Anjola founded a classifieds website, Offers.ng, a marketplace for the sales and purchases of goods in November.
The site does the basic stuff. You visit, post a free ad where you leave contact details, and hope a potential buyers reaches out.
Efritin came at it with everything, and left with nothing. OLX works hard to make sure what happened with the maid doesn’t repeat itself. Jiji, on the other hand spends a ton of money on advertising to make sure we never forget them. How does a product like Offers plan to survive this space?
Anjola told Techmoran this;
“We do believe that though there are many existing classifieds platforms, the market is still big enough for everyone. We don’t see competition, we see opportunities.”
He believes they have the ginger to speed up innovation;
“To put our strategy in perspective, we already took a leap in redefining the space by being the first e-commerce site to implement the WhatsApp Seller option in Nigeria (which we introduced some weeks before Konga), and there are more where that came from.”
Security. It has proven to be one of the biggest problems classifieds, and generally e-commerce, suffers in Nigeria.
“Before we launched a beta version of the platform in September, we conducted a market survey to determine currently what are the challenges of users who use classifieds in Nigeria. The findings have really shaped the development of our platform as we found that security issues really ranks high on the list.”
“We have worked on and developed proprietary security measures that we hope will flag too good to be true ads and spams, with machine learning to improve its efficiency over time. We spend a lot of time plugging in security lapses and building a platform where users can trade with some measure of trust.”
“In the early part of 2018, we will roll out some additional features that will redefine how people use classifieds site, introducing extra added layers of security.”
Asides this, they have also been in touch with Eddy from Safetrade to see how they could integrate their API and are also on the lookout for other platforms to ensure user security and prevent fraud.
“Not only of the crowd already online but of those currently offline. Whilst the potential is certainly really huge, we do believe that even the heavyweights in the sector have not fully tapped the opportunities in the sector. When people say success online is offline, it is particularly true of this sector.”
And it’s because as it is, Offers is not particularly offering anything groundbreaking. Even bigger a problem is the lack of the marketing end of things. 10 years ago, this might have been beautiful and exciting even with a lean marketing budget. The market today on the other end, is big on marketing spend and will spend 100s of thousands of dollars on marketing monthly.
The real asset here is the team, Anjola, and the the people he works with to build this. According to Anjola, there’s three of them. Perhaps, they’d do well with some mentorship with more experienced people, and even if Offers fails, they’d still have the learnings and be better of.
Asked about his recipe for success, he said:
“At 19, I have been a college drop out and only just returned to school. Ask me this question in 5 years.”
While we wait, we wish him all the best.