Many online classified pages are popping up on the Zambian scene but we’ll focus on ZamLoop, one of the fastest growing ones with 3,000+ members and over 17,000 Facebook followers. To use the site you have to visit www.zamloop.com, search for what you’re looking for in the search bar or visit the categories listed on the home page:
I asked Albert Manasyan, Director at ZamLoop, who uses the site the most and he said it’s utilised by families, newly-weds and students who are looking for household items, vehicles, or houses for rent or sale.
Regarding buying patterns different age groups having a different objective for using the website. While people advertising jobs are those of the older age group, those seeking for jobs comprise the younger population. For advertising items for sale or vehicles, those of the older age group advertise the items for sale while the younger age groups become the buyers.
When asked how fast it takes to ensure that goods advertised are still in stock or have been sold and what communication path exists between them and sellers, Albert explained that ZamLoop does not monitor the availability of the items being advertised as that falls under the responsibility of the advertiser. However, if the buyer decides to upgrade their ad from free to paid advertising, they can contact over email, through the ZamLoop Facebook page, or phone or Whatsapp to arrange the transaction. Similarly, if someone is interested in an ad, the website provides the opportunity for them to contact the advertiser directly through the website. Lastly, the advertisers themselves
delete all ads once the item has been purchased, house has been rented out, or employment/employee found.
Sellers can choose how long an ad can run for and state their location for buyers to find them easily. There is a paid advertising option which gives the advertiser a customised look and spot for their item on the site and increases the chances of their ad being viewed and sought after. Buyers can filter their search by location and price:
Buyers can then select the item, job or event they’re interested in and contact the seller, employer or organiser through in-mail on the site.
Anyone can advertise anything they want (as long as they comply with the site’s policies) and vouchers are not provided to attract buyers but discounts are given to returning (paying) customers. As part of its corporate social responsibility, Zamloop also does not charge charitable organizations for using their paid advertising services. They can access them for free.
What challenges are there in running a classifieds business online?
Certainly and one of the major ones is behavior change. While a significant number of people have smartphones and access the Internet every day for various reasons, many often rely on older methods of advertising – posts on walls, advertising in newspapers, or word to mouth. ZamLoop has to work with both population groups and find a way to bridge this gap – those that advertise on the Internet and those that prefer to use other methods.
I asked Albert for any advice to a newbie buyer/seller on ZamLoop to get the best possible experience through the site. He said, “First and foremost, always include a picture of the item you are advertising. It always increases the chance of your ad being viewed as it becomes more attractive than plain text. And second, never be ashamed to ask. Drop us an email with the picture and the text if you’re not certain about its look; we are always ready to help and customize it to your best needs.”
Check out all classifieds on ZamLoop here.