6 Ways Ownai [ @Ownaizimbabwe ] could become the best Online Marketplace

Hey Ownai…Let’s Try This


The uptake of the Ownai classifieds website is one that has obviously been on the up and this is not just because the site is zero rated. It obviously also benefits its users in the form of convenience brought into the process of selling and buying, largely thanks to its alignment with Econet. The website being zero rated for Econet subscribers means that they can visit the website for free, at no data charges.

I have personally learnt to use it quite a lot for a large number of different product and on several occasions to also make my service available. Below are some of the recommendations I have that I believe could make the experience on Ownai better and easier for customers who may think like me. There is a large future in taking advantage of the online market and it will be nice to see Zimbabweans take advantage of this space.

With an article in TechZim citing a 67% percent drop in traffic to Ownai from December 2016 where it receives rave reviews about exeptioonal traffic to March of this year, it may be worth taking a look at some of the things that may be irking people and reducing their reattempts to use the site. People on the internet are very fickle and need to be constantly entertained, like a fire that needs constant stoking, a romance that needs frequent rejuvenation.

1.Priceless Products: the adoption of e-commerce in Zimbabwe has been slow because most potential subscribers are skeptical. In a country like Zimbabwe where money that YOU owned could wake up gone, it becomes a potential market filled with pessimists towards intangible goods. People will ask themselves questions like, “Are the products really there? Is this not a con? Are the products good quality products? Won’t I waste my time calling for more information? Do the products look as advertised?” These are all question that go through people’s minds.

Going through Ownai, I have had scenarios where I was in the car parts and spares section and 80% of the advertised products do not have prices. Personally I will scroll through products without prices and not even give a second look. I won’t even bother bookmarking your product!

While it is understandable for the guy selling a classic vehicle to not include a price because he is hoping for a silent auction for his car, I do not understand why people selling homogenous products like oil filters and bushes should not include pricing. In my view it reduces the credibility of the website to the skeptic and when those advertisers fail to sell they will automatically assume that Ownai does not work. It is in the best interest of both advertisers and Ownai alike to have most products price marked. After all, if the advertiser feels Ownai has failed to bring them business they won’t keep quite about it and they can always go back to traditional ways of selling.

2. Mobile Application: the website is perfect for viewing on desktops and even though it was also made compatible for mobile viewing, browsing catalog based websites on mobile always tends to be the headache as smoothness is never guaranteed. A mobile application makes maneuvering through the different products and categories a lot easier. I have seen this with other e-commerce sites I use like AlieExpress and locally the Hammer & Tongues as well as the sold.co.zw apps. The same could increase mobile traffic for Ownai, a zero rated application will make it the perfect on the go buy/sell medium.

3. Seller/Shop Profiles: Ownai is available for use to both individuals and business. Some individual sellers may sell multiple products and most business will have multiple ads on Ownai. I noticed that I cannot hyperlink to a user profile even though they are created for advertising process; if it were possible to click on the seller name and be hyperlinked to other ads that they have posted, that feature could provide very useful for sellers who have multiple ads. It would also mean that people can Build Brands on Ownai. Now, isnt that special?

4. Seller/Shop Ratings. Once a Shop/Seller Profile system is in place, a rating system could also be established through moderated reviews that are established from previous customers. Having this would differentiate Ownai from other local and regional classifieds sites like OLX (which already has the same website template) and Gumtree.

5. Standard Presentation for Car Sales: Mostly I browse through cars for sale on Ownai and I have a hard time when I get to cars that have only one image and the image isn’t even a clear one. Ownai has a great program of listing agents. If the solution is not to keep ads with insufficient images maybe listing agents could visit sellers to take more pictures. With car sales it could be mandatory to have say: side, front, interior and engine pictures.

Anything less than this has me questioning why the moderators even exist.

6. Inbox (in the Dashboard): This feature is especially useful for sellers. This is because sometimes the free SMS responses sent in by people via the website come to the phone distorted and do not provide necessary information to communicate with potential customers. I have had an instance where this happened, a situation where a seller tried to get in touch and I had neither the full message nor did I get a number to contact my potential client on. I just got really lucky they liked  what I was offering and they called in the end.

Make sure you take a look at www.ownai.co.zw and try to sell your wares or look for that one thing you need but you’re too lazy to walk around town for. If you’re out there, anyone who makes decisions, please do even just one of these things (I’m not saying do the app but hey).

Thank you for reading all the way to the bottom. As always, you can also contact me via email or via social media and we can improve the article. The most important thing is to improve yourself.




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