Shopah, coined from the English word Shopper, is a shopping and errands service provider has launched in Kenya to help shop for you and deliver the shopping to your office or home at an affordable fee.
The startup is also promising a shopah package section where it will provide users with customized gifts for all occasions on order such birthday parties, weddings among others.
Founded by Bridgit Mwende aka Samira, a Bachelor in Business Technology undergrad from JKUAT with 5 years experience in the information technology, banking,logistics and also advertising industry, Shopah works simply on each request.
“You request, we source, shop and ship the products in question to your preferred location,” Samira told TechMoran.com. “I started wanting to develop a website that only targeted vendors in the eastleigh region and obtaining 1% of every sale made. Then this one day I am in a queue in a store and in front of me there is an expectant lady, who really looked like she needed a rest. So I thought to myself I would be the person to solve the problem for the guys who are busy or not in a position to wait in line then why not,” she said.
Samira adds that her late mum used to travel to the city every week to stock her boutique back then. She thought to herself what if she would be able to shop and run errands for busy people and people in upcountry to create jobs and earn a living to myself and several others. She it a shot and began researching on the model and was greatly inspired by NYC’s Same Ole Line Dudes, led by Robert Samuel who hires professional line sitters for people who have no time or customers on Black Friday.
The platform works simply. A client sends a request to Shopah with an image or a list of what they need, the client selects a shopper they want to interact with, the Shopper sources for the item/s through an interactive video call to ensure both the client and Shopper are on the same page.
One selects the store or merchant of choice and upon agreement Shopper sends the client the payment details especially mobile money platforms for the vendor then shipping is arranged and paid for. Upon Delivery the client pays a fee for the shopping or errand service.
Shopah makes money through a service fee charged for shopping or running errands, % paid by vendors by referring clients to their stores and also from the shopah packages section. This looks like an easy service but Samira says nothing comes easy.
“The common challenge we have currently is a client cancelling when you already at the vendors store. The other challenge is we don’t have an office yet so some clients shy off when we tell them we currently working online.”
This year, Shopa aims to establish its own brand and reach its target market. Samira agrees that their first year will be a trial and error until they figure things out clearly.
“Our clients will highly help us with their reviews.Our within a year goal is to increase visibility and hire supportive staff once we are financially comfortable. We also look to coming up with an app to make it easy to request. We look to maximizing revenue by offering the client with a smooth shopping and errands process,” she told TechMoran.
Local competition in this business are identified with categories they pick to shop for, for instance Dadson Kariuki and Zuda’s Bow are a personal shoppers in the fashion and style industry and personalized gifts and Wagon Shopping, a local outfit.
The major difference between these shoppers and Shopah is that they have selected a certain market or category, while Shopah is serving all clients with no time to do so and also in all categories. Wagon Shopping only does with shopping part, but with Shopah we do shopping and other errands.