On 1 August 2011, a startup called ZimCarSales launched a new online car marketplace. It’s available on www.zimcarsales.co.zw. You’ve probably come across it in adverts in the press and some motoring events the startup is already sponsoring locally. We had a chat with the startup’s managing director, Nyasha Makuyana, last week and discussed what they have achieved so far and where they’re taking this.
Makuyana says while there are many car dealers, second hand and new, all around the country, there’s no go to online marketplace for people to shop for cars locally. ZimCarSales wants to be that platform he says.
“There are a lot of cars coming in, but car dealers are restricted to the people that see a car at the physical location of the dealer” Makuyana explained. ZimCarSales therefore links sellers with local buyers on the internet wherever they are in the country. Instead of buyers moving around physically from one car dealer to another, they just browse for the vehicle they’re looking for on ZimCarSales, contact the seller and proceed with the buy.
Just seven weeks in, Makuyana says they have already listed more than 2,000 cars and claims 60% of those have been sold successfully. The startup, he says has achieved this by having teams working directly with second hand car dealers on the ground, helping them list their cars as most don’t have enough internet knowledge to market their cars on the site. ZimCarSales has also managed to get major car dealers locally like Amtec, Quest and Croco Motors to list their brand new cars on the site in dedicated sections .
ZimCarSales gets its revenue from charging sellers for listing cars. Private (individual) sellers are charged US $20 to list a car until it’s sold. For some reason, Makuyana wouldn’t disclose how much car dealers pay to list their cars, preferring to just say that it is a lower fee as dealers bring in more business than individuals.
Online car marketplaces are not new in Zimbabwe. One of the very first and most popular was www.auto.co.zw by local web internet, Webdev. As a standalone marketplace, auto.co.zw was discontinued and merged with www.classifieds.co.zw.
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