COVID-19 was an unprecedented global tragedy that no business could successfully plan risk mitigation for. Worldwide, business pre-pandemic certainly had a different face and different ways of conducting business.
South Africa has taken longer to ease off restrictions than the international trend, but as we move into the second half of the year and firmly grasp how the workplace has changed in the post-lockdown era, Junk Mail Marketplaces make for a great local business study.
From Junk Mail we can learn how to practice quick decision-making and agility with grace in order to keep up with the evolving marketplace.
Junk Mail is the dynamic marketplace leader who has illustrated time and again that they are not simply a platform where buyers and sellers meet, but rather thought leaders showing us that the only way to keep relevant is to continually evaluate how to get closer to the transaction.
Healthy Curiosity: Explore new opportunities
As a business owner, don’t shy away from research simply for the sake of learning.
Junk Mail Marketplaces recognised their need for progress in a pre-COVID landscape – they wanted to stop being viewed as simply the Classified Advertising company, and to create a forward-thinking eco-system where buyers and sellers have equally great quality transactions.
In 2017, they started to examine buying and selling cars online, but when they did the research, they realised the complexities behind streamlining these transactions would mean allocating massive amounts of capital and resources into a venture like this.
Ultimately, two key elements weren’t ready yet:
· The technology wasn’t available
· The consumer wasn’t ready to make this leap.
Adapt quickly to the current market conditions
The restrictions the COVID-19 pandemic imposed on the country put a firm stop to their traditional print business.
And although losing such a long-term part of their business felt like a very personal blow, they decided to forge ahead and look at what new opportunities were emerging as a result of the lockdowns and the subsequent shift in consumer behaviour.
COVID propelled their momentum by merging everyone into a new way of transacting.
Leverage when the market is ready
Traditional auction houses could no longer operate, and all transactions now started to take place online.
Previously consumer readiness was a key obstacle, but this new way of transacting removed the stigma, and made it clear that the only decision left to make was when to join the online auction space.
Junk Mail has a firmly set ethos to get into a new space quickly and hopefully be the first business in that particular territory. With that in mind, they wasted no time immediately setting up their online auctions team and beating their competitors to it.
Within three months they had registered a new company, established their team and held their first online auction. This may sound like they simply have a great appetite for risk, but this is just the Junk Mail modus operandi: Identify, assess, and implement.
In two short and tumultuous years, their auction team has managed to sell almost thirty million rands worth of stock from car auctions alone.
Hold on to your teachings while looking firmly ahead
Unlike their venture into the online space, where they attempted to mirror their print business, Junk Mail has learnt not to protect their existing models too much.
Although auctions are separate from their traditional marketplace business, they are intrinsic to what they are doing, and with this in mind, they aim to move forth in a fearless manner as the growth opportunities shown in the online auction space are impressive.
Market leaders again, Junk Mail is currently the only local auction house that exists purely online.
While they’re still not seen as a mainstream way of buying, Junk Mail wants to become pioneers and disruptors in this marketplace, making it a credible way for all to transact.
Evolve and grow, but stay true to your core focus
Junk Mail Marketplaces will feed into their auction business, and their key focus remains the same as ever – create a good user experience.
Dynamism is something auctions and Junk Mail both possess and with this new arm of the business, the customer wins as they have easily acquired another platform from which to sell without doing any additional work.
Junk Mail has done all the groundwork by creating this new sales outlet. Bringing their existing customers’ attention to it removes the drudgery from the process and creates a quicker transaction time.
While Junk Mail is the first to admit their online auction business is in its development phase, the passion which drives them is the same ingredient that has led to their incredible success for the past 30 years.
As we settle into the new ‘normal’, one certainty we still have from a pre-pandemic world is the promise that Junk Mail aspires to keep evolving and growing, and their triumph in the past two years is certainly worth celebrating.