Ringier, one of the oldest and biggest family businesses in the world has some cash to spend but sparingly unlike its competitors such as Naspers’ OLX and Rocket Internet’s Vendito which is likely to benefit from Rocket Internet’s new $420m growth fund.
To ensure sustainability, PigiaMe, a Ringier-owned classifieds platform has said announced plans to allow individual and business sellers on the platform to pay for their items and/ or companies to be highlighted at the top of the platform to boost their sales.
The firm has said individuals can utilize its new paid for premium listing feature while businesses can take up the business page to showcase their items above the rest, hence reaching many potential customers fast. The Premium Business Page will enable businesses to showcase their companies and provide additional information to build trust with potential customers.
Also under its Retail Section, firms can now link all listings to their account, upload pictures of their stores store, direct customers to your store via a map and even link the account to your other websites.
Those who want to use the site on a freemium model can still do but at just KES 400 for 14 days, PigiaMe is likely to attract even more individual sellers than before as long as they sell first. The firm says if they pay for a Premium Listing, their inventory will appear on top of the relevant search results, stand out from other listings with a prominent background colour and feature in the listing carousel on its homepage for the time paid.
On the other hand, SMEs or merchants will pay KES 6,000 inclusive of VAT for 6 months to get a Premium Business Page. A Premium Business Account allows a business to feature links to all the listings in their account, display images of their shop or team member, give directions to their shop via Google Maps and link them to their website.
Other paid for sections the firm has launched include a Category Sponsor whose company gets displayed before any other listings and direct customers to their online shop or website, banner ads which PigiaMe has already been selling among others.
Though the firm will need to do more SEO magic and probably do more digital marketing for its own platform-say on Google and Facebook and YouTube, the move to monetization is timely. OLX Kenya is doing a pilot of its business pages for the agricultural and construction sectors and is likely to monetize them before the second quarter.
Rocket Internet’s Vendito is also likely to launch in Kenya before end of quarter 2, so PigiaMe will have time to sign up and educate sellers before any major competition. PigiaMe’s major problem is that OLX, with its traffic and seller numbers, might be able to pull off this monetization thing and retain over 70 percent of its sellers in one month.
PigiaMe has also revamped its site to give a professional look with an easier to use interface. The firm also needs to push its mobile apps as more Kenyans get online especially via their mobile phones.
Though OLX dwarfs it in numbers, PigiaMe guys has always believed in less but unduplicated numbers. The firm has also been pitching its verified seller badge to its merchants to cut on fraud and increase user safety. OLX on the hand has moved into use of mobile phone number to sign up for accounts and not email addresses to edge out fraudsters. Though the firms are clear competitors, the market is huge and millions more still remain unreached by both platforms.
Clemens Weitz, Head of Classifieds, Ringier Africa says “The recent changes are designed to reflect our clients’ needs and our own ambitions for growth. These changes also mark an exciting milestone for our company as well as the face of classified’s industry in Kenya, as we are the first to bring innovation to the country.”
By being brave enough to start charging users to feature their items on the platform, PigiaMe is starting a journey many genuine classified users have been longing for-cleaning out the few fraudulent sellers who wouldn’t want to go through identity and payment processes to sign up for business pages. The less fraud cases mentioned, the more sellers will sell and so will the platform grow.