LOCAL entrepreneurs are venturing into e-commerce platforms for vendors and buyers to create a market for small and medium enterprises whose products cannot compete with industry giants.
This drift towards the technological approach to retail business is offering ease of accessibility on the digital platforms to shoppers. The 2020 Covid-19 lockdowns catalysed the introduction of e-commerce start-ups in Zimbabwe. Large outlets like Bon Marché and Simbisa Brands introduced online shopping with delivery services for their customers, while many small businesses struggled to engage customers on social media platforms as they depended on walk-in clients.
As a result, many saw the need of starting their own e-commerce platforms to cater for the small businesses. Some enterprising tech-savvy businesspeople saw an opportunity amid the doom and gloom.
GetItHereZW was launched in November last year for vendors to continue with their business operations despite the Covid-19 regulations which restricted retailers from physically interacting with clients.
“It was founded by friends Blessing Nyanhongo and Marshall Mutandwa who during the lockdown period saw an opportunity in online shopping and a poor representation of the same in Zimbabwe,” said Nyanhongo.
The company sells products ranging from home appliances to stationery and clothing. The platform is open to anyone who has a business with products they are willing to sell.
GetItHereZW offers services that include marketing, advertising, selling and delivery of products to customers for the vendors that enlist on the online store. It offers buyer services, including selling its listings to the world and delivering all products to the customer’s doorstep through its courier partner Fedex.
“Once an order is placed, the vendor brings the product to our office in Avondale [Harare] and then Fedex picks up the order for delivery and collects cash. We accept both Zimbabwean dollar and United States dollar as well as bank deposits/transfers and mobile money,” he said.
Nyanhongo said the company is celebrating its first anniversary with a month’s free subscription to all new vendors on the platform.
“The company is near break-even point after a year of going live. The revenue is on a very promising upward trend as more customers get to know about and trust our services.
“Our online store is wholly digital, paperless and efficient. We do not trade by swap-and-top nor do we do laybys.
“We are in talks with various stakeholders so that our online store is zero rated, meaning it will be accessible for free even to those without data,” Nyanhongo said.