After acquiring TradeStable, which OLX Nigeria says was big competition, the firm has said that though they have many competitors, the closest one is Jiji.com, a firm run by Naij.com and with no relation to eBay’s Kijiji.com.
In an Interview with The News Nigeria, a popular local news site, Lola Masha, OLX Nigeria country manager said, “I think the best way to gauge our market share right now is to look at our competitor. Of course, we acquired Tradestable Nigeria platform, which means we are here to stay. In terms of specific share, we have significant market share, Compared to our competitors. I think number two now would be jiji.com.”
That’s not the only issue though, OLX is also struggling to clean its name after the alleged OLX Nanny saga. According to reports, a Lagos family contracted one Mary Akinloye as a nanny after they found her profile on the OLX platform and she ended up kidnapping its 3 kids.
In the interview Masha says: “Also the issue of safety is a big challenge. You must have heard about the unfortunate ‘OLX Nanny’ saga or some reports that are not pleasant. All these stories sometimes tend to hold back some people from wanting to even try to use the platform. So, the whole work for us is to convince those users. We admit some of those challenges are there but we are working so hard to reduce it.”
Masha’s work at hand is to convice people to use the platform even with such reports. Her duty is to educate the public how the platform works and how OLX like any other market is open for everyone to post or buy from anyone and it doesn’t own any inventory and neither does it have any partnership with the sellers on the platform.
“Trust is definitely one big challenge,” Masha adds, “In all the 40 different countries that OLX is operating, Nigeria is the one exception where this question is actually so prominent. When we launched the business in Nigeria, we knew about the perception that here you can’t trust anybody. But then we decided not to get involved in the assumption or to bug out courtesy of the negative stereotype about the market. We said ‘let’s launch and see if Nigerians are actually trustworthy or not.’ But what we learnt painfully and unfortunately is that we do have that problem here. It is a reality. But again, it is very unique to Nigeria. We don’t see this extent of trust and safety issue elsewhere.”
Masha says that 99 per cent of all cases that go wrong are were users paid advance so the firm is educatingusers on how to use online classifieds by not paying in advance and making sure they meet the seller in a secure place and as well go with company just in case anything goes wrong.
“Consequently, trust is a top priority for us. We are taking the issue very seriously. We are open to innovative ideas and can test new things that will help to build trust and safety,” she says.
OLX Nigeria says it has a team working around the clock to review all the ads and ensure they meet its safety criteria and as well has features to allow users to report fraud or submit their complaints.
The Naspers’ backed firm is also present in Kenya, Ghana, Uganda, Tanzania and 35 other countries around the world. Thousands of users across the continent still don’t understand how OLX works and the firm has embarked on heavy media campaignsto teach users on safety precautions.