Navigating Virtual Market in an African Context by Babatunde Adekanmbi

The global impact of technology ever since its inception has brought about a lot of positive impacts. However, though they are coupled with some negative effects, we can’t downplay how it has facilitated developments across all facets of life.

The issue of virtual market navigation particularly in an African context is one of the results of Technological impact in our current disposition today.

Firstly, we need an understanding of what the virtual market is all about, it is a marketplace based on the internet where numerous companies execute economic transactions.

The virtual market is an advanced development of the traditional way of marketing, although people are still going by this modality on a small scale yet business owners and Corporate Organizations have adopted the use of the Virtual market to enable more sales and customer engagement.

It’s imperative we understand the mode of operation of a virtual market for optimum maximation. It is not relatable to the existing e-commerce sites that entail businesses selling their own products through a website, virtual marketplaces are 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 to reach virtually to the final consumers in different jurisdiction at a specific period of time.

The following tips highlighted below will give an insight on how to navigate a virtual market particularly in an African Context

•   Research your target market.
•   Knowing your target audience is a prerequisite to enable you to navigate effectively, you need to understand your target audience, you can do a demographic framework, age groups, gender, location etc. Learning from existing businesses relatable to what you do will help out. This will Facilitate sales engagement, customer satisfaction.
•    Design your marketplace operations.
•   Marketplace operations entail working hours, payment operations, delivery time that needs to be set up and getting your customers informed. It gives your potential customers a sense of direction when transacting business with you. They are able to plan this in their schedule whenever they choose  to patronize your brand or business
•   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 in 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.
•   Select the right marketplace software.
•   Having the right software for your marketplace is equally important, whether you're considering the use of social media platforms, email marketing tool or website for customer engagement. It equally aids swift Communication between you and your customers. The market research you have done will enable you to know which platforms your potential customers are used to
•   Outline the essential marketplace features.
•   Having an outlined feature for your marketplace is an enabler in making your potential customers decide to transact business with you. It should entail 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
•   Choose a marketplace payment solution.
•   Payment solutions are applications set up 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 fewer 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
•   Assemble a great team.
•   You need to set up a team of high-quality professionals, your team members should 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
•   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. 
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