The City’s Urban Management Directorate reports that the pilot online market was a resounding success. Informal traders, vendors and crafters were invited to participate in the City’s first online market, which went live on Thursday, 27 May 2021, and due to its popularity, was extended until Wednesday, 30 June 2021.
A total of 118 trader registrations were recorded and 383 products were listed on the online market. The product categories included toys, accessories and clothes, health and beauty products, gifting and snacks. Much needed economic opportunities were created through the e-commerce platform and some 400 vendors participated.
From its launch date to its closing date, the online market platform received 19 000 views while the online geographical audience included areas such as the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal, and also neighbouring and international countries such as Kenya, Ghana, United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.
“The goal of the market was to entrench Cape Town’s position as an opportunity and caring city. It served to promote social, economic development and tourism opportunities. The National Government’s Covid-19 restrictions only permitted public gatherings of 250 people and therefore posed a challenge in terms of implementing physical markets at a large scale.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, physical markets could not take place and had to be reimagined to ensure that project objectives would be achieved.
The Cape Town Online Market was an innovative solution to this challenge. It safely provided trading opportunities.The online market platform allowed informal traders to generate income and supplement their income thereby contributing to sustaining livelihoods.
Traders who traded online had greater market exposure and a broader client base. These traders were introduced to a new and innovative way of doing business and how to work with paperless money as all transactions were online-based,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Management, Alderman Grant Twigg.
Feedback with traders and its online customers and how it worked
At the beginning of June, a survey was launched to determine what products customers would like to buy, their experience of shopping on the online market and if they would recommend it to family and friends.
The online market had a live chat box where customers could interact directly with online administrators to raise their queries and make suggestions. Feedback received was utilised to enhance the customer experience. For example, clients could indicate which products they would like to see more of such as fashion and home décor.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of the online market was the number of young entrepreneurs who participated and showcased their handmade products. It is heartwarming to see our youth participate and take full advantage of the economic business opportunities available to them.
The success of the online market presents a strong business case for the permanent adoption of the online market by the City,” said Alderman Twigg.