A new tech startup based in Botswana, Ponatshego, has created an innovative online platform that offers African small and medium enterprises (SMEs) an opportunity to transition from the traditional brick and stone stores to an online marketplace.
Registered SMEs are then able to market their products or services online to a wider audience.
This naturally gives their businesses a boost ensuring they enjoy an increase in sales and profit.
Digital transformation for SMEs
Established in July 2020, Ponatshego is a startup under Essential to Survival, a company jointly owned by African entrepreneurs, Motshidi Joseph Ngaiti and William George White.
Although there are platforms competing in the same space in Botswana, however, Ponatshego has succeeded in dominating adequate market share. This gives them an edge over their competitors.
This new startup aims to provide an online platform that enables SMEs to shift to an online marketplace and to help promote their branding and product.
The goal is to ensure that businesses, whether small or medium, in Botswana and around Africa transform into online markets which will make attracting new customers a possibility.
Ponatshego’s digital platform is user-friendly enabling SME owners navigate their way around with no difficulty; this ensures optimal user experience.
Also, customers have access to video clips educating them on how to use advertised products or services, thereby adding to customer experience and satisfaction.
Motshidisi Ngaiti, a co-owner of Essential to survival, the company under whose umbrella Ponatshego operates, explained that the platform serves to foster and encourage interaction with users.
He added, “We made sure our website is always quick, responsive, and easy to use, as Ecommerce is a fairly new concept to southern Africa customers, are still getting to trust and believe in it.
Only a truly pleasant experience will get them buying products online.
We made sure to include a live chat on our platform to answer all our customer’s questions or inquiries in real-time, as we believe this to be one of the core needs of our customers.
We believe our platform serves more value based on the number of people it serves which is why we worked very hard to make sure different parties are able to benefit from our platform”
How it works
To transition an SME into the online market place, each applicant (SME owners) will go through a week-long training programme arranged by Ponatshego.
Upon training completion, qualified and approved SMEs get to advertise and sell their products or services on the platform.
Through the affiliate marketing program, individuals who have an Instagram account are allowed to register on the platform, and subsequently earn commissions through image-sharing social media platform referrals.
Ponatshego will provide a specific link that enables individuals trace how much traffic they have directed to the platform which will impact on how much commission they will receive.
A solution to challenges faced by African businesses
Understanding the challenges faced by African business owners, Ngaiti explained that this new innovative platform will assist SMEs in shifting to an eCommerce space, and this is especially necessary as the Covid-19 pandemic has threatened the survival of many a business.
He commented, “The main aim of our platform is to help our fellow African businessmen and women get their products to the final consumer, as this is the challenge we saw most Africans face.
The costs that come with building a brick and mortar business, the skills necessary to build their own eCommerce platform, and still having to worry about making a sale online, are burdens from our fellow Africans.
We allow for business to be done on our platform without any barrier, that is why our platform also allows for payments to be made in multiple currencies.”
Ponatshego equals opportunities for all
To ensure opportunities for all including SMEs owners or those who do not fall under that category, Ponatshego set up the affiliate marketing program.
The benefit of this programme is to enable unemployed people earn money by creating posts on Instagram and receiving commission for their efforts from their platform.
Ngaiti further revealed that Ponatshego is unique compared to the rest because it gives attention to its customers, making sure they derive maximum shopping experience.
“We believe this to be a brilliant offering, as well as different vendors are given an opportunity to showcase their products on a platform that allows them to fully showcase all angles of their products through responsive videos, resulting in better appreciation from the final consumer”
Featured Image: businesspostng
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