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Navigating Virtual Market in an African Context

By Babatunde Adekanmbi

The global impact of technology ever since its inception have brought about  positive impact though coupled with some negative effects but we can’t downplay how it have facilitated developments across all sectors of the economy.

  The issue of virtual market navigation particularly in an African context is as a  result of Technological impact in our current disposition today. There is   need to  understand what virtual market entails, it is marketplace with the aid of internet connectivity where numerous companies execute economic transactions to facilitate sales enablement . The virtual market is an advanced development of the traditional way of marketing, although people are still going by the modality of running a small scale enterprise in which there is need to navigate from one geopolitical zone to another in order to increase their customer base but fortunately,  business owners and Corporate Organizations have adopted the use of  Virtual market as new marketing strategy.

It’s imperative we understand the mode of operation of a virtual market for optimum performance otherwise it’ll be underutilize. A  virtual marketplace is a platform where third-party sellers can transact businesses (also known as e-commerce marketplaces), such sites may feature individual traders, large-scale manufacturers of goods, or anything in between. The third party sellers are known to be the retailers, small business owners, enabling them reach out virtually to the final consumers  at a specific period of time.

The virtual market comes with is own peculiarities unlike the traditional way of marketing although with some features that would probably facilitate sales enablement and customer engagement but have some hitches that the virtual market have addressed. We definitely need to align with the developments brought up by the virtual market but there’s need to understand how we can effectively navigate this New virtual market particularly in an African Context. While we can’t discard the fact that there are some similar features that would possibly be pinpointed from the traditional way of marketing which was understudy and developed better to align to the standing protocols setup particularly in this era.

The Africa economy ecosystem have the capability to adopt and adapt to whatever New inventions  but business owners or enterprise should position themselves for it otherwise the opportunities that lurk in the world market might elude them

The following tips highlighted below are adoptable in which it  will give an insight and serve as a guide on how to navigate effectively  a virtual market particularly in an African Context.

·        Research your target market.

Knowing and understanding the needs of your target audience is a prerequisite to enable you navigate effectively, you need to understand your target audience, you can do a demographic framework which will comprise of ,age groups,gender, location etc. Learning from existing businesses relatable to what you do will equally help out as well  This will Facilitate sales engagement, customer satisfaction and enhance visibility and viability for your products and services. This research will definitely guide your working operations,  it serve as a drive towards enabling the growth of your enterprise . It will further give a deeper insight into who your target audience are, enabling you work around their interest because their satisfaction should be prioritized while thinking of maximizing profit.

·         Design your marketplace operations.

Marketplace operations entails working hours, payment operations, delivery time that needs to be setup and getting your customers informed. It gives your potential customers a level of confidence when transacting business with you. They are able to effectively plan their schedule whenever they choose  to patronize your brand or business. A well design marketplace operations entails the working hours,  processes, procedure for patronage that enables your customer align to the set goals and objectives. It will equally facilitate the organization of your potential team, they are able to understand the proceeding at which your enterprise would be operating.

·        Choose the right business model 

Having the right business model is a veritable tool for navigating the virtual market. It gives you a sense of responsibility and direction. It is the overall framework that keeps your business operations in Check on the Long run. Your customers will be willing to transact businesses With you because you have a model that is operational and it gives no room for compromise. Both parties key into the framework since it’s available. Moreso you need to understand that the business model will equally serve as a working template for your future employees, it is an avenue for creating synergy between them, your enterprise and potential customers. A business model serves as a guide for your enterprise because it entails the dos and donts of how you intend running your enterprise. It gives an indication that processes will be duly followed and this is how an organized enterprise starting up and ready to navigate the virtual market

·        .Select the right marketplace software.

Having  the right software to run your enterprise is highly necessary it is equally important to to know whether you’re considering the use of social media platforms, email marketing tool or website for customer engagement. It aid in swift Communication between you and your customers. The market research you have done will enable you know which platform will be suitable for the products or services being offered. The right software also reduces the number of negative feedbacks  receive from services offered because realistically the software will continually serve as an intermediary between your enterprise and your potential customers. You can equally look at the possibility of building up a software of your own as this will give you the opportunity to adopt and integrate your own strategy which other software might not featured.

·        Outline the essential marketplace features.

Having an outlined feature for your marketplace is an enabler in making your potential customers in deciding to transact business with you. It should entails features that are user-friendly , that  gives an overview of what your services and products  entails. Integrating the right features will Facilitate More sales to your business or enterprise. These features also serves as an indicator in enabling your customers make quickr decision when engaging with your enterprise. They have the opportunity to navigate through the available features highlighted. These outlined essential features should  give a detailed description of your enterprise which necessarily don’t have to be too ambiguous hence the need for readability.

·        Choose a marketplace payment solution.

Payment solutions are applications setup to facilitate payment of goods and services. It’s important you make use of a payment solution that will be easy on the part of your customers, with  less Technical issues and good Internet services. Your customers may be deterred from patronizing you continuously if your payment solutions are not user friendly or easily accessible. They are numerous payment solutions available for use but it’s essential to choose the one that is relatable to one’s enterprise . The right marketplace payment enhances timely payment of services offered to your customers, it avoids the issue of complexity when making payment as the society have equally clamored for cashless policies.  It equally address the issue of theft..  You equally need to ensure this marketplace payment solution is efficientenough , the technical aspects must be well understood particularly to your team.

·        Assemble a great team.

The need for a great team, who are ready to adhere and align to the set aim and objectives of your enterprise can’t be over emphasized, the great edifice or platform you’re creating can be ruin down when your team is made of wrong individuals. Team selection is a process that should be followed with due process, the responses derive while engaging with the pontential employees should at least correlate with your enterprise hope to achieve in the nearest future.

You need to setup a team of high quality professionals, they hould be knowledgeable about the type of business you operate. The success of your business would be as a result of the attitudinal response of your team members to your customers. Their ability to understand the concept of your business enhance the growth of your business facilitate more sales enablement as your customers or clients are eager to recommend you to people in their network and society at large.

·        Build your marketplace platform.

Build a marketplace platform that your customers can trust. This can only be achieved if your customer service is swift, reliable and readily accessible, ensuring your customer queries are attended to in an ample time. A platform that is responsive where you can resolve customer queries faster without physical visitation of the customer to your business location would also be of great help. The uniqueness of one’s enterprise will be further appreciated and valued when there’s a market platform your potential customers can relate with. A platform that affords them the opportunities to relay issues relatable to services rendered by your enterprise,  give them the opportunities to make their recommendations due to their user experience.

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