The Mandilas market web app is a platform that aims at connecting traders in the physical market to the global audience of fashion shoppers and retailers, creating a larger accessibility to the mass market of fashion items.
In the heart of bustling Lagos, nestled amidst the vibrant streets and teeming with the echoes of time, lies the seventy-eight-year-old Mandilas Market, situated at CMS, Tinubu Square, Broad Street, Lagos Island.
The thriving Market holds tales of bygone moments and how history has shaped its existence. The market is known for its affordable and quality items in the fashion sector, such as shoes, bags, fashion glasses, fashion accessories, clothes etc.
Although there is a large volume of trading taking place daily, customers frequently voice their frustration with the difficulties of navigating the old market, which requires a significant investment of time and energy. Furthermore, individuals with busy schedules find physical shopping to be a challenging and intimidating experience.
The possibility of providing hassle-free shopping at the renowned Mandilas Market intrigued Olaleye Olaolu, the founder of Strongwavye Technology Ltd. He had observed the challenges faced by traders in showcasing their products to potential customers and wondered if an online presence could bridge the gap between buyers and sellers.
Driven by a desire to help traders who often sit idle in their shops waiting for customers, he conceived the idea of creating the Mandilas Market web application. The goal was to not only increase business opportunities but also eliminate the problems that shoppers face when trying to locate the right traders who sell the products they need.
Click here to visit Mandilas Marketplace web app
“Your commercial dealings should not take forever at Mandilas Market.”- Olaleye Olaolu, Founder of Mandilas Market
Recognizing the drawbacks of physical shopping and the potential for technology to enhance the experience for both traders and customers, Olaleye and his team developed a web application that enables buyers and sellers to interact with the market from the convenience of their homes.
The Mandilas Market web app serves as a digital bridge between the physical market and individuals who may face both local and geographical barriers. The platform aims to provide traders with a wider customer base, reaching not just local audiences but also global fashion shoppers and retailers. This, in turn, increases accessibility to the mass market of fashion items.
One key feature of the platform is the ability for traders to accept cryptocurrency payments, which can expand their revenue opportunities. Additionally, the product live stream feature enables customers to view vendors' products in real-time. The team is also exploring the possibility of a Reality Augmentation feature, which would allow customers to try products virtually and simplify the buying process.
The Mandilas Market web app alos addresses security concerns that are typically associated with physical shopping, such as theft and fraud. This empowers more traders to participate in the market while reducing the cost and stress of transportation for physical shopping. Customers can conveniently make online payments through a secure payment channel or opt for payment on delivery.
The accessibility structure of the web app enables seamless transactions between vendors and buyers. This increases vendor revenue while saving customers time, money, and energy. The team aims to provide an easy and enjoyable way for customers and traders to buy and sell products, ultimately revolutionizing the traditional way of trading in the Mandilas Market.
In a Q&A with Olaolu, who’s the founder of the Mandilas Market web app, he shared his thoughts with us, and the following conversations ensued:
Q: “Who is your target market, and how do you plan on reaching them?”
A: “Our target market is Mandilas market and all the local markets in Lagos with strong international relationships with China, Vietnam, Turkey etc.
Our target audience is vendors in the Mandilas market and shoppers around the globe.”
Q: “What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced while developing the platform, and how were you able to overcome them?”
A: “Money, people and time. Not having access to funds when needed can mess things up and slow down the working pace. Starting with this project, I realized that people are also not so easy to manage, and one can be skilful in their profession and be a poor team player.”
Q: “How do you ensure that the e-commerce platform provides a seamless and consistent experience for customers who are used to shopping in physical stores?”
A: “Averagely large number of people would definitely prefer to go to a physical store because of the following reasons: They are still determining if they will get exactly what they ordered. Also, they would want to try the product on them.
And most importantly, they don’t trust online payment services. But all of these challenges are elements that form our solution as we have been able to integrate innovative technologies to overcome all the above. We have a good return policy. All our vendors are verified, we know them, and we can see them daily, so they can not afford to behave as they, please.
Our payment gateway is the best, as there are no issues of double charging shoppers’ cards, and we don’t have access to shopper credit card information.
We also have an AI integrated for testing out products online before purchasing. All of these were done to create a seamless and consistent shopping experience. In addition, our design, colours, and arrangement are captivating.
Q: “What kind of products does the e-commerce platform offer, and how does it compare to the existing physical model?”
A: “Our focus is on fashion. Our market is the main and only fashion hub in Nigeria. You will surely get any fashion accessories or items you are looking for, all types of shoes, sneakers, clothing, jewellery, cap etc.
We offer various fashion items and accessories. So, comparing it to the physical market is like comparing a twin child.”
Q: “What distinct features does Mandilas market web app have compared to other products?”
A: “Our edge is that we have a real physical market where people can visit. And every store/shop in the physical market will be featured on our platform.”
Q: “How do you handle customer service and support through the e-commerce platform, and what are some of the most common issues customers face?”
A: “We have 24/7 customer support handled by compassionate and professionals who are eager and willing to help customers resolve complaints.”
Q: “Can you talk about your team and their experience/background?”
A: “We have the best team in the world. We are not perfect, but we have been able to dwell with each other with mutual respect and honour.
But having a group of people with different views, opinions, backgrounds, and experience is tough to manage, but with the help of God, we’ve been able to work together and progress towards our vision.”
Q: “What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned as the Lead-team/founder, and what advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs?”
A: “Vision is powerful, but your ability to transform or develop your vision into reality is the entrepreneurial power.
Clarity is Golden; you must know where you are heading, how to get there, your ETA, what you will do when you get there, etc.
Nobody will follow you if you don’t know where you are going, especially when the benefit is small. As a team leader, knowing how to energize team members and align their energy with one another is essential.
You should also continue to teach your team and let them understand the vision. Being an entrepreneur is one of the most challenging things to practice, especially in Nigeria. It is not a smooth or easy journey. You will be hungry, and you will be broke.”
Q: “What are the best ways to reach the team?”
A: “You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, and our physical office is at 86 Broad Street, Lagos Island.”
Q: “Can you share the goals for this project?”
A: “One crucial goal for us at Mandilas market web app is to empower traders across West Africa through our platform.”
Olaleye Olaolu attributes the birth of the online Mandilas marketplace to the influence of the physical marketplace, which he gained from more than a decade of trading experience in various market environments, including B2B, B2C, and C2C. Drawing from this experience, he and his team created a digital platform that would enhance the trading process at Mandilas and provide maximum exposure for the 78-year-old market.
He believes their solution is unique due to the combination of the existing physical and online markets. As a result, he describes their platform as a "Phygital" e-commerce platform, which he claims is the first of its kind in Nigeria and will give them a competitive advantage.