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Market Place

Why boosting clients’ safety is a surefire marketing plan

OLX country manager Peter Ndiangu’i making a presentation during an OLX car dealers conference in Nairobi in February. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU
OLX country manager Peter Ndiangu’i making a presentation during an OLX car dealers conference in Nairobi in February. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

Global online marketplace OLX last month introduced a ‘verified cars’ category on its website, in a bid to enhance safety for customers buying second-hand vehicles by affirming quality and handling payments, thereby giving itself a market advantage over its competitors.

The cars in the category are inspected by OLX car experts before their pictures are uploaded on the platform. The pictures have a distinguishing blue tick on the upper edge, emphasising that the vehicle has, indeed, passed the OLX quality assessment.

The verification badge is designed to give consumers the confidence to interact with the seller and influence their purchase decisions, increasing engagement within the platform.

“Our new verified cars category is a further step towards ensuring that buyers are guaranteed of safety when buying cars on our platform,” said Peter Ndiang’ui, OLX country manager.

“The buyer, upon identifying a car they are looking for, will also be assisted by the car expert, known as champs, to buy the car and ensure ownership moves to them safely and seamlessly. Buyers in this category will also be required to wire money directly to OLX and we will only pay it out to the seller if the customer is satisfied with the quality of the car.”

For buyers who wish to buy fully financed vehicles, OLX will also, through partnerships it will enter with companies in the relevant sectors, provide asset financing, inspection and insurance for offers made in the verified cars category.

“What sets a company apart from its peers in this digital age depends a lot on consumers’ interaction with it. In this case, a consumer is interacting with a stranger online, thus they need to feel that they can trust them to the point that they are willing to reveal their details without repercussions, and that what they are buying will arrive unscathed or, rather, meets their quality,” said Stella Kimani, a brand strategist.

Cyber security

“Plus, if they do feel safe, there is a high chance that they will recommend the services to other consumers, by word of mouth or via social media, which means more business for the platform.”

Thus, OLX is offering consumers a safe place to transact business at a time when cyber insecurity has led consumers to mistrust e-commerce platforms.

According to a study on key shopping and fraud activity trends last year, e-commerce scam attempts increased by 31 per cent globally, especially during the holiday seasons, while the number of overall transactions increased by 16 per cent.

The data, based on hundreds of millions of transactions from global merchants, found that, in 2016, one out of every 97 transactions was a fraudulent attempt, in contrast to 2015, where one out of every 109 transactions was a fraudulent attempt, reported ACI Worldwide, a payment systems company, in 2017.

Fraud

“Over the 2016 holiday shopping season, merchants experienced significant growth in their digital channels, coupled with a substantial increase in fraud.

Given the consistent and alarming uptick in fraudulent activity on key dates, merchants must be proactive in their efforts to identify weak points - and define short and long-term strategies for improved security and enhanced customer experience,” said Markus Rinderer, senior vice president, Platform Solutions, ACI Worldwide.

Reduced shipment price, low-priced electronics, and promotions were identified as driving the trends in the increase of fraudulent cases.

Thus OLX, by spearheading the improvement of safety measures on its website and taking a hands-on approach to the payment transaction, can make itself the platform of choice for both consumers and merchants seeking to conduct business online without incurring such risks.

- African Laughter

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