Creating a first-to-market one-stop digital marketplace
Accenture helped Telkom Business transform the ecommerce experience for merchants and consumers through the Yep! digital marketplace platform.
South Africa has some of the lowest startup success rates in the world, with 75% of new businesses failing within 36 months.* Telkom Business caters to this community, offering small enterprise voice, data, and broadband services, along with the Yellow Pages directory. Digitization of the Telkom Business model focused on finding a convenient way to serve small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and help them beat these discouraging odds. Telkom Business teamed up with Accenture to launch a user-friendly online commerce site in early 2020, where SMEs could easily shop the full range of offerings: connectivity products and plans; software, hardware, and devices; and marketing solutions.
Accenture delivered the front-end experience for Telkom Business’s ecommerce site but also saw the opportunity for a digital marketplace where merchants could more easily buy and sell their own products and services, and get the advice they need to build their businesses. Many of South Africa’s SMEs are run by small business owners who don’t have the acumen or time to create their own ecommerce offering. Telkom Business was uniquely positioned to provide such a service through its existing relationships with SMEs.
*Expert Journal of Business and Management, “Fortifying South African Small Medium and Micro Enterprise Sustainability through a Proposed Internal Control Framework: The Sustenance Framework,” 2020.
The marketplace project began with a fresh reimagining of the company’s printed Yellow Pages into a platform, app and community proposition named Yep!, a play on the popular South African phrase “yep” and a shortening of the Yellow Pages name.
Accenture worked with local vendors whose insights informed blueprints for user journeys and the platform experience. It had to be simple for a small business to create a mini-storefront, upload a company logo and contact details, and communicate and transact with customers—ideally within a few quick steps. To shorten the learning curve, Accenture incorporated UX from familiar apps, like WhatsApp, and gave it a sleek and colorful look.
Merchants can set up a storefront, manage appointments and schedule bookings via the Yep! dashboard. The app alerts business owners to new customer requests for quotes. Customers can find a vendor, ask for a quote and chat with the merchant inside the app.
Because much commerce in South Africa is handled in person, Yep! can help SMEs bring business to their stores as well. In-person agent visits from the Yep! team provide digital guidance and business advice in a familiar and relatable setting. In the future, merchants may tap into an online academy on the platform to learn how to set up a great storefront and edit their service and product images.
SMEs can also use Yep! to quickly buy and sell services to other merchants. A forthcoming feature enables SMEs to bid for supply contracts offered by larger firms, furthering the Yep! platform as an integral part of the fabric of the South African economy.
Yep! is changing the way small and midsized businesses link up with customers by offering a suite of products and services they can use to drive in-store traffic and online sales. Telkom is on a path to fulfill our mission to help businesses create sustained growth. It took a commitment to a digital transformation at Telkom to get us there.
Kenneth Kayser / Executive of Digital Channels and E-Commerce, Telkom Business
In less than a year, Accenture and Telkom Business conceived, designed, and implemented the company’s ecommerce site, as well as the Yep! online marketplace platform and app.
By May 2021, an impressive 280,000 stores had been set up on the Yep! online marketplace, more than half of the 500,000 listed SMEs in the Yellow Pages, and it had attracted 320,000 people actively using the service.
Yep!’s appealing and user-friendly design inspires South African SMEs to rely on the one-stop platform to drive sales, increase reach, and build valuable business relationships.
By partnering with Accenture, Telkom Business reimagined the ecommerce experience for merchants and consumers, establishing a vast ecosystem of thriving businesses on the Yep! marketplace. Together, Accenture and Telkom Business helped set the stage for large-scale digital transformation and innovation across all of Telkom.