From begging on streets, entrepreneur launches e-marketplace

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Founder of Red Puppy, Tankiso Motaung.
Founder of Red Puppy, Tankiso Motaung.

Tankiso Motaung spent five years on Grayston Drive in Sandton with a placard begging for a job from passing motorists. He eventually got employment, gaining experience and the digital know-how to develop an online marketplace platform, Red Puppy.

Motaung, an electrical engineer, says after being frustrated by long queues in the shops and difficulty finding the right products at the right price, he decided to launch Red Puppy earlier this month.

He tells ITWeb his 100% black-owned online marketplace also has iOS and Android apps, and is not just another ordinary platform.

“One of the features that distinguishes Red Puppy is we see beyond the entrepreneurs. Our blog’s focus is on the person behind the brand. The opulent experience we offer including the gifting section. Our focus on local brands. We understand the people's needs because we are the people.”

Motaung and his team believe Red Puppy can offer South Africans an opportunity to shop from the comfort of their homes without worrying about crowded malls and shops.

The platform also wants a slice of SA’s estimated R10 billion online shopping sector. Motaung hopes to take on global online giants such as Amazon and local firm Takealot.

Red Puppy is the second online shopping platform to launch in SA in recent months after Allsale Club, which debuted in September last year, promising to offer international brands at significantly low prices.

Allsale Club is a subscription-based online department store that seeks to challenge the supply and pricing paradigm of SA’s online retail platforms such as Takealot, Bidorbuy and Zando.

According to World Wide Worx’s 2019 study, online retail is projected to reach 1.4% of total retail in South Africa, based on an estimated R1 trillion spent via traditional channels in 2018. It says the 2% mark is likely to be reached by 2022.

The forecasts by World Wide Worx for the next three years, from 2018 to 2020, show online retail sales more than doubling from 2016, to almost R20 billion, a year sooner than originally forecast in 2016.

“Online retailers in South Africa still make up a small proportion of overall retail, but for the first time we see the promise of a broader range of businesses in terms of category, size, turnover and employee numbers. This is a sign that our local market is beginning to mature,” it says.

Motaung is confident his marketplace has a chance of making it big, as he says SA is ready for Red Puppy because the majority of people are tech-savvy and are looking for convenient solutions to free up their time.

“SMMEs play a pivotal role in the economy of the country; this platform will expose them to a wider, more diverse audience.”

According to Motaung, research is crucial: “There are a lot of opportunities but one cannot afford to cut corners. Know and understand your chosen industry.”

He says Red Puppy features a variety of vendors displaying environmentally-friendly products and will also be an advertising platform for services providers.

“There is a huge potential in online marketplaces in South Africa as e-commerce is predicted to continue to experience exponential growth.”

Red Puppy deliveries are currently only available in Gauteng but the company plans to expand the services nationally in the future.

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