Last year in November, Ringier’s daily deals site Rupu introduced Rupushops.co.ke, an online store for safe and secure online shopping in Kenya where buyers could find everything from computers and mobile phones to fashion accessories and the latest music albums.Rupushops.co.ke was supposed to partner with physical retail stores to have their stuff sold online through the Rupushops portal. The site was different from Rupu.co.ke which was only a daily deals site asit was supposed to be an online mall for almost everything, think of a Konga with its open marketplace for every seller.
The goods were to be supplied by offline retail partners and buyers could pay by mobile money, credit card or in installments (not hire purchase), via Pesapal and a variety of direct banking options. Rupushops promised inland delivery of between 3-5 working days.
Like the creation story, the Rupu guys build something like an eBay for Kenya and they saw that it was good.
Leadership changed, so did strategy and then quietly Rupushops died a good death, without morners, without a funeral and without the media burrying it as it invited it into the world.
Ben Maina, co-founder and then CEO of Rupu has also moved on to a new venture which he promises to share with us once he is ready. The other co-founder, Munyutu Waigi, who was instrumental in setting up Ringier in Kenya moved on ealy last year and partnered with a friend to launch his own capital fund, Umati Capital.
Just why was Rupushops shut down?
It’s all about strategy. Speaking to TechMoran, James Gathere Ringier Kenya GM said, “Rupushops no longer exists as a separate entity. Strategically we decided to merge it with the main platform so as to aggregate visitors to one portal. This makes much more sense than redirecting people to different sites.
Set to allow almost everyone to sell online from their offline stores, Rupushops new users had to sign up for an account, create thier own Rupu Shops account, fill in their contact and billing address. Though the process looks simple, it had its flaws unlike a model like Shopify’s which allows retailers to sell from their own sites but because most local retailers lack own sites, Rupushops was right to run a moderated marketplace to provide online marketing resources for small and large businesses, helping them businesses to reach the millions of Kenyan’s taking to the internet.