Owners of businesses who have come to terms with the increasing number of potential customers using the web are responding by making their products and services available to these online users with web technologies
The Ghanaian is no longer a stranger to online commerce. Our market is gradually warming-up to the concept of finding goods and services online and making actual payments. A lot of effort, especially on the part of GhIPSS (Ghana Interbank Payment & Settlement Systems), is directed toward making it easier for people to make electronic payments.
Now we have the likes of Africakart.com, Jumia, Melcomonline, Tonaton, Zoobashop, Olx,Kaymu,Tisu, IPMCkart etc. which are currently in the e-market space.
It is good to know that what the above are currently doing does not exhaust all the opportunities existing in the online commerce space. In the weeks ahead, we will delve a bit into the e-market place ecosystem of Ghana, looking at opportunities, challenges and solutions.
Let us take a look at some other models you can begin with and be successful here in Ghana.
Business to Business e-marketplace
This model is characterized by buyers and sellers being put together on an online platform. It is usually operated by a separate entity. It works fine if established for a particular industry. For example, one can choose to operate this model in the housing industry – putting together real estate developers and building material suppliers. Access to such a platform will be through membership, some sort of a closed group.
For the estate developers, they will have the advantage of accessing classified advertisements from material suppliers like K. Ofori Limited, Paa Nii Agency etc. The suppliers on the other hand are given exclusive access to tenders coming from building companies. This model is favourable for every unique industry here Ghana.
One is sure to see a range of businesses and their offerings when they pick up a yellow-pages directory. An online directory will put together a list of businesses which customers can access and contact. These directories can be narrowed to regions and even districts.
In some cases, you can have a number of fashion-houses within a district coming together to form an online directory to attract customers. People within the district seeking the service of a fashion-house are more likely to make the platform their first point of call. This will be good for sellers as it will get them easy leads.
Buyer-Oriented e-market place
Product-sourcing comes with a lot of cost, especially here in Ghana. Most businesses don’t get real value for the money they spend buying raw materials, office equipment etc. A group of buyers can come together and form a pool to attract potential suppliers. Buyers on such a platform can get better leverage for the services and products they want.
They are also able to cut down on costs associated with travelling all around the city, sometimes for weeks, just to find a good supplier.
Suppliers of unique products will have an opportunity to showcase to a pool of willing buyers. This they will do at a lower cost than mainstream advertisement.
This model can also be good for the tenants associations here in Ghana, where they can put together tenants and potential ones on a single platform. Any landlord wanting to use this platform would have to conform to the defined tenancy terms. Home seekers cannot be ripped-off on such a platform.
Horizontal e-Market place
The banking sector is a very interesting one. It epitomizes the corporate environment in our country. The banks are served by a variety of service providers: security firms, catering services, stationery suppliers etc. An online platform can be set up to serve a unique industry like the banks in this way. So, here, you will have not just any security firm but those that are specialised in protecting financial institutions – from the banking halls to ATM machines etc.
Such corporate entities might also need unique catering services which they can easily source from such a platform.
Vertical e-Market place
It is interesting to learn that opportunities do exist as one goes along a particular industry. Let’s take the Ghana automobile industry for instance: you have mechanics, you have sprayers, vulcanizers, auto electricians etc. all lined up along the automobile industry here in Ghana. Getting these specialists lined up on a single platform to serve people needing their services will save operational time and bring efficiency. Vehicle owners don’t have to go around looking for these specialists to help fix a broken car.
Many more opportunities will become available online for the entrepreneur as the Ghanaian public warms up to the online idea. It is therefore our responsibility to identify and provide solutions online that can better serve our people.
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