Creating business value through e-marketplace participation: a South African exploratory case study – Kalahari Marketplace

Blanken, Olaf (2015-03)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: E-commerce in South Africa is currently experiencing considerable growth, as in the rest of the world. Substantial foreign investments are being made in selected South African online retail stores and the majority of businesses have an online presence to sell or promote their products and services. Yet, as e-commerce is a dynamic and relatively new industry, there is a need for South African companies to understand business model adaptation for e-commerce, and specifically for successful e-marketplace participation. Kalahari Marketplace was established in 2011 as a C:C platform for customers to sell books and media. In January 2014, this platform was expanded to a fully integrated B:C platform that enables third-party retailers to sell directly to customers in various categories. The Kalahari Marketplace platform follows the same development outline as the very successful Marketplace platform in the United States. The premise is that sellers have an additional channel to sell to customers they would not normally have had, and customers benefit by having access to a wide product range and competitive pricing. The aim of this research study is to understand the typical business model of a successful e-marketplace participant. It furthermore set out to explore the success factors, which translate into value creation for the seller achieved through participation in an e-marketplace. This investigation was done through a case study approach by examining existing sellers retailing through Kalahari Marketplace. To achieve the research aim, qualitative, exploratory research was conducted. The research method involved a combination of primary and secondary research. Secondary research was conducted regarding the external environmental factors of Kalahari Marketplace sellers. Primary data was gathered through in-depth semi-structured interviews with Kalahari Marketplace sellers. The external environmental analysis for participating in an e-marketplace, such as Kalahari Marketplace, was overall positive, taking into consideration challenges such as expensive Internet and low Internet usage penetration. The key findings from the internal analyses were that participating in an e-marketplace has substantial benefits for a traditional retailer that wants to trade online. These advantages include transaction cost savings, exposure to new customers, and reduced marketing expenses. The following recommendations were made for successful e-marketplace participation: • Take an active involvement in e-marketplace listings; • Effective procurement and use of resources; • Excellent customer service; • Build reliable and cost effective delivery channels; and • Offer a wide and mixed product range. The research limitation of this study stated that Kalahari Marketplace is a moderately new B:C e-retailing platform; therefore, retailers are still learning to adapt. Suggested additional research involves a wide-reaching quantitative research into key success factors for e-marketplace participation from a South African perspective.

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