Copia model ensures Kenya’s rural households benefit from e-commerce

One of the latest entrants in the country’s growing but increasingly competitive e-commerce sector, Copia Kenya, is promising to disrupt how online shopping is done.

Copia Kenya is the latest website to offer online shopping to Kenya’s bludgeoning middle class. Interestingly, this service is for the people living in urban areas or with access to internet to do shopping for people living in rural areas.

(TOP: A Copia agent outlet in Kenya).

Copia provides consumers living in urban areas of Kenya the ability to shop for products ranging from household goods, to farming tools, electronics, construction materials and more.

According to its website, the e-commerce platform has over 3,700 agents spread across select regions in the country, with the majority of the agents located in Central Kenya and parts of Rift Valley. It has recently spread its reach to Kericho and parts of Western Kenya.

“E-commerce has the potential to transform Kenya’s economy while helping to uplift the living standards of millions of people. However, this can only happen if they are rolled-out with logistics and distribution solutions tailor-made to work for Kenya,” according to Tim Steel, the Copia Global CEO.

The company’s headquarters is located in a state of the art logistics hub at Tatu City where it dispatches and tracks all orders and deliveries in real time for onward delivery to customers in various parts of the country.

We recently took time to go through the Copia Kenya platform to get a hands-on experience of how it works and here are our observations:

  • The website is a fairly simple to use and navigate with categories well labelled while the various day’s offers are highlighted. The product categories are: Baby; Beauty; Construction; Electronics; Energy; Farm; Health; Household; Personal Care; School; Transport and Foodstuff.
  • Hovering the cursor (or clicking on any of the categories) takes one to the specific items (and products) available on each category in a drop down format.
  • You can then select the item(s) you’d want to purchase then push this to your cart (or favourite the same for future reference in case you’re not ordering and purchasing straight away).

  • After the item(s) you’ve picked have been added to your cart (or kikapu or shopping basket), you have the option to view them (while doing the math to know the total), continue shopping or choose to check out from the platform and pay for your purchases.
  • And it’s at this time where the site prompts you to either log in (for existing customers) or create an account (for those who’re new to the Copia Kenya platform). This you can do using your mobile number or email address and just in case you unfortunately forget your password, remember you can still reset it from the platform.

  • After you’ve logged in (or created your account), you can then proceed to confirm the total cost of the items in your shopping cart then pay via MPESA.
  • During checkout, all you need to do is to provide the phone number of person who’s going to receive the item(s) or package upcountry. From here, Copia handles the rest – locating the recipient, identifying the nearest delivery centre agent among its thousands of agents and delivering the goods within 24 to 48 hours.
  • And just in case you’re unsure whether your recipient’s location (or area) is among those already covered by Copia agents, there’s an updated map available on the website with all the locations as shown below.

  • You can also be assisted via the Live Chat function at the bottom right hand corner of the Copia website.

Overall, the Copia model has managed to transform the country’s e-commerce scene by affording both urban shoppers and their rural family and friends greater choice, affordability and convenience when shopping for everyday items.

“Copia’s rapid growth in just five years shows the demand that exists among Kenyans in both rural and urban areas for digitally-powered solutions that make their day-to-day shopping needs easier,” Steel added.

To date, Copia has fulfilled more than two million orders and served over 300,000 customers while providing an additional source of income to its agents.

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