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If I were OLX CEO

A lot is evolving in Nigeria cyber space and new players are playing it big. I have carefully watched OLX (http://olx.com.ng) and its strategy, I must commend it. This company is characterized with the simple concept - listing. OLX is everywhere, on the street, on tricycle, on Cable, on Radio, in your house and into all our faces. "OLX it" is gradually turning into another word for "Sell it". I must again commend this great Company.

However, at a point I felt it has so much money to throw away, especially when considering dangerous advert of the company which must have attracted cool cash, yet I have a strong feeling that it is not maximizing the power of the platform it has spent so much money on to stick on everybody's brain. I am sure the boss would argue he is building the brand. I am also certain the argument will not be void of the need to have a simple process of creating a listing. I can bet that another argument would revolve around the need for a platform that is so straight forward, but alas, there is a reason behind the current growth of web.

Gradually, OLX, the number one listing website in Nigeria has lost its integrity for being that reputable listing site and has turned into the scammers den. It has become a safe haven for those perpetrating fraudulent acts. The norm on OLX is to tell a buyer to pay a commitment fee so he can be rest assured of his transaction. The seller then promises you that he will send the product through postal service and have you pay the balance at delivery. If you fall for the cheap talk, you are doomed because that is how your money goes down the drain, then "...unto the next person". If I were OLX CEO, it is time for a new strategy and new dawn.

Below are five things I would do to sail the Company to the next level.

Emails and Phone numbers validation

There is a reason why e-mail addresses are being validated. I realized this in a hard way at the early stage of developing Playmyjamz. Playmyjamz is an application that promotes up and coming artistes through nomination. The first mistake I made because I wanted a simple and non-clumsy process was that I chose not to validate e-mail addresses users registered with. There and then, my first problem came when people started registering on the platform with invalid e-mail addresses. This resulted in multiple registrations for the sake of voting more and this really dealt with the system as everything on the application was so wrong. We don't even know who was truly a user...If I were OLX CEO I would start Validating users phone number with SMS or Voice prompt to reduce users using wrong phone numbers on the website.

OLX Verified Users Badge

My next move would be to have a feature that verifies user on OLX and give them badges. I would create a team that does forensic on users by confirming if their phone numbers and location are right, and also, call prospective sellers to confirm they are real.

Buyer’s reputation is increased by having a badge that verifies it is from OLX. This feature has really helped major social sites like Facebook and Twitter where people impersonate people everyday. Verification by such site shows you are communicating with the right person. There must be a scoring system before this badge is issued to a user and there should be no compromise of the system by any means.

Review/Rate Users Reputation

I would allow registered Users to be able to rate and review other user’s reputation. We read reviews and it goes a long way to shaping our decision. I have always made 90% of my decision especially when trying to purchase an app on my phone based on review. I am so sure 70% of the people can't be wrong. I know my buyers might love to have their friends and family review them better, but one true buyer's review proves real and genuine.

I would pay the sellers

I would turn around the game by not leaving my buyers at the mercy of the sellers. I would rather allow the buyers pay me then pay the seller after a satisfactory transaction between both parties. I would discuss with my development team to build a system that when the buyer confirms, he is satisfied with the transaction and will not open a dispute ticket after two days of paying the seller. If a buyer wants to trust his/her instinct by not making me the middle man, he will rather face the music and dance to the Skelewu on his own.

This feature would give me transactional fees that would increase my Company's income.

Customers open a dispute feature

Buyers and Sellers would need a dispute ticket if anything goes wrong in between the 48hours period I give to remit the payment to the seller. This, I would investigate and would pay to the right person. Resolving dispute this way would make my users happy and I would have made someone very happy.

This and so many more would be my steps to save the Company from the mess it is currently going through. If OLX wants to be profitable it needs to think NOW...


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