Ivorian textile SMEs access new online marketplace
Ten Ivorian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have pooled their resources to set up the trade portal IvoryMall with the support of the International Trade Centre (ITC). The initiative is part of the Trade and Regional Integration Support Programme (PACIR) funded by the European Union. Under the programme, ITC assists Ivorian SMEs working in the textile, fashion and home-accessories sectors in building marketing strategies, developing marketing tools, strengthening their branding and visual identity, as well as promoting their participation in international buyer-seller events and initiatives in regional and international markets.
According to the International Telecommunication Union’s latest figures, almost three billion people – or 40% of the world’s population – use the Internet, and close to one in three people in developing countries are online.
‘There is a great thirst for knowledge about how to make e-commerce work in Africa,’ said James Howe, ITC Senior Adviser on International Marketing and Branding. ‘Going beyond raising of awareness, ITC technical assistance puts powerful tools in the hands of African entrepreneurs, and we help them to overcome challenges of online payment solutions and logistics. Their reaction is very exciting: they clearly understand the business potential of these new tools.’
The electronic shops are designed in a way that removes 80% of the complexity of setting up a new e-shop. Digital catalogues can be replicated and synchronized with different online marketplaces, including Amazon, eBay, Facebook and soon, Etsy. Ivorian SMEs received training on managing e-shops in May 2014.
The structure of the IvoryMall is modular, scalable and replicable. As part of an ongoing project on virtual marketplaces (VMPs) funded by the World Bank, this solution will be used not as a marketplace in and of itself, but as a tool to capture and centralize the content before its replication and synchronization to other marketplaces. The VMP project involves training and coaching 600 SMEs from Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia to sell on VMPs. The e-mall solution can be installed for trade support institutions or SME networks that aim to offer participants an easy and cost-effective solution to trade online.