When Robin Smith’s friend was deceived during his online purchase of a purportedly high-end projector, she was inspired to create a company that could take the risk out of vast, and sometimes misleading, Internet marketplaces.
“When online shopping was relatively new, there wasn’t a service for customers to request a condition or inspection report on goods before they made a purchase,” WeGoLook founder and CEO Robin Smith told Oklahoma Gazette. “I wanted to eliminate the distance between shoppers and sellers.”
Since 2009, WeGoLook has provided businesses and individuals with authenticated information through a gig-economy model of data collection.
The company bridges the physical gap between online shoppers and vendors through an expansive system of contract data collectors.
“Over 36,000 independent contractors called ‘lookers’ are in our network,” she said. “Lookers capture data with photos, videos, measurements and other methods of reporting. This data is collected on behalf of WeGoLook’s customers looking to verify the quality of a good or service.”
In a world full of too-good-to-be-true deals and sketchy online listings, lookers reinstate the physical aspects of shopping for consumers unable to visit sellers at their place of business.
“Our main goal is to protect customers large and small,” said Smith. “So if someone in Kentucky wants to purchase a pinball machine in California, we can dispatch a looker to meet with the seller, take all the information the customer requests and then deliver that data back to the customer so that he or she can make an informed decision.”
WeGoLook’s contract workers provide detailed, verified reports through the company’s application system. Requests can range from simple inspections of a product like a camera for sale to more involved quality reports on large businesses.
The company offers services to everyone from individuals to Fortune 500 companies like Tesla and GE Capital. WeGoLook’s data collection includes activities like dispatching lookers to meet sellers in person, performing simple inspection reports and even employing drone technology to assess a customer’s potential purchase.
No matter the task, Smith wants to equip buyers with the right tools for success.
“It could be as small as someone looking to buy car parts to something as large as an insurance company surveying hurricane-torn homes in Houston,” she said. “Our mission is to empower any and all consumers to make safe and smart decisions.”
Because of WeGoLook’s ability to capture data quickly and general affordability, many large businesses are replacing fleet drivers and other expensive surveyors with lookers.
“We supplement and augment many Fortune 500 companies because our process is one of the most efficient options for large-scale clients,” said Smith. “Lookers can meet clients and sellers anywhere from their own office to Starbucks, our data adheres to detailed guidelines and it’s cost-effective for large companies.”
This new business flow reflects a larger trend in a growing gig economy, which Smith said allows WeGoLook to employ even more individuals. Rather than eliminating certain jobs entirely, the company creates new kinds of opportunities for contractors.
WeGoLook empowers local Oklahoma residents through such employment strategies. Many active military personnel or veterans and their spouses seeking steady income benefit from becoming lookers.
“We always give priority to military applicants when hiring lookers because we just think it’s the right thing to do,” Smith said. “Many of these individuals possess unique skillsets that go undiscovered in their search for employment outside of the military.”
Becoming a looker helps contractors utilize the specialized skills they’ve gained from military service while giving them the freedom of working outside the confines of a 9-to-5 office job. Currently, all military lookers receive the first notifications for contract assignments.
“Most military personnel have families to take care of, but it’s often difficult for them to find stable jobs because of frequent location reassignments,” she said. “Becoming a looker enables you to make a stable income on your own terms, even if you can’t remain in one city on a long-term basis.”
WeGoLook’s leadership recently met with Lt. Col. Derwin Brown and Master Sgt. Matthew Black to continue providing outreach and opportunities to those in the U.S. military.
“No special skill set is required to become a looker, but the onboarding process is quite rigorous,” Smith said. “We want people to show that they’re committed to providing the best service for our clients. This isn’t a quick cash gig like Uber or what people normally associate with the gig-economy.”
While WeGoLook’s business continues to grow, the company is creating more ways for consumers to buy smart. The YouGoLook app gives customers the opportunity to become inspectors for their own purchases.
When someone asks what exactly WeGoLook does, it’s hard to give a simple answer because of the company’s ever-growing list of products and services. But at its foundation is the desire to serve individuals with honesty and integrity — two things one should always look for in a company.
Print headline: Good look; Oklahoma company WeGoLook verifies and inspects online purchases.