Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Ali Tajsekandar, Founder & CEO of Wishpond

THE CHALLENGE

When Ali Tajsekandar started Wishpond in 2009, it was with the aim of creating an online retail aggregator for Canada and the United States. His hyper-local 'shopping' search engine gave users the convenience of being able to search for deals and products from businesses in their own neighbourhoods.

But Mr. Tajsekandar ran into a snag. He was unable to provide sufficient online traffic, as well as proper tracking and analytics to prove that consumers were actually shopping in local stores as a result of using Wishpond. Consequently, he struggled to get buy-in from retailers to include their products and services on his platform.

Story continues below advertisement

To save his startup, Mr. Tajsekander knew he had to make some radical changes.

THE BACKGROUND

Based in Vancouver, B.C., Wishpond was founded by web developer Ali Tajsekandar, just after he completed his MBA at the Sauder School of Business's Robert H. Lee Graduate School.

At a crossroads when his business started to flag, Mr. Tajsekandar took inspiration from his mother. He recalled her experience running a small business and the challenges she encountered with marketing material like flyers.

Mr. Tajsekandar saw the need to support and encourage entrepreneurs to market themselves more effectively in the digital space.

THE SOLUTION

In May 2011, after months of market research, Wishpond switched off the consumer-focused search engine it launched in 2009 and changed gears.

Story continues below advertisement

Instead of trying to bring businesses and customers together, he decided to get out of the middle and use the tools he had already developed for his site and hand them directly over to the businesses themselves.

In the place of the Wishpond search engine, Mr. Tajsekandar and his team created an online marketing portal for businesses of all sizes. Here, their clients can access a suite of custom designed digital marketing tools and extensive support to use them.

"Our goal was to help business owners increase their market reach and sales leads, by providing them with customized social media campaigns, ads, customer engagement and analytics, that are simple enough so that any person, no matter their skill level, can use them effectively."

Customer support was a crucial part of Wishpond's new direction. To handhold its customers through the new suite of marketing services, the company provided 24/7 support through live online chat, email and phone.

THE RESULT

In the two years since its major pivot from consumer to business platform, Wishpond has grown exponentially. In 2013, it added over 50,000 customers, while increasing revenue by more than 2,000 per cent during the first five months of the same year.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Tajsekandar credits the growth of his company primarily to his about-turn in direction. "We saw the need to change, researched market needs and, with a little inspiration from mom, acted upon it," he says.

Wishpond has built close relationships with its customers to discover what services they need to succeed and adjusts its offerings accordingly. These discoveries, says Mr. Tajsekandar, have propelled rapid product innovation in the company.

"The Wishpond team is over the moon to see such accelerated growth this year," he says. "Our efforts to keep improving our products, combined with industry recognition of the value of online marketing, keep us on target for significant expansion."

From a small team of three, the company has grown to 35 people, with international teams in major markets throughout Europe, Latin America and Asia. To date, Wishpond has been used by over 70,000 businesses globally, generating millions of new leads and customers for businesses.

Paul Cubbon is a marketing instructor at the UBC Sauder School of Business. This is the latest in a regular series of case studies by a rotating group of business professors from across the country. They appear every Friday on the Small Business website.

Follow us @GlobeSmallBiz and on Pinterest
Join our Small Business LinkedIn group
Add us to your circles
Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies