Supporting the Launch of a B2B Marketplace for Diagnostics in Kenya and Nigeria

June 19, 2024
Supporting the Launch of a B2B Marketplace for Diagnostics in Kenya and Nigeria

Our market analysis in Kenya and Nigeria guided the rollout of a B2B marketplace connecting buyers and sellers of diagnostics, aiming to accelerate adoption of innovative tools. Insights led to an activation plan focusing on visibility, strategic positioning, and user engagement, ensuring the platform meets diverse market needs and sustains active participation

Our client developed a B2B marketplace designed to connect buyers and sellers in a secure digital environment, facilitating the purchase of diagnostics. The goal was to promote the accelerated uptake of innovative and cost-effective diagnostic tools. The client needed help understanding the critical drivers and enablers to attract and retain stakeholders on the platform. We conducted a market analysis in Kenya and Nigeria to guide the rollout of this service for both sides of the marketplace

The Problem

Reliable and quality diagnostic tools are essential for the healthcare market. However, buyers in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) often face difficulties in accessing quality diagnostics. The client's vision was to create a digital marketplace where buyers and sellers could interact seamlessly. The challenge was to establish an environment that would naturally attract both parties, ensuring the platform's effectiveness and sustainability.

The Solution

To understand the needs and dynamics of both buyers and sellers, we interviewed a sample of relevant industry personnel. This approach provided a snapshot of attitudes and perspectives towards the product platform, offering insights that could be replicated in other geographies.

We identified four key buyer markets: NGOs, hospitals, laboratories, and pharmacies. Each market segment had distinct profiles and purchasing behaviors.

NGOs primarily purchased directly from distributors, valuing quality and continuous supply. They preferred physical engagement supplemented by emails and phone calls. NGOs were flexible in changing vendors based on quality, pricing, and availability, though some adhered to a list of pre-qualified vendors.

Hospitals sourced from a mixed pool of suppliers, prioritizing reliability, availability, and product quality. Hospitals tended to be more loyal to their vendors compared to NGOs.

Laboratories buy from wholesalers, distributors, and the open market. Laboratories prioritize vendors based on availability, quality of products they carry, pricing and margins. Like hospitals, emails are the predominant mode of communication with physical visits lagging other communication channels. Laboratories switch suppliers based on price and availability.

Pharmacies mainly bought from wholesalers and distributors, with price, quality, and availability being the key attributes in selecting a vendor. They primarily communicated through calls with representatives and were less likely to change suppliers to maintain steady availability and reduce product expiries, and to maintain lines of credit established with suppliers

On the seller side, distributors typically purchased from OEMs or larger distributors, with margins and quality being crucial factors. Distributors were less likely to switch suppliers due to contractual obligations but would consider changing in case of stockouts. Manufacturers often restricted distributors from carrying competing products, and in some countries, such as Kenya, only a limited number of import licenses were issued for specific products.

The Outcome

Insights gathered from the market analysis led to the development of a comprehensive activation plan for the platform. Increasing visibility and awareness was a crucial first step to drive more traffic to the platform. This involved enhancing the platform's presence and raising awareness among potential users.

Strategic messaging and positioning were also key components. By developing a curated marketplace that served as a "one-stop diagnostic catalog," we ensured that the platform met the specific needs of both buyers and sellers.

Finally, the focus shifted to converting users into active and consistent participants. This was essential for sustained engagement and utilization, ensuring that the marketplace remained a dynamic and effective platform for diagnostics

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