This year Papua New Guinea saw the launch of Jungle, an online marketplace for businesses of all sizes. Jungle co-founders share with PNG Business Advantage the challenges they overcame and their views on the future of online retailing in PNG.
Jungle was developed by co-founders Christopher O’Brien, Tom Bill and Demetri Allayialis to provide a “world class” service that enables wide distribution of products across Papua New Guinea at cost effective prices.
Allayialis says that when he traveled from Australia to PNG or Port Moresby to other towns in PNG he used to see a lot of people bringing goods back to their towns and then using shipping companies. to send these products to places without airports.
“Competition is welcome in space because, as O’Brien explains, it helps all players improve their game and gets people used to the concept of online shopping.”
“I just thought it was so difficult for half of the people in PNG to get good quality products. And then there are all these small towns where, for example, the prices of a TV are three or four times higher than in POM, but the shipping costs are not that high. ‘
Jungle, as Allayialis puts it, “wants to eliminate the hassle and make sure people all over PNG can buy products from the same areas at the same prices. We want to make things a little easier for everyone.
All sellers that appear on the marketplace have been vetted, and only companies registered with the Investment Promotion Authority have a storefront in Jungle.
Small businesses have also started to take an interest in becoming Jungle vendors.
“We are starting to allow them [to join], but SMEs must prove that they are a registered company and that they have been operating for at least 12 months ”, explains O’Brien PNG Business Advantage.
“We encourage SMEs to apply. We want to encourage all those moms and dads who are doing crafts and trying to sell their Meri blouses, ”Allayialis adds.
Its a question of confidence
Online marketplaces are still a relatively new development in PNG. Competition is welcome in the space because, as O’Brien explains, it helps all players improve their game and gets people used to the concept of online shopping – trust is key here.
This is where Jungle tries to separate itself from the pack. Its strength, according to O’Brien, “is to bring customers who want to buy an item and have them have a good time, to offer them exceptional customer service and to deliver their products at the right price and at the right time.”
Their philosophy is to always put the customer first.
Jungle has set up Kina Bank’s online payment platform to facilitate transactions and has had talks with delivery and postal services nationwide to attempt to enable accessible and on-time delivery of products.
Bill explains that the team is constantly optimizing processes to deal with road infrastructure issues. He says infrastructure issues will need to be addressed to keep up with the changes the e-commerce revolution brings to PNG.
Online marketplaces in PNG present a unique challenge because in order for them to be successful and gain the trust of sellers and buyers, every aspect of the supply chain must run smoothly. This, in turn, affects customer behavior and ensures customer return.
“It starts a kind of culture shift,” Bill says. “We’re calling all the customers we’ve caught. We help them through the process. We make sure they receive their package. We control every customer. ‘
“We want to train people and teach every customer how to use Jungle,” he adds. “It’s more than word of mouth. “