Cameroonians love a good bargain. It is an essential part of the shopping experience for many, which is exactly what Buyam Marketplace is offering as it becomes the latest attempt to save Cameroonian e-commerce
Making Use of Search and Location
Founded in Buea, in the South West region of Cameroon, the platform brings buyers in contact with a list of verified vendors. Suggested vendors are picked on the basis of the items searched and their closeness to the buyer. Once you pick a vendor, you can communicate through instant messages and negotiate the price of the item in what mirrors a face-to-face bidding.
Exploiting Access to Mobile Money
Payments can be made using mobile money, which is widely available, or through direct cash exchange when the buyer and seller meet. Buyam is attempting to localize the online shopping experience in order to build trust, which is still lacking in Cameroon's e-commerce sector.
It is also attempting to broaden the market for sellers who do not have physical stores and instead promote their wares through their Whatsapp status, Facebook page, or Instagram feed. These vendors can now take advantage of Buyam's search features by simply listing their product, category, and location. Vendors can also create shops on Buyam, where they can manage their different social media outlets.
The Need for Innovation
No platform has managed to crack the e-commerce space in Cameroon yet. Giants like Jumia have failed to scale, so it will be interesting to see what happens with Buyam. This home-grown business may be better positioned to understand local challenges. Buyam has so far conducted an aggressive social media and influencer marketing campaign throughout Cameroon. It intends to establish a base in the country before promoting the product throughout Africa.
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