The desire by buyers to make their shopping from the comfort of their homes and office desks has led to the entry of various online shopping outlets where buyers can choose from the various items on offer and even get bargains on their selected items. The newest entrant in this area is OnlineShoppingKenya, founded in 2012. Below are excerpts from an interview with Mr Alex Schariah, Online Shopping Kenya’s Middle East Africa Chief Operations Officer (COO).
1.What informed the setting up of the website in such a competitive space?
- In the Kenya market, there is no much competition for us compare the service we give, because most of the sites which are selling the products in Kenya offer an individual seller to sell his product – that is not guaranteeing the quality or ascertain whether a product is genuine or its warranty/guarantee. This means that when there is a problem and you visit the service centre, the customer will come to know the origin of the product as even the website selling cannot guarantee whether the product is genuine. In our case however, we can assure our clients because there is no individual seller in our site whatever we are selling we are completely responsible for the same.
- 2.When did you go live?
- We went live from Aug 2012.
- 3.What traffic do you have on a daily basis?
- Average hits per day is 72,000.
- 4. The website offers a lot of electronics. Is it a deliberate strategy?
- Currently, we want to focus on electronics – the reason being that the prices in the market vary for the customer from shop by shop. So currently people enquire from 10 places before they buy the goods. To avoid this and considering the road traffic situation and also the time that a consumer needs to spend to make such enquiries, we basically offer a very attractive price derived from our tagline which is “ Don’t pay 100%.” This means that we make sure that the price on our website will be the lowest price for a genuine product.
- 5.Since the launch, what are the fastest moving products?
- The mobile phone section has been driving the most sales in terms of volumes followed by cameras.
- 6.Do you have any deals/partnerships with shops or brands?
- We are partners with reputed distributors or major brands in Kenya and internationally.
- 7.How much savings do buyers make when buying from your website?
- This is basically category by category. For example from the cameras section, customers can save up to 15% while from mobile devices section, a customer can save up to 8 %, with the other incentive being that the customer does not need to go anywhere to get the item as it is delivered to their doorstep – whether in the CBD or in residential areas.
- 8.Is the delivery charge part of the cost? How do you charge for it?
- We don’t charge for any delivery for purchases above Kshs 6,000. Currently, up to 99% of the items we are selling are above this cost as we are not concentrating on low end products. Basically delivery charges are considered as part of our operational costs.
- 9.Where do you see the website in the future?
- We aim to increase the number of customers visiting the site to at least make a comparison with other e-commerce platforms in the market in terms of price.
- 10.Do you have plans to integrate the mobile payment platforms?
- We already have mobile payment platforms and card payment options.
- 11.Do you intend to grow the business beyond Kenya?
- We are an international company for trading electronics business and this is our first venture for online shopping in Kenya. We are currently developing other websites for other African market and will be introducing the service in the first quarter of 2013.
- 12.How will you tap into the diaspora market segment?
- We are only doing the business in Kenya at the moment though a person can order from outside the country for their family here and we do delivery to the client’s location here – and that is done during the same day in most cases.
- 13.What features does the website have to make it easy to navigate around?
- Our website works the way a normal computer works – basically run Windows in order to make it easy to use.
- 14. What is free shipping?
- Free Shipping means we are shipping all orders free of charge to our clients’ doorsteps, with most of the deliveries being done on the same day. We have a team of 25 delivery personal doing this service.
- Our customer care team will talk to the customer on each order to understand their needs. And we also advice if there is alternate product for the customer which will suite them better than what they had previously chosen.
About OnlineShoppingKenya: Onlineshopping.co.ke went live in 2012 with the objective of shopping easily available to anyone who had internet access. Today, we’re present across various categories including mobiles, cameras, computers, healthcare and personal products, home appliances and electronics – and still counting! We can say with utmost confidence that we are one of the leading e-commerce players in the country.
We believe that our success is largely due to our obsession with providing our customers a memorable online shopping experience. Be it our path-breaking services like Cash on Delivery, a 48 hrs replacement policy, free shipping – and of course the great prices that we offer. Then there’s our dedicated onlineshopping.co.ke delivery team that works round the clock to personally make sure packages reach on time. For now they’re present in Nairobi, but don’t worry, plans are underway to spread to many other areas.