MyShopper is a new service that allows users in Kenya to shop on any UK-based online store. The start-up handles the logistics of delivery within the UK and international shipping to make the experience as seamless for the user as possible.
Founded in mid March 2013, Myshopper.co.ke says the beginning has been exciting, with several people already using the service to order for goods from UK online stores and have them shipped to MyShopper’s Nairobi pick up office in Barclays Plaza.
Speaking to TechMoran, Liz Ng’ang’a, the founder and CEO said she was so excited about the months ahead.
Once you’ve signed up for MyShopper, you simply paste the link to any product you want to buy from a UK-based store into the bar on our homepage, and add any details such as quantity, size, colour, etc. Once we’ve approved the order, you can pay online through MPesa, Airtel Money or any of the other payment options PesaPal supports. We’ll then handle the shipping logistics, keeping you updated by email all the way, and finally we will notify you when your goods are ready for collection from our Barclays Plaza collection point.
There are so many eCommerce portals in Kenya, how different are you?
We feel the service we offer is very different from alternatives on the market – our input is actually the logistics and delivery service, with a friendlier and simpler interface than any alternatives. Rather than competing with existing online storefronts, we focus on making it as convenient, simple and efficient as possible to shop on the likes of Amazon, who offer a range of products and prices that local alternatives struggle to compete with.
Do you do delivery, with which firm?
We use a partner service to handle the shipping to Nairobi, and have a collection point in Barclays Plaza where users pick up their goods.
What is your business model?
We strive to be very transparent in where we make our margin – for each order placed on our service, we give a breakdown of shipping costs, using the latest exchange rates to calculate the Kenya shilling charge. In addition to all of our overheads, we charge a small fee for each purchase, which is always affordable but especially favourable for larger purchases. We keep the cost low for our users and never sneak in any additional charges, which we hope will encourage people to use our service.
So far, we’ve had a promising start. We hope that by pleasing our first users, our customer base will grow on the strength of recommendations and word of mouth. We’re confident that Kenyans are a lot more comfortable using online payment to buy goods and services. As I mentioned, we’re very excited about the months ahead, and the landscape we’re helping to shape.
You talk of helping people buy from Amazon, how do you do that?
Being the world’s largest online retailer, Amazon is naturally one of the stores we expect to be most popular on our service. However, all UK-based stores are supported through our service, and users do not need to register with them or have a supported payment method.
Are you VC funded or bootstrapping?
We are entirely self-funded at this point. Our initial overheads were low and have no major running costs, which was one of the desirable aspects of the opportunity.
What have been your challenges?
We encountered our first main challenge during the website’s development when trying to figure out how to make the site easily understandable by our users. The goal was to come up with a simple interface that will make the user’s experience comfortable. Without losing the simple interface, we had to also think of ways to make the website as efficient as possible, in order for our users to get their shipping quotes within a few minutes of submitting the request. We believe we have come up with a fully working website that is efficient, however, there is always room for improvements, which will be implemented throughout as we discover better ways of doing certain things and by also listening to our user’s comments and suggestions about our service.
MyShopper’s social media marketing strategy has also presented us with another challenge. Seeing that we are able to deliver a wide range of products from almost all UK-based online stores, it presents a challenge in trying to figure out which products we want to market to the users, while at the same time making sure we do not overwhelm our Facebook and Twitter followers with too many posts pushing many different products. It’s still a work in progress but we think we are on the right track.
What are your future plans?
Our primary focus now is to get the name out there, and build a trusting, returning customer base by making our service as quick and reliable as possible. The potential trend information we can gather raises several exciting opportunities that we may pursue in the future, but our primary focus is and will remain on providing the most efficient and user-friendly service possible.