Unimall a Kenyan startup is working to eliminate the hustle of sourcing out commodities and shopping needs for students. With a wide product line, the eCommerce company has made it possible for students to have easy access to products such as cooking flour, beauty and cosmetics products, cooked food, school supplies such as books and electronics. It has been convenient for students since at the comfort of their hostels they can place orders through their phones and the goods are delivered within the same day.
The birth of Unimall came about when Kennedy Omondi one of the founders and his friends were inside their hostel after a stressful day of searching for a certain equipment. As engineering students from Moi University one of the leading universities in Kenya, they had a project that need the specific product which was supposed to be used in prototyping the project they were working on. Unfortunately they were not able to find it from the local shops so they had to go to the nearest town Eldoret and blindly search for it door to door.
“It was stressful for us because even though we were tech savvy, the available online shops could not provide us with the most common items leave alone the category of items we were interested in. that’s when we saw that there was better ways of doing things and we needed to try bringing that to an end,” narrated Kennedy Omondi when TechMoran reached out in an interview.
Ordering Procedure on Unimall
For students to be able to shop they need to visit the companies website and place an order first by identifying the exact product they need. After that, a customer is required to key in their location and delivery information and lastly complete the simple process by paying via Unipay payment system which has been integrated. At the moment, Unimall is working to roll out a mobile app for the various mobile operating systems.
Unimall founders believe that Kenya has the right market for their business because of the growing population of the youth especially students in tertiary institutions, colleges and universities. They believe that Kenyan consumers are smart at choosing solutions when a solution is provided that addresses their pain points.
The startup has adopted a simple business model where revenues come from commissions on products listed on the site when they are purchased. Partners providing the inventory are given the chance to list their products for free and in return give out the commissions for the goods bought.
Currently, their main target as a startup is to provide a first class customer service to students which they are positive that it will be of huge importance in spreading word of mouth from experienced customers to new customers as a strategy to venture in new markets.
Challenges Unimall faces
As a startup to the eCommerce industry in Kenya, there is stiff competition from already established brands like Jumia and Kilimall who have been around for some time now. Unimall wants to stand out as a shopping platform for students unlike the other brands which focus on the wider population.
Acquiring finances to kick start the project was also a challenge which has now been replaced with the need to have adequate funds for marketing and the high operating cost coming from site maintenance.