Businesses, services should move to the cloud – Masha

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The Chief Executive Officer of OLX, Mrs. Lola Masha, speaks to OZIOMA UBABUKOH about how the online company is benefitting from BVN indexing, among other issues

How did OLX overcome the image challenge thrown up by the kidnap case of the house cleaner hired through the site?

While we are very glad that the children were safely reunited with their family, we have put additional controls in place to eliminate future occurrences.  Safety is our number one priority at OLX and we go the extra mile to ensure our users can trade with peace of mind on the site.  We have over 100 field agents that physically verify items posted by all users in Lagos; we have a strong audit team that reviews all items posted by users across the country.  We also work with law enforcement agencies to apprehend scammers and bring them to justice.

What other strategies has OLX put together to square up to the competition on the online marketing sites?

We welcome competition in the business, as we believe it will help educate users on how to use online classifieds.  At OLX, as the number one classifieds website in Nigeria, we focus on three things – 1) Creating excellent products that help our users sell fast and find what they are looking to buy more easily;  2) Continue to delight our users by delivering world-class customer support; and 3) Focus on strong execution across our operations.

Can you comment on the issue of cloud computing and the issue of bridging the digital divide in Africa?

As Internet penetration increases and bandwidth costs become more affordable, we expect to see more businesses and services move to the cloud.  Frankly, it is a more efficient and cost-effective way of running technology services.   The influx of low-cost smartphones has had a tremendous impact in bridging the digital divide as more users can now access the Internet easily on their phones.  The quality of service from the data providers still needs improvement, and we hope that will be solved with customer demanding more for their money.

Where would you like to see OLX in the next five years?

OLX is already a household brand name in Nigeria; however, not everyone has had the opportunity of trying our services. In the next five years, we expect that not only will our brand be known, but also the majority of Nigerians will have tried the service.  OLX is a consumer-facing brand and we intend to ensure that the Nigerian consumer has a great experience with OLX.

Has the BVN indexing helped or harmed operations of online trade?

The BVN indexing  is definitely a benefit for online businesses and we have examples of some e-tailers using BVN data as part of their verification exercise.  User Identity Management is a key problem for online businesses and any initiative that provides additional information about our users is always welcome.

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Businesses, services should move to the cloud – Masha

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