With the government's advisory to embrace technologies that avoid physical contact during COVID-19, e-commerce is perhaps the biggest beneficiary as consumers shift online. Among the emerging players is e-commerce platform Sky.Garden which is giving retailers an opportunity to connect to the digital market hence, giving the industry a lifeline.
Speaking to SDE on phone Sky.Garden Chief Marketing officer Isaac Hunja said the platform is especially helpful to small businesses, as there are not entry or registration fees.
“Sky.Garden works on commission and takes a service fee of 8% on every transaction. As business owners are uploading their products, there are two fields for price - ‘Your Prices’ & ‘Sales Price’. ‘Your Price’ is the amount of money you will get from the sale of an item. While ‘Sales Price’ is the amount the customer will pay for the item, which includes Sky.Garden’s 8% service fee. That way, sellers can very easily put in how much they want to make from the sale of an item minus Sky.Garden’s 8%,” he said.
According to Hunja, fraud is a major challenge faced by most retailers at this time of crisis.
“Many of the business that you find running in informal marketplaces don’t have a sophisticated e-commerce platform that they can use to expand their geographic reach. Most of the platforms that they have access to are littered with fraudulent cases that makes it hard for them to present themselves and their products as legitimate,” he said.
The Sky.Garden merchant app is a fully stocked inventory management system that business owners use to upload products, specify price points, stock levels, variants and much more. Once products are uploaded they immediately appear on the customer marketplace which is a website under the URL www.sky.garden. Each business owner gets a unique link for both their web shop and each of their products that they can share to their networks directly from the app.
Hunja noted that another major problem businesses face is distribution. They may get a potential customer that wants a delivery made to them, however, the cost and headache of make it happen have driven many business owners to only rely on walk-in customers. Some business owners don’t have physical stores as well and spend lots of time and money dashing from location to location picking and dropping products.
“With Sky.Garden business owners have the benefit of having their products delivered for them, at absolutely no cost to them. In the event that a customer makes a purchase for a product on the platform, Sky.Garden’s platform will ensure end-to-end fulfilment of the order. After a product is successfully delivered, the seller is paid immediately through mobile money (MPESA),” said Hunja.