KUALA LUMPUR: Motorbike advertisement-listing platform iMotorbike wants to focus on acquiring users (buyers) this year to boost demand on its website as a one-stop solutions provider for avid motorcyclists.

Founder and CEO Gil Carmo said the early days of the website, first launched in 2017, were focused on building the product and its supply (sellers). As a classifieds portal, most of the registered users on iMotorbike are sellers as well.

“This year is about focusing on the demand and getting the users (buyers) by implementing marketing,” he told SunBiz in an interview recently.

Describing iMotorbike as a one-stop shop for anything bike-related, Carmo said the website connects users who want to buy or sell their motorbikes, as well as linking users to motorbike dealers, parts & accessories specialists, and service providers such as insurance and financing companies.

The website receives about 200,000 visitors per month, with 15,000 leads generated month-on-month.

“We connect the buyers and sellers. We’re a transaction enabler. We help the industry to be digital,” said Carmo, adding that iMotorbike’s business model is akin to iProperty, PropertyGuru and Carlist which do not involve itself in the transactions.

iMotorbike carries over 300,000 products, consisting of 60% motorbikes and 40% parts and accessories. It has a network of over 2,800 motorbike dealers.

“Majority of our products are new motorbikes, parts and accessories. We are also starting to grow our secondhand products and offerings,” Carmo revealed.

He explained that users do not want to go shop by shop to find a motorbike as well as going through the tedious process of getting financing or insurance that usually happens through ground, physical work.

“In 2020, people want to access everything via their the phone, look through, find, compare and understand pricing and stock, make a call or send a WhatsApp, and literally get what they want. (After that) It’s just a matter of going to the shop and getting the bike on the spot.”

Carno said the number of registered motorbikes in Malaysia is close to 13 million and there are about 500,000 new sales of motorbikes every year, similar to cars. He said the car to motorbike ratio in Malaysia is 1:1, versus 1:12 in Southeast Asia where motorbikes outnumber cars.

“About 50-60% of the population in Malaysia rides a bike.”

Carmo explained that iMotorbike monetises in many ways, through dedicated campaigns for bike and bike-related manufacturers and companies, supporting dealers to go digital and supporting users (sellers) who wish to have higher visibility in their ads.

“We empower the brands to get visibility and exposure to customers. We help the marketing departments of all these bike-related companies to have better return on investment on the money spent in accessing and acquiring new and recurring customers for their products.”

Users (sellers) can list products for free. If they want to get higher visibility and traction for their products, there are paid solutions, such as top search results.

Carmo said before iMotorbike was launched, there was no ready motorbike buyer userbase in the country. His idea to start a motorbike portal was first conceived in Vietnam when he was researching about motorbikes there.

“I was in a new market and didn’t know anything about the local bikes. I wanted to understand what bikes were available, the prices and engine capacity. I went online and couldn’t find any platform that provided access and understanding of the bike market.”

Carmo subsequently moved to Malaysia in 2015 after securing a job with Lazada Group as its project manager and was later appointed the country manager for Shopback.

He said Malaysia is one of the smallest motorbike markets in the region, but pointed out that it is a bright market in terms of the ecosystem and digital set-up for startups.

“Many still choose a bike due to convenience and affordability. There is a true passion for bikes in Malaysia. How MotoGP hit records of audience and how F1 has left the country, you have a good indication of how interesting the bike market is for Malaysia. The market of bikes (in Malaysia) was big enough to be able to prove the model, so we have all the boxes check,” Carmo said.

“We want to guarantee we can support everyone that has any type of bike-related needs – now and in the future. I believe we have the largest offering for Malaysia in terms of motorbike. There’s still so much to do and we look forward to bringing iMotorbike to greater heights,” said Carmo.

Besides Malaysia, iMotorbike has a small footprint in Indonesia. It also plans to enter the Vietnam market this year.

“We’re confident that even when we move to electric motorbikes in the future, our product will still be able serve all of these.”