Africa’s Love Of Digital Marketplaces And Their Rise On The Continent


Africa’s high mobile penetration rates as well as its young population have contributed to the continent’s positive response to digital marketplaces and on-demand services. 


Several notable marketplaces that have grown exponentially on the continent include Nigeria’s Jumia, South Africa’s Takealot and the international e-hailing service Uber. This year, the continent sees the arrival of new multinational marketplaces, including most recently Temu.


However, there is room for growth in the maturation, service offering and operational efficiency of marketplaces in other industries, including insurance, hospitality, transport, financial services and others.


Both businesses and consumers must familiarise themselves with the continent’s growing relationship with marketplaces and assess what this means for entrepreneurship, innovation and meeting growing consumer demands on the continent.


True marketplaces 


Consumers want a true marketplace in every sense. There are a few digital platforms that allow you to see a real price that you can buy for insurance, like with Checkers60, but these are generally from a single product supplier. Imagine if you could get the Woolworths, Checkers, Pick n Pay and Spar price for an item in one place and buy right then in one Super App.


That’s exactly the kind of thinking that brought Everything.Insure into being.


“Everything.Insure is a digital marketplace curated with the best products from leading insurers across various categories of insurance, all in one place, ready to be bought online with no paperwork and no call agents to talk to,” co-founder of Everything.Insure and group CEO of firstEquity Group, Vis Govender, explains. “Beyond that, it allows you to add cover, cancel, pause, and make claims.”


“We should all be regularly testing the price of all our insurance products – not just car or home insurance but business insurance too – that’s just good practice,” Govender concludes.


Innovation in the face of growing consumer demand

The African continent’s embrace of digital marketplaces marks a significant shift in its entrepreneurial landscape, fostering innovation and meeting growing consumer demands.


“It’s all about meeting consumer needs and the evolution of the marketplace – a trend that comes with both opportunities and challenges,” says Ayanda Mvandaba, CA (SA), Entrepreneur and CEO of online non-alcoholic beverages retailer, Drink Nil. “It expands the reach of a product or service and enhances accessibility to consumers, however it presents a challenge in that it requires constant innovation and strategic adaptation to stand out amidst a growing array of options.”


 The power of contextual data for marketplaces

One of the most impactful measures to undertake involves dismantling data silos within an organisation. The same is true with the development of any marketplace. “It’s critical to recognise that information fuels every department within an organisation. Ensuring access to contextual data empowers customer-facing teams to have impactful engagement with the customers, thereby improving the experience they can provide,” comments multinational technology company Zoho’s Regional Manager, Africa, Andrew Bourne

Furthermore, it enables the delivery of personalised experiences to each customer, further augmenting their perception of the organisation. In this regard, the implementation of a customer experience platform assumes significant importance. Ideally, such a platform should offer seamless and contextual flow of data between different systems, single sign on (SSO), and granular access control. “At Zoho, we have dedicated efforts to incorporate these features into our customer experience platform, Zoho CRM Plus, that brings together sales, marketing, support and other customer-facing teams.”

Marketplace capabilities are being prioritised


The Salesforce State of e-Commerce Report  found that one-third of commerce professionals — across industries and business sizes are prioritising adding marketplace capabilities to their existing ecommerce experience.


Marketplaces make it easy (and fast) to diversify revenue streams, reduce inventory risk, and win customer loyalty. Joint innovations enhance data management, improve customer experiences, and enable AI-powered applications.


Salesforce recently announced the expansion of its use of Amazon Web Services Marketplace across its portfolio. With Salesforce now available on AWS Marketplace, thousands of joint customers can accelerate their deployment of Salesforce products through seamless buying and billing experiences.


Salesforce rolled out the Trailblazer Career Marketplace this year, a new talent hub that is an extension of Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform for acquiring in-demand skills and earning globally recognized credentials. This centralised talent hub connects Trailblazers seeking their next role in data, AI, and CRM with employers in the Salesforce ecosystem.