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Why build a Community Marketplace?

Never give up on something you really want. It's difficult to wait, but way more difficult to regret.

A Wise One

There are marketplaces for almost everything now - at least that's how it feels. Many toss this phrase 'community marketplace' around quite often. Without context, it's hard to understand the true meaning of it.

Let's dig in a bit deeper and analyse initial success for online marketplaces, their challenges in today's information age and how many of them really live up to the term 'Community marketplace'.

Online Marketplaces

Since the dawn of the information age, one of the defining moments that added direct value to people's life came in the form of marketplaces.

Online marketplaces bridged the gap in traditional brick and mortar businesses, where centrally managed supply chain couldn't keep up with the changing user demands, or adapt and deliver on time. For so many years traditional businesses got comfort in the fact that they had a monopoly over choice and options they offer to sell. Such choices are seldom made with user demand, rather it's driven by profit margin, sale volume etc.

Online marketplaces democratised the space with providing sellers with a platform to reach users directly. Any change in user demand could be identified and products or services adapted to such demands quickly. Those who didn't adapt lost business over time and eventually got wiped out. Ever since so many variants of online marketplace got created and were very successful. Starting with eBay, many more marketplaces including Amazon, Etsy or our own trade-me, had runaway success in this space, primarily due to their ability to innovate new ways to deliver value for consumers and expand the market beyond their initial offers..

There are still many more niches to be explored and catered to, that giants in the online marketplace couldn't reach out. They seem to have become victims of their own success.

Challenges in existing marketplaces

In New Zealand, Trade me and more recently Facebook marketplace dominate the scene for online marketplaces. They have 1000's of sellers and many 100,000's of listings every day. For many providers on these platforms, ease of becoming a seller in the online marketplace is very attractive, especially for non-traditional players. As a buyer, consumers find it cheaper to buy online with comparable products in the market. Sometimes, these products are unavailable in traditional local markets. Its 'win-win-win' nirvana state for all participants in these online marketplaces.

However, if you dig a little deeper you might notice it's a version of 'Brick and mortar' business. Retail businesses and professional seller platforms are preferred sellers in these marketplaces rather than households. It's a volume game that these traditional retail businesses know quite well. They're happy to pay extra for ad placements, promotions etc within the platform and it's a profitable proposition for the marketplaces as well.

Just try a search for things like fresh produce in your local neighbourhoods on TradeMe or Facebook marketplace. They tout about features like 'geo-tagging' as a way to promote buying local. But most listings primary targets were wider urban population for things that are other than essentials for the most part. Don't get me wrong - I'm all in for buying a pre-loved, hardly used iPhone X for half price, because the owner needs to buy the latest and greatest iPhone.

We believe real value add marketplaces can provide should come from listening to end-user requirements and enabling households to explore and interact within their own communities.

For traditional marketplaces - their major concern would be 'How much profit that provides for our investors and helps our bottom line?'

Community at its core

At genibyte, our approach to building a marketplace starts with local communities and their needs.

We are focusing on two aspects of a healthy community:

1. Self-sustaining food culture that reduces food waste, promotes local produce and reflects food diversity in the community.

2. Self-sufficient households with multiple streams of income that are better at handling family emergencies and provide for community economic wellbeing.

Our product and service offerings would anchor on achieving these aspects along with promoting earth-friendly practises.

Every genibyte community gets built from the ground up by local community visionaries based on the unique needs of their communities. While the marketplace provides consistency with its processes and guidelines to prioritise your requirements, the products and services are very much based on the local community and their needs.

With this approach, genibyte's marketplace app CommKit, aims to create community marketplaces that will transform the way we live and interact with extended families in our local community.

Together, We can build communities that support each other and grow together!!