It has been an interesting week at our gift shop Toubin. One of the products we introduced were being sold like hot cakes and within 7 days we’re almost sold out (actually at the date of this article we have only 1 left – buy it now). We expected some sales but certainly didn’t think that all stock would be sold out once we did some serious marketing.
Now speaking of marketing, we used social media, email marketing and of course our very own website. Most of the leads and sales came from social media, in particular, Facebook.
Our gift shop has been a trial and error kind of thing, especially with e-commerce, but this past week has certainly taught us a few lessons. Some of these lessons are:
E-commerce is certainly on the rise in Papua New Guinea. While some are a little skeptical about using their credit or Visa debit card online, there are others who use it with breeze. Most of those who purchased online using their card probably have purchased on other sites before so they had more confidence shopping on Toubin.
The other thing about PNG e-commerce is that potential buyers were a little hesitant buying from a PNG based online shop especially one which is fairly new on the scene. It’s more of a “trust” issue and it really is up to the shop owner to provide quality customer service to gain that trust. It takes time.
One area we tried hard to show reliability and create trust on us as a new brand “Toubin” was to provide deliveries within 24 hours around the city. We’re glad we met most of the orders within that period and buyers were happy.
We had interest mainly from Port Moresby and some weren’t quite sure how to purchase online even though we provided them the link to the site. Some customers preferred to order online but pay on a “Cash on delivery” basis which was fine with us. After all, a sale is sale right?
The Air Sofa Laybags were being sold at K200 a piece which in our view isn’t a price were you can spend on impulse. And the fact that it was being sold online, we knew it was going to take a little more effort to convince potential buyers to take that step of buying. Given the results we’ve we did enough to convince these potential buyers.
Our payment portal on Toubin shows prices in PGK which certainly helped a lot of the local visitors browsing the site. If it were set at AUD or USD, it would have been very discouraging and confusing especially when trying to figure out the PGK value under current exchange rates. But we considered this issue prior to launching so that has saved us an enormous amount of time and it does add that convenience to local buyers which we expect to make up most of our customer base.
All in all, it’s been a positive experience. We’ve learnt that the opportunities are there for Papua New Guineans to explore online. Potential entrepreneurs don’t need to compete with the rest of the world. Concentrating locally but acting globally is possible and can reap huge rewards.
PNG already has Facebook pages selling a wide variety of items. Not many of them have ventured into e-commerce. But there certainly is a market there for Papua New Guineans. Even if potential buyers are a little skeptical about buying online with a credit card or visa debit card, there is a market and there are ways to get over some of the business issues you might come across.
We’re working on our next product line so keep an eye out for Toubin!
Here are some of the postings we did online to market the product. Take time to read some of the comments made by our fans: