EZBZ Matches Clients With Vendors—And Gives Small Biz The Edge
The fledgling commerce engine is looking to level the playing field for small businesses.
When the founder of New York City-based EZBZ, Shana Schlossberg, describes her company’s model, it is hard to believe the concept hasn’t been around for ages. “EZBZ equally empowers both consumer and business and acts as a mega filter for both parties,” says Schlossberg of her online platform. “So for example, if a mom is looking for a family photographer…she can either call 20-30 photographers in her area from Google and Yelp listings, or she can take 30 seconds and post her request on EZBZ and get five offers in 10 minutes.”
While companies matching vendors to clients in search of services have existed for a quite a while, few have placed small businesses on equal footing with the big guys. Many online directories and review sites are sorted to prioritize certain businesses by various metrics, whereas myEZBZ.com—a website that launched in 2012—allows clients to request a service themselves that is then answered by any of a number of local businesses. This way, users do not need to scroll through lists of reviews, and Westchester-based businesses can easily interact with potential clients without playing second fiddle to national companies.
Before founding EZBZ, Schlossberg led a broad range of technology initiatives in the media, telecom, and emergency services industries at multiple Fortune 500 companies in the US. And, in 2009, the entrepreneur launched Israel’s first chain of local news sites in partnership with local newspapers.
“With that chain, I was the first to successfully monetize local news sites in Israel and this project put me in touch with over 25,000 small local businesses in the country, allowing me to learn firsthand how confusing the digital world was for them,” recalls Schlossberg. “I set out with a goal of creating a simple easy-to-use solution that would empower both consumers and businesses and just make life easier, and that product was EZBZ.”
When asked how a site as wide-ranging as EZBZ operates, Schlossberg offers a surprisingly straightforward answer: “EZBZ is an honest commerce engine that empowers consumers who are looking for local products and services to reach out simultaneously to the largest pool of qualified local businesses and receive bids for pricing and availability.”
Customers can download the app from Google Play and the Apple Store, or they can visit myEZBZ.com and describe the product or service that they are searching for. EZBZ’s algorithms then go to work matching the request to a pool of local vendors before contacting a selected business via email or text message (only the details of the request; none of the user’s contact information is shared). Users can then pursue a conversation with each vendor via the app and, should they hire one, close the request themselves.
EZBZ founder Shana Schlossberg. Photo by Alyssa Peek.
What do Westchester’s local business owners using EZBZ think? Francesca Caputo, owner of Little Whimsies Photography in Pelham Bay, feels EZBZ is particularly amenable to the demands of small, local businesses. “Small businesses are the underdogs in our society and companies, like EZBZ, give us a way to try and get a leg up and reach customers that we may normally not have access to,” shares Caputo. “We are not only in competition with the big dogs, but also, to a certain extent, each other. EZBZ provides real life and real people feedback to potential clients and helps them make more informed decisions.”
This sentiment is echoed by Karen Hamlin, director of Sounds Good Westchester LLC, a music-learning program with multiple locations throughout the county. “When consumers have the confidence to choose small business owners over larger companies, they are giving more opportunities to members of their own communities and their families,” says Hamlin. “Our clients are our shareholders and are the ones we strive to do the best we can for because they are the ones who make our businesses possible. EZBZ is there to support that mission, and I think we make a great team.”
With such a warm reception from Westchester’s small businesses, Schlossberg sees a bright future ahead for her company across the globe. “For EZBZ, the next year will be marked by multiple joint ventures with partners in the real estate, insurance, banking and utility industries,” says Schlossberg. “EZBZ has also begun launching in new countries and within two years, we anticipate EZBZ businesses in the US will be able to do business with consumers and businesses in 25 European, South American and Asian countries.”