From Papua New Guinea to the world: meet Shopsmart, PNG’s first ecommerce marketplace

Welcome,

Inspired by her fellow entrepreneurs, Emstret Holdings CEO Vani Nades has launched Shopsmart PNG, an online marketplace for Papua New Guineans to ‘do business, irrespective of size’.

Honey is just one of the product lines being sold on Shopsmart PNG.

In the past year, companies of every size have had to find innovative ways to do business to survive. Some businesses opted to launch online platforms, others found it easier to diversify, but small businesses had it particularly tough.

‘The time of COVID has been very, very challenging. One of the experiences is that we as SMEs have it really hard to keep up with rent and access to the market. It is difficult, and women in business in particular have been very resilient,’ Nades tells Business Advantage PNG.

‘Shopsmart is a digital inclusiveness platform that makes it possible for SMEs and informal markets to connect to a wider market nationwide and globally.’

Nades says that she drew inspiration from her own challenges and fellow entrepreneurs, who face challenges because of the logistics and cost of getting a product to a customer. Their struggles led her to launch Shopsmart PNG, which claims to be the country’s first ecommerce marketplace.

‘Shopsmart is a digital inclusiveness platform that makes it possible for SMEs and informal markets to connect to a wider market nationwide and globally,’ explains Nades.

She and her team liaise with business owners to help them to register as Vendor to start and manage their online shop. It’s a straightforward process: the business owner contacts Shopsmart PNG or easily can go online to shopsmartpng.com complete details as a vendor and submit for approval. Once the business is approved, ‘their space is created, they can go online, upload their products or services and start trading from anywhere at their comfort zones. This is very convenient.’

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‘All we want is to promote the uniqueness of PNG in the global market, we have potential to do so,’ says Nades.

PNG’s first eBay

Emstret CEO Vani Nades at the launch of Shopsmart PNG. Credit: Emstret

Since the launch we have experienced an increase in vendors that are in the business of artisans, honey and coffee producers, spice vendors and clothing vendors many more are signing up. Nades describes as ‘PNG’s first eBay’.

Shopsmart applies best online practices and has integrated Kina Bank and Bank South Pacific’s internet payment gateways to facilitate payment in PNG and around the world.

It is also working with PNG Air, Post PNG, FedEx and DHL to address PNG’s logistical challenges and guarantee the delivery of goods door-to-door anywhere in PNG and around the world. With this distribution channels, customers are able to get their tracking number, and then their goods packaged and secured. ‘

‘At the back end we make sure customers receive their goods,’ says Nades.

She says that every time there is a transaction, ‘the supplier gets a notification via email and we get a notification as well. We can say to the shop owner, “hey, have you seen this email?” And make sure the customers get a tracking number for their goods.’

Getting on board

Shopsmart PNG offers four different plans for vendors, including a free option, Premium Plan, Gold Plan and Unlimited Plan. Those on paid plans have their own online shop.

Nades is providing training on ecommerce platforms and helps vendors with branding.

‘The challenge is some users don’t have experience or exposure to do digital business. So we are going in partnership with various organisations to run digital online training platforms for Shopsmart,’ she explains.

‘When they grow, we grow as well. At the end of the day, every one of us, belong to a community.’

Shopsmart also has an electronic wallet (ewallet) so people can top up their account and do transfers. In the future, she plans to launch a solution for secure cashless transaction to further help local entrepreneurs especially in the rural villages across PNG.

‘We are solving distribution challenges and market reach, she adds. ‘We try to develop partnerships as we go along, to bring them in, to actually help our SMEs. When they grow, we grow as well. At the end of the day, every one of us belongs to a community.’

Comments

  1. Kila Gapi says

    Congratulations sis, for this great platform innovative initiative, I have started my small business, please let how I can join, Prayers and blessings

  2. Jacquie tibong says

    Thank you Vani. I have a guest house In Bogia. Madang Province. How do I market through your platform?

  3. Lynn Karo Tipe says

    Thanks for the info.I am interested how do I join.
    Lynn Karo Tipe Bailey( Tourism Niugini Limited)

  4. Collyn Punupo says

    Excellent.

  5. Wow this will be the way forward for SMEs in PNG to market their products,especially those struggling with their products markets.

    • Vani Nades says

      Absolutely agree with you and platform we can share to our local businesses to leverage on this platform to trade and do business. Increase their market reach and promote the uniqueness of our products globally. Thank you very much and appreciated

  6. Kingsley Nicholas Winuain says

    Thanks for this innovative initiative

  7. John MEBIL says

    Thank you Vani for pioneering this initiative for the purpose of unlocking the Great potential this country has with MSME mainly orchestrated by ladies.
    My organisation is supporting in agricultural products for niche/Fair Trade market so this platform will assist tremendously.

    • Vani Nades says

      Thank you so much John, we have so much great potential and how unique PNG is positioned to trade nationwide and globally. I really do believe in our talent and potential, we just have to create platforms for them to have access to do business at ease. Our Team has been very great in moving this forward. We look forward to assisting you with Shopsmart PNG. Keep inspiring out there.

  8. This is truly wonderful, Vani. I’d enquire with you later on whether I can market/sell my products via you platform.

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