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Very recently, GTBank Plc launched an eCommerce Platform Called SME Market Hub where people can buy and sell products and services for free in Nigeria. This is really a nice idea, considering the fact that many small businesses cannot afford the overwhelming cost of getting a professional eCommerce website to sell their products or services online. This has been challenging particularly for small scale retail stores in Nigeria.

So what is SME Market Hub?
The SME Market Hub is a website, where small businesses can create a fully hosted online stores for their businesses, add products and receive payment online with any debit card in the Country. The site also provides some customizable look and feel features and different designs to choose from using simple DIY guides.

Good reasons you should try the SME Market Hub

  1. The best reason why you should try it out is because it is free. So if you have been saving up for your eCommerce website dream which you are not sure will launch by 2015, then this is your lucky catch.
  2. The second reason is that it comes with a payment gateway which you also don’t have to pay for. Whether it’s VISA, Mastercard, Interswitch, Verve or eTranzact cards you want to accept on your store it doesn’t cost extra.
  3. Thirdly; you can do it yourself. You don’t need to have technical knowledge or learn sophisticated skills to setup your store within few minutes.
  4. It also has a very clean and simple back-end.

Good reasons you shouldn’t use the SME Market Hub

  1. The entire application is Hosted and Managed by GTBank. Even though it looks ideal to entrust your business data to a third party, it is also important to have control over your data at all times. Google understands this, that is why Google Apps for business provides users with a vault and Drive to store business related information.
  2. Not Extendable. Although it might not be very immediate to want some added functionalities on your store as a starter, but not being able to extend the functionality of your eCommerce website can hinder business growth in various ways.
  3. No personalized Domain name. For some people, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a personalized domain or a sub-domain; as long as the provided domain can perform the required task then there is no cause for alarm. But the reality is different; To run a successful online business the first thing you need to start with is a personalized domain name i.e: www.yoursite.com. This is like the shelter that shields every other part of your online business especially your email address. Having an online store with a yahoo email address shows a high level of un-seriousness on your brand to your customers and competitors.
  4. Same Design pattern: In a world where creativity enhances the spread of ideas, having an online store that looks similar to 1000 others isn’t creative, and it gives your customer and competitors a glance of the kind of business you have and how your processes run.
  5. It is owned & Managed by a Bank. People generally believe that something that does one thing is better at that thing than something that does so many things at the same time. GTBank has become a great banking success powered by innovation but technological expertise and a broad portfolio continue to be the most important criteria for selecting a service provider especially for eCommerce business.