A glimpse of the things to come

The bidorbuy top sellers event 2010 was a good time to take a look back and to announce what lies ahead for Africa’s largest online marketplace (that is, bidorbuy).

The bidorbuy Managing Director Andy Higgins outlined the growth of the site during the ten years of existence.  Without burdening this post with numbers, suffice it to say that when bidorbuy debuted on the World Wide Web in August 1999, the number of items on sale could be counted on the fingers of one hand. Today, there are over 420,000 listings offering everything imaginable, from a needle to a haystack. (Literary: here are the search results for needle and for haystack.)

During those ten years, the site never stopped evolving and improving. The twelve months between the last year and this year top sellers events saw the introduction of numerous tools designed to benefit the sellers (and their buyers), notably:

It is interesting to note that one of the most useful selling tools is at the same time one of the most under-utilised: the prompts. Take note, sellers, and use prompts to:

  • Let the buyers customise their purchase (size of a T Shirt, colour of vanity cabinet, etc.)
  • Up-sell a related item by offering it to the buyer during the ordering procedure
  • Let the buyer opt for a free extra like gift packaging

As for what the future holds, several new tools are being designed. Very soon, bidorbuy sellers will be able to colour code the status of their orders. That will make it easy to see at a glance the orders awaiting payment, the orders that have been paid and are to be shipped, the completed orders, and so on.

The site is also getting ready to go mobile. In the initial phase, the buyers will be able to opt to receive SMS alerts when they are outbid, giving them a chance to place a higher bid even if they happen to be away from their computers at the time. And from there to a site fully adapted to the small screen of cell phones and smart phones there is only one step! That should attract to bidorbuy all those people who have a web-enabled cell phone, but do not have access to a computer. That should also make about 20,000 bidorbuyers who already access the site through cell phones, even though it is not small screen friendly, very happy.

Another novelty is the expansion to Africa, starting with a Kenyan bidorbuy site.

Together with the first intimations of the dawn of the uncapped internet era in South Africa, these are indeed promising times for the bidorbuy community.