An online marketplace is more like a market that aggregates products or services from multiple third-party sellers. Participating sellers typically perform customer services, source and deliver their own products and services, while the marketplace operators manage the platform, organize sales and promotions, process transactions and payments and even provide financial services to customers; participating sellers and buyers.
A marketplace is, therefore, no longer a tree-lined landmark representing a central location where people gather together to buy and sell goods and services. On the contrary, a marketplace is a non-finite platform that could be physical, but increasingly, has become digital, where people exchange value. This "place" has no corporal limitation, no palpable smell and certainly, no constraint of physical contact. On these platforms, the human race has decidedly begun to redefine the terms of social and economic engagement, who benefits or leverages on the evolving world order depends on the speed and precision with which this new form of interaction is adopted and integrated into society's everyday life.
Manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, community and trade associations and a dense network of value- exchanging individuals can now come together to do business without ever having to meet one another, physically. Information now flow across markets and countries at such blinding speed that decisions on trading, research, pricing , supply chains , production and marketing are made faster and with greater insights.
There are different models of marketplace. While some require sellers to place a security deposit before a transaction, some charge a fixed fee, in addition to commission while some adhere strictly to subscription-fee model.
It is smart idea for SMEs to join the online marketplace. Online marketplace is a more effective way for local SMEs to enter into the global arena since opportunities that come from running their individual stores online are quite high. A reputable marketplace will be able to project a small local manufacturer, wholesaler and distributor as much as the established brands and companies would project theirs. That will eliminate the fear of loss of control and brand identity usually caused by the lack of resources and the reputation to effectively create and manage their own e-platforms.
B2B e-commerce used to be the only major model of e-commerce globally until other models like B2C, M2C, G2B, G2E , Classified, 020, M-commerce and other models started springing up because of the increased accessibility to widespread broadband and online security.
The boom of e-commerce has opened opportunities for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses, and for SMEs to increase productivity and become more creative while buyers get more satisfactions because they are able to do price comparison, have accessibility to scarce products and services they ordinarily would not have had the opportunity to reach.
Generally, technology is becoming more of a personal and social tool for reshaping how society trades, works, studies or even plays. The digital stratosphere is the new reality: it transcends space, leaps across time and cuts a road through cultures, indeed the pathway to the future clearly begins with the click of a mouse or the touch of a digital button.
In this day and era, a buyer of commodities in Mexico could in two clicks of a mouse reach a farmer in Kaura Namoda, Zamfara state, and in a flurry of swift correspondences within ten minutes he or she could firm up a solid sale and purchase agreement duly signed by both parties. The speed, convenience and sheer transparency of the transaction would have been totally inconceivable as recent as two decades ago.
The application of e-commerce is not confined to the sales of goods but is being increasingly extended to various industries. In recent years, companies are particularly keen on developing mobile apps, which include games, as well as electronic platforms for personal and business services, such as car rentals and restaurant bookings and government to business (G2B).
Globally, the Internet has contributed immensely to the growth of e-commerce in the past two decades. In Nigeria, e-commerce is relatively new. Its development is a very important and interesting trend. Introduced less than a decade ago(in 2012), but has redefined how goods and service are served consumers, especially the young, busy executives whose need for convenience such that Nigerian businesses are encouraged to pay attention to the development of all new forms of e-commerce.
As at 2012, the value of e-commerce was $35 million. It grew to $550million in 2014, according to Nigeria’s Ministry of Communication Technology. The market grew from 1,000 orders per day in 2012 to 15,000 per day. The market is expected to jump to $10 billion. with a projection of 300,000 orders per day, going forward. The e-commerce revolution has been made possible in Nigeria by deeper internet penetration via low-priced smartphones which allows young, tech-savvy consumers easy access to the internet. E-commerce in Nigeria is still a largely untapped market. A study found that out of 70 per cent of Nigerians who know about e-Commerce, only about 30 per cent use it. Most Nigerian internet users, about 70 per cent, use it to browse and search the web. The major drawback is absence of trust; trust in e-businesses, technological infrastructure or in the security of their data while making online payments.
Buyers in developed economies usually use credit or debit cards to pay for their online purchases, while cash payment upon delivery is very common in some emerging economies, where the electronic banking system is underdeveloped.
Most transactions online are processed through third-party payment gateway providers, which allow payments and money transfers to be made through the internet as alternatives to traditional paper methods like cheques and money orders. Third-party payment platforms typically accept different payment methods from consumers such as credit cards, debit cards, pre-paid debit cards, or bank transfers. They also provide escrow services, whereby, buyers funds are protected by verifying release of payment after the transaction has been confirmed concluded.
Globally, there are online payment providers who are well-established and can be trusted for online payment. PayPal, alipay, MasterCard, visa, Interswitch, e-transact are some of the popular online payment platforms.
I strongly believe that the liberation of mankind from the limitation of time and space is one of the most subtle yet profound developments of the human experience in the Twenty First Century. Doing business at what Bill Gates once described as the 'speed of thought' has unleashed a dynamic explosion of value that spreads concentrically across the globe, but has yet to make full impact on the African continent.
aniwura.com is designed to move the African market space forward by providing rural and urban micro, small, and medium-scale (MSMEs) entrepreneurs the opportunity to engage in business on a global platform at costs that make their products and services attractive and sustainable. The portal also gives them access to previously inaccessible markets; current trading and product information critical to constructive decision-making. At aniwura.com, we provide multidimensional business information and trading services such as Business-to-Business (B2B), Government-to-Business (G2B), and Online-to-Offline (O2O) models on a single platform.
For Africa to ramp up development in a short space of time, it must come to terms with the need to use digital technology, particularly Information and Communication technology such as aniwura.com, to improve the commercial and personal living standards of its people. At the heart of the continents growth objectives must be an inclusive agenda of enhancing economic wellbeing across social strata.
The Maasai cattle traders of Tanzania, for example, should be able tap his or her phone to send images of available cattle stock and post reserve prices for each cow or herd, so does the cocoa farmer from Nigeria. A commercial bid could take place and he/she sells to the most favourable bidder while physical possession/transfer is arranged.
The open price discovery process allows the herdsman or farmer obtain ‘fair value’ for the product (cow or cows) while the buyer equally pays a ‘fair price’. Other more technical market arrangements such as forward sales and purchases could be arranged. The point basically being that the digital age preps economies to provide greater welfare for their citizens through the promotion of value exchange within a competitive and cost effective framework.
We are focused on delivering a technology and business transformation platform to enable adoption of end-to-end online sourcing and trade activities on a single platform for merchants and consumers across Africa beginning with the continent’s largest market-Nigeria with over 172 million population.
The process will involve delivery fulfillments at the specified speed across the entire country. This has remained a monumental challenge for the budding e-commerce industry in Nigeria. According to available statistics, less than half the parcels dispatched in Nigeria by e-retailers are delivered between three days-seven days due to logistics and infrastructural challenges.
As we move forward in the coming years, I have the believe that with government intervention, e-commerce operators in Nigeria will be able to focus on investing in the logistics infrastructure in response to growing demand for quality delivery services in Nigeria. This will involve the deployment of sophisticated planning and execution systems all over the country.
Aniwura has a long term plan of joining or initiating a consortium with plans to invest millions of dollars over the next five to eight years to develop and manage the Nigerian logistics network to help deliver online shopping in all cities across Nigeria within 24 hours.
We at aniwura.com embrace this liberation to excel with uncommon passion. We see balls of prosperity racing across the African continent as more governments, businesses and individuals migrate to internet-based exchange of values worth billions of dollars annually.
This, as far as we are concerned, is the dawn of a new age of unrelenting prosperity fostered by the daring-do of digital entrepreneurs. As the freshness of the new world order evolves in months ahead we hope to see all our customers, patrons and partners enjoy the benefits of creativity, technology and growth that aniwura.com can bring.
Thank you very much
Iwayemi. O. Ogomudia