Rapid human population growth in Zambia in the last decade had led to a growing demand for fish. This has culminated in overfishing in the region due to a lack of alternative livelihoods for small-scale fishers.
Yalelo is a pioneer of aquaculture in Zambia. Founded in 2011 with a vision to bring together local resources and world-leading practices, Yalelo began implementing a sustainable and scalable fish farming model that sought to reduce the pressure on Lake Kariba whilst serving an existing domestic market.
Within a span of just 9 years, Yalelo has quickly grown to become the leading commercial aquaculture firm in Zambia and among the largest in Africa. They now distribute over 35 million tonnes of fresh Tilapia, bred and grown on their fish farms on the shores of Lake Kariba, to their nationwide network of 50+ fish stores, traditional markets, and most major supermarkets.
This robust cold chain has resulted in product quality and affordability that is transforming the customer experience turning Yalelo into a household name and one of the country’s largest retail fish chains.
However, despite their rapid expansion, Yalelo’s stores countrywide only accepted cash. Customers who opted for mobile payments had to go out of the store in the midst of a transaction in order to withdraw cash from a money mobile booth.
COVID-19 & Going Cashless
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Zambia in early 2020, Yalelo needed a secure payment solution that allowed their customers walking into any of their 50+ fish retail outlets countrywide to easily pay for fish and also reduce the physical handling of cash by their staff.
They reached out to Cellulant to design and roll out a digital in-store payment solution for their customers across Zambia to have a wider range of mobile payment methods. During the problem framing phase, Yalelo had noted that a majority of their customers use mobile money.
“Cellulant introduced us to their Tingg In-store solution which provided us with a wider option on mobile payment money due to its network of all major mobile networks, We didn’t want to deal with multiple payment providers as this would have been a challenge for our finance team.” – Chilufya Kangwa, Finance Manager, Yalelo
With Cellulant’s Tingg -instore recommended and rolled out within six weeks, each Yalelo store was given access to the Cellulant payment gateway, and each staff member taken through an onboarding process.
Soon after, they were encouraging customers to use cashless transactions and reduce the physical handling of cash.
“ Our staff is now able to offer a range of cashless payment options to our customers including Airtel money, MTN money, Zamtel, local cards and bank transfers in 4 simple steps.” – Fanizani Phiri, National Sales Manager, Yalelo.
Restaurant owners who also make up a significant percent of Yalelo’s customer base are no longer required to physically order at the store. Instead, they push in their orders and payments at their own comfort and send their employees to collect the fish. According to McCoy, this has given their business customers an opportunity to attend to other needs which have seen brand loyalty grow.
“There has been a significant month-on-month increase on the number and value of transactions processed through Cellulant.” – Fanizani Phiri, National Sales Manager, Yalelo.
According to Fanizani, “ customers have become confident in transacting via mobile as it gives them the confidence of not losing cash in transit to the store. In case of cash shortages when bulk buying, it has helped with customers using both Ting and cash without going to withdraw cash from mobile money booths,” he adds
Yalelo’s Strategy to eliminate cash sales.
From fast-tracking the customer payment journey, and with multiple bank deposits resolved, Yalelo, now a leading fisheries firm in Zambia and among the largest aquaculture firms in Africa, is working towards eliminating a huge volume of its cash sales by Q4 2021.
“For our back office, the Tingg in-store solution has given us a single integration into banks and MNOs allowing for greater transparency as we have a much clearer view of all the payments received regardless of how far the retail store is from our headquarters and faster reconciliations on our bank accounts.” – Chilufya Kangwa, Finance Manager, Yalelo
Yalelo- which derives its name from a local Nyanja word that means “Today”, can now usher Zambia into new dawn as the region’s fisheries powerhouse as its export market expands beyond Malawi, Uganda, South Africa, Kenya, and the DRC.