We must know that our interaction with Tanda, an inventory management platform, was non-existent until a few days ago when the company announced that its services were progressing from beta to a wider roll-out.
Generally speaking, Tanda purposes to be the go-to solution for ordering and managing inventory for shop owners. The product is in a better position to offer these services after a successful pilot that was tested for four months in Nairobi’s Kayole, Kawangware and Kariobangi areas.
According to Tanda, the decision to launch out of beta was backed by a seed round from White Rhino Ventures that pumped an undisclosed amount of funds into the platform.
Tanda’s CEO and founder, Geoffrey Mulei has lauded the platform’s offerings as being the speediest online inventory delivery service in the region. Tanda also claims that it is the first inventory service to provide automated credit facilities for Kenyans.
“Tanda offers the widest product range,” says Mr. Mulei. “We are the fastest online inventory delivery service on the continent (Under 1 hour) and we are the first inventory service to offer an automated credit facility. In addition, Tanda is the first Inventory delivery service to give the retailer the ability to vend digital financial services.”
Tanda offers a number of features for its users and potential shop owners who will adopt the services of the platform. To begin with…
No more inventory headaches
Looking at the mode of Tanda’s pilot program, it is apparent that is targeting a demographic that may have little to no knowledge of inventory management and its associated activities. For such groups, Tanda promises to make the process as easy as possible via its simple app that allows users to enter sales data. By doing so, shop owners’ stocks will be at their fingertips at any time. They can then replenish their products based on app alerts.
Timely ordering? No problem
Most of us have observed how shop owners make frantic calls to their suppliers to dispatch certain products to their shops, which, often, is a time-consuming exercise. Due to these concerns, the firm has designed a simple way that connects retailers with Tanda’s network of suppliers. Deliveries are done in under an hour.
What is an internet-powered inventory solution without some form of credit?
Here is where inventory credit comes in. Tanda says it will leverage purchase histories to give inventory credit to shop owners who do not have money to reorder products. Payment is then made at a later date.
The last feature is an obvious one that some of you expected…
The platform targets to transform ordinary shops into a one-stop center for common digital financial services. In other words, customers can buy airtime, pay water and electricity bills, access banking and insurance services at a Tanda agent. Not an original solution owing to the influx of competing services that have been around for some time, but an interesting idea nonetheless.
Since Tanda plans to engage informal retailers in the remotest parts of the country, it is highly probable that some of such places will be out of range for LTE, 3G or even 2G connection for reliable data connection. Therefore, a USSD platform is being tested for that target market.
While smartphone and internet penetration is increasing thanks to the good work done by operators and smartphone retailers who ship those handhelds at good prices, some micro-retailers cannot afford them. For this reason, Tanda pilot merchants were equipped with a free smartphone. Since the program is now live for the public, merchants will be given smart handhelds that they can pay for later via Tanda’s partner, Lipa Later. The payment period will be stretched to 24 months.
“Our primary market, Kenya, has over 100,000 semi-formal outlets. Our platform will accommodate shop owners across all segments right from informal kiosks in low-income kiosks up to minimarts,” says Mulei. “Tanda will offer its retailers an affordable and reliable platform for sourcing goods, access to financing to help them buy more, sell more and grow their business and more resellable Digital financial services such as KPLC tokens on which they can earn commission and lastly, tools that make it easier to manage their business and make critical decisions.”
Pesapoint is Tanda’s wallet provider and process the platform’s payments. Secondly, Surf, which is also associated with Facebook’s Wi-Fi hotspots, has been tasked with converting Tanda Kiosks into Wi-Fi access points. The retail and wholesale interfaces, accounts and inventory management are under On Demand Mobile. Lastly, Google MB is a core partner for monthly area meetups.