iZania Market Deals: iZania has used its success as a black business community and translated it into a black daily deals site. It’s too early to tell which types of deals iZania Market will run on a consistent basis, but there is a lot of promise to their organization.
HBCU Daily Deals: HBCU Daily Deals has come up with the interesting concept of finding deals for college students who attend HBCUs. This company is very niche, which means that it could potentially have a strong grasp on what black college students buy while they are on or around campus. Specialization of this kind could help the firm properly capitalize on this market.
Daily deals are great offers for consumers and great advertising opportunities for merchants. The challenge is that deals only last for a short period of time. How can interested consumers find a plethora of quality black products all of the time? Enter the black online stores. These Internet venues aggregate products and services from black merchants and sell them all in one place. Based off the model pioneered by Amazon.com, online stores have the potential to provide an outlet for black merchants to consistently market their products to consumers. Here are the black online stores to watch:
Ujamaa Market: Ujamaa is really a hybrid site that mixes the best qualities of Amazon.com with those of daily deal sites like Groupon. The Ujamaa Market is a place where merchants can upload their products and services for purchase by consumers who want to buy black. Ultimately, Ujamaa Market seeks all purveyors of quality African-American goods as participants in their marketplace to create a unified front of black economic power.
Black Business Network: The Black Business Network was founded by Tag Team Marketing, a company dedicated to to empowering the black community by being a channel for black-owned businesses to reach black consumers all over the world. This company is known for its army of direct sales personnel, but it also has an online store from which you can purchase many of their products made by black-owned companies.
Black Business Directories
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” And black business directories are the tried and true way of finding where to buy black online and in your local community. Although African-American business directories have been around for years, one innovative company in the market uses new technologies to breathe life into this old concept.
GPSBlack.com: I love GPS Black because they are the first black business directory to embrace mobile marketing. GPS Black has thousands of black owned businesses nationwide it its directory, and it is easy to find the best fit for what you are looking for right from your smartphone. As they continue to add new businesses to their database, the possibility for expansion of their mobile platform because enormous. Searching for black-owned businesses is easy and quick with GPS Black.
This list is meant to get us started, but there are many challenges that need to be resolved before the general population will embrace the concept of buying black. Examples include overcoming negative stereotypes about black businesses, finding a diverse set of black products and services to feature (how many companies are needed to fill all our consumer needs?), and challenges in raising capital to keep these businesses going. As these issues are resolved, we will see more companies dedicated to promoting the African-American market space.
Lawrence Watkins is the founder of Great Black Speakers, Great Pro Speakers, and co-founder ofUjamaa Deals, which is a daily deal site that promotes black-owned businesses. He graduated in 2006 from The University of Louisville with a B.S. in electrical engineering and earned his MBA from Cornell University in 2010. Lawrence currently resides in Atlanta. You can follow him on Twitter@lawrencewatkins.