BUYING, SELLING AND THE CORONAVIRUS ERA: HARNESSING THE ENORMOUS OPPORTUNITIES ON MARTLINES.NG

Before we started feeling the stings of the current corona virus pandemic, so many persons argued for and against the "New World Order". This means exactly different things for different people depending on what they subscribe to. In the heat of the moment, A notable Pastor made connections between 5G, coronavirus, vaccine and the new world order. While this may or may not be true, I do not want to engage in the debate. Rather, the reality of the moment is that the world is actually moving towards a new order. If the projections that are being made about the end of the virus is true, then we are in for a very long battle and cohabitation with the virus and this certainly begs for innovative approach to life.

There are indications that we may have to live with the virus for 5 years more or less! 5 years of social distancing, handwashing and wearing of facemasks? Personally, I'm tired after just too months. However, our personal wishes will not save the situation at hand, but like Darwin developing new adaptation features will. Authorities in the field of economic planning are talking of the post pandemic period and the changes that organizations and individuals need to adapt. Digitalization of the market place is at the center of it.

When the former CBN Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo came up with an informed position in his article "Can Africa afford lockdowns?", so many were yet to grasp fully the severity of the problem we have in Africa. The government employs only a little percentage of the population, the private sector even with the not encouraging number of employed workers is hard-hit by the economic turmoil occasioned by the virus. This, then, means that the greater percentage of the population strive daily for their livelihood.

In a closed economy and with the fall in oil prices, the government will run out of funds, the private sector will be paralyzed and this is very dangerous. Again, if the economy is opened up completely, there will be greater risk of the spread of the virus in such a way that we will overstretch the health sector

Daily, millions of Nigerians make ends meet through our numerous markets. Anambra state alone has over 60 of such markets! And all the states in Nigeria have markets where people buy and sell in their numbers. With the need for social distancing how can a seller in the market sell goods without being at risk of contacting the virus? The solution some may argue is to close the markets in order to keep our people safe. While this is true, it is not beneficial nor sustainable. Again, some may argue for the use of e-commerce platforms like Jumia and so on but this too will cripple our markets while putting the Commonwealth in the hands of a few.

At this point, we need to keep money in circulation while making sure that our people are safe! What then shall we do than go digital? Imagine digital main market Onitsha, is that not awesome?

Thankfully, we are not just at the point of imagination at this point, but that of action. We already have a digital Main Market Onitsha and other markets! How? The answer is simple - Martlines.ng!

Martlines.ng is an indigenous platform that is aimed at giving digital presence to all the markets in Nigeria by creating an online shop for all the vendors on the markets through the use of their markets and corresponding lines. In this way, the vendors can showcase their goods and services while the customers can from the comfort of their homes visit their shops virtually, connect directly with them through whatsapp or phone calls and either make orders for their goods or visit the market with great ease to collect their goods!What this means for a seller who has a shop in the market is that his physical shop in say main market Onitsha will have an online version where he can post his products for prospective customers to buy from. These customers can come from anywhere all over the world since the platform has a reach beyond Nigeria. With this, his customer base will increase and profits too. For the customer, the practice of moving from one shop to the next to get a feel of the prizes (igba ipala) before buying will be greatly reduced. This is important because there are customers who come to the market to buy say a trouser or two and who arrive the market say by 12 noon and it will take them two hours or more to get a feel of the prices, imagine the time wasted! And if every customer who comes to the market were to do this, imagine how crowded the market will be. Again, with the need for social distancing and containing the spread of the virus, the need for customers to make physical contacts with the markets and the sellers will be greatly reduced, the waybill option will come in handy. Such customers would not be weighed down with the monopoly of price which places them at a disadvantage when shopping with some e-commerce platforms, rather, they can make enquiries from other vendors from different states and markets before making a choice.Thankfully, the markets in Porthacourt is 100% covered on our platform while Anambra state markets is 60% covered. Enugu, Abia and Imo markets will be launched soon. Feel free, check out our App by downloading from the google play store or visit our website Martlines.ng and have a look. A trial surely, will convince you!Finally remember that our aim is for you and your loved ones to be safe, shop easy and without hassle! Make the call now and let's grow with our changing world. #staysafe #shopeasy #digitizingallNigerianmarkets