Maduqa.com is an online shopping mall where one can search for and buy products they need fro various sellers. On Maduqa.com one can also open and run their own online shop and sell online.Maduqa is a Swahili word for shops.
Launched in 2007 by Jackson Mulutu, Maduqa.com had just two sections; the classifieds section and the online shops section. However, with time the classifieds section was abandoned so as the online mall could focus online shops alone.
TechMoran caught up with the founder, Jackson Mulutu and below is the whole story.
Who are its founders?
I am the founder of Maduqa.com; although throughout its existence I have had the assistance of close friends, in more ways than one, in building it.
What problem do you solve?
Two problems that I am solving:
Creating one portal where online shoppers can get and purchase products without the need of checking through many websites and portals- you just need to land on one website, maduqa.com, and you are assured that you will get every product that you may need.
Many businesses are moving to the virtual value chain as a way of gaining competitive advantage especially with the deepening internet penetration and the advantage of reaching a global market. However, the cost of setting up and maintaining an online shop in capital intensive to many especially the SMEs. Maduqa.com is therefore a shared marketplace that such businesses can use to sell and market their products and services without incurring such huge costs.
How does it work?
It is very easy to use maduqa.com. For the shop owner, one just needs to go to the website and register and create their shop. Add as many products as they may wish. The shop needs to have the correct contacts and the products need to have the prices and pictures and descriptions. The process of creating a shop takes less than a minute!
The shops are activated immediately and you would be ready for business.
We use several channels of marketing the businesses on my platform. We use mostly social media platforms; Facebook, Google ads, our blog, email newsletter, affiliate blogs ( like yours, thanks) and good old word of mouth.
When online shoppers land on your shop, they are able to sample the products and contact you via SMS, Email, call you or visit your brick-n-mortar shop as described in your ‘About us’ page.
Basically, your online shop on maduqa.com is a complete website with a Storefront, About us page and Contact us page. We are working to increase the number of pages and features in the very near future.
Take us through your features.
Maduqa.com has 3 levels; the landing page, the shop arena/Category page and the product page.
The Landing page has all the featured shops, categories, products and advertisements.
The shop has the storefront where all the products are displayed, the About Us page and the Contact us page. From the contact us page a shopper can email or call the shop owner directly.
The product page shows the details of the product, the names, descriptions, the prices and other products from the same shop. From this page a shopper can SMS, email or call the shop owner and arrange for purchase. The shop owner is notified of the orders via email and SMS.
The category page displays the shops and products from the same category.
We have an e-newsletter that we send out every two weeks to a database of about 1000+.
The platform has an Admin side where the shop owners can login and manage their shops and check and reply to orders. From the admin side one can add/delete/update the products and shop content.
The other interesting thing about our platform is that the shop owner can select the theme to use for their shop. Currently we have 5 themes to choose from and will increase this number in the very near future.
We have integrated an Ad Manager into the system. We are therefore able to distribute adverts throughout the site on other affiliate websites for marketing purposes.
There is also an automated admin system that checks the quality of the products and shops on a weekly basis. The system checks the descriptions and content of the products and shops. It compiles a report that it sends to the shop owner for action.
How many shops online so far?
Currently the platform hosts over 600 shops 60% of which are active.
How do you make money?
We make money by charging the shop owners monthly ‘rent’ depending on their listing plan. We also make money by charging for placing advertisements on the platform and also from Google ads.
In the near future we are planning to have Premium Shop Themes which we will charge for.
Any competition in Kenya?
There quite a number of competitors in the local and international market in the form of the classified sites and of course other online-shop based ecommerce platforms that have recently been established.
How unique are you from them?
Our platform is easy to use and manage. It is totally in the hands of the shop owner to manage their own shop from setting up to changing the look-n-feel without contacting us for assistance. It is also very easy for the shopper to navigate around and find whatever products they need and contact the seller for the same.
Any funding yet?
I am funding the venture myself.
Challenges and future plans
Financial challenges of course. We have great plans and of course a huge market however without the financial backing the process slows down.
We have plans to improve the performance and features of the platform. We will be updating the market as we release the features.
We also have a challenge educating the users on how to use the platform effectively.