E-commerce has taken over the way we shop, with companies such as Amazon and Jumia taking up the market in their respective regions. The success of e-commerce is owed to the convenience it brings. The convenience-seeking nature of humans led them to desire shopping from the comfort of their homes and even while on the move.
As great as e-commerce has been, it has not always been an easy task. The process of serving customers through an online platform requires logistics that most small businesses find hard to meet, especially if you’re not selling through platforms such as Jumia.
Speaking of Jumia, when a business decides to list their items on such a platform, there’s little control the shop has on Jumia, that’s why we still see the likes of Instagram and Facebook working well for small businesses as it allows them to control their own marketing and visibility.
Small businesses work hard to build their brand and customer loyalty is a key factor to a successful business, ask Apple, they’ll tell you that a trillion dollar valuation does not come from first-time buyers. This need to leverage customer loyalty has pushed small businesses to use alternative platforms to sell their products as opposed to mass market offerings like Jumia and Amazon. One such alternative platform is having your own e-commerce website.
“I wanted to have an online shop, Nature’s Basket, that sells fruits and groceries online, narrates James Munyeria, current Head of E-Commerce at Paytree, the company behind Mzizzi.com. “I set up an online shop with a domain and everything but the issue was integration with payments, it was quite a hustle. Also, delivery was a headache. I actually tried using boda-boda guys but it was expensive. I ended up abandoning the project,” he adds.
This loss pushed him to find a solution that would better serve startups that didn’t have the technical know-how or funding to set up a proper e-commerce platform complete with payments integration and delivery logistics. Mzizzi.com was born out the desire to offer a solution to small businesses, explains Dayvee Ngugi, Projects Director at Paytree.
If you look at e-commerce in the sense of trying to compete with Jumia, then it becomes a losing game
The two describe Mzizzi.com as a double-edged sword that offers convenience to merchants, as well as their customers. For merchants, Mzizzi.com is an avenue for their businesses to have a personified online shop, where they can redirect their customers on platforms like social media to shop from. Setting up a shop on Mzizzi.com is simple and straightforward, once done, merchants can then share their online shop with potential customers.
This online shop will be complete with a payments gateway that will allow the said merchant to accept payments through various ways preferred by their customers as well as deliveries handled by the Mzizzi.com team, leaving the merchant to focus on their products.
For the customers, Mzizzi.com offers easy checkout with multiple payment methods, fast deliveries across Kenya including overnight shipping and even late hours deliveries within Nairobi because according to James, Kenyans love shopping at odd hours of the night.
Mzizzi.com comes as a complimentary service for businesses that are looking to get into e-commerce. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, the platform offers immediate withdrawals for merchants as well as a buyer-merchant protection feature that will see the merchant only receive payment after the customer confirms a delivery and also protect the merchant from rogue customers who might reject a product even after the merchant has suffered delivery costs.
“If you look at e-commerce in the sense of trying to compete with Jumia, then it becomes a losing game because they themselves are losing,” points out Dayvee as he explains that Mzizzi.com is not out to compete with the big boys but to offer small businesses an avenue for them to make sales without being cannibalized by competition.
The platform comes in two offerings, a free version that will see Mzizzi earn a commission on every sale made through the platform and a premium “Mzizzi Plus” version that will let merchants create their own domain linked to their shop among other benefits.