed.
“It depends on the functionality and the scope of the app. Using the WeEat or Food Drop app as an example, those apps would require push notifications, as opposed to if you close off the browser then you would not be notified.”
A mobile optimised website with e-commerce function would be sufficient if the business’ customers do not have a need for the app.
CtrlAltFix Tech’s name was derived from a technology term Control-Alt-Delete. Also known as Ctrl+Alt+Del, it is called the three-finger salute command on the keyboard for Windows operated personal computers.
Moreno and his team did not want to invoke a negative term with the word “Delete” so they appropriated the term to CtrlAltFix Tech to fix the tech needs of the business world. The team added in the word “Tech” so people would not be confused about the type of business they were running.
CtrlAltFix Tech was founded at the beginning of 2020 by Moreno who is a software developer, graphic designer, animator and user experience (UX) designer. A UX designer focuses on ensuring a website or application interface intuitive for the user.
The other two co-founders, Shanice Dick, 27, chief operating officer, and Kafra Morris, 28, chief information officer, are programmers.
The three met in the College of Science, Technology, and Applied Arts of TT (Costaatt) while studying internet technology and the three have been building websites together for four years.
Their website building fees start at $3,000 and can get larger depending on the complexity of the website and the product demand. However, Moreno and his team are always willing to work with companies to build a product that’s best for their budget.
“Even if it is out of your scope, you could always reach out to us and we could try to make accommodations to suit. Our main goal is to help businesses come to life. It is not just all about the money.”
To collaborate as a team, the CtrlAltFix Tech trio work remotely and communicate via phone calls, WhatsApp messages and text. There is little need to meet in person, and when a problem arises, they would share each other’s screens to troubleshoot.
However, as COO, Dick wishes there was some kind of ecosystem for other tech entrepreneurs can meet and share resources.
“It would be nice for larger companies to invest in the tech start-ups providing a space with equipment and stable internet to help start-ups get their work done,” Dick said.
Regarding a physical space, she does not want a tech lab per say, but an open area with the equipment like whiteboards.
“Sometimes we don’t really have the equipment that we need or a properly functioning laptop. Sometimes the network drops at home and you can’t really do anything because the network is down. We could go to a place where everything is ready and just to use, that would be great.”
However, she likes to have her own space where she does not have anyone to distract her.
She also wishes the tech community would have mixers – not expensive $500 ones – but some event where the tech entrepreneurs can meet in a laid back setting to lime, get to know each other and form supportive networks.
“We are trying to get our foot in the door. If we have a lot more mixers where we can meet people and network, I would be interested in that.”
As a budding start-up, she wishes her team had more resources and guidance in marketing. The group are unsure of whether to do social media marketing, flyers, traditional media or making their own website.
“If there was a course for marketing for start-ups, that would be helpful.”