We talked to Stephen Obeli Someday of Kweli.shop about providing fast, secure and hassle free shopping experience, and he had the following to say:-
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Stephen Obeli Someday: COVID-19 has affected every single family’s way of life and mine is not different. I thank God that none of my immediate family members lost a job because of Covid-19 so we are doing well so far.
We also made it a point to invest in multiple ventures. I am myself involved in some form of farming as well as marketing consulting while maintaining my main job at kweli.shop.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Kweli.shop.
Stephen Obeli Someday: I am a web marketing and sales specialist, and web user experience designer, with training in real estate management and valuation.
I love simplicity and joined Kweli in trying to find a solution for people who, like myself were working long hours throughout the week yet didn’t have a way to easily buy quality products at good prices without having to skip work to run around town and secure a bargain.
Together with 2 other friends, one of whom left quite early, we agreed that I would handle the technical (web app design) and marketing aspects of the business as one offered the order fulfillment logistics and the other did the supply chain management.
How does Kweli.shop innovate?
Stephen Obeli Someday: At Kweli.shop we listen, we learn and act fast, with as much precision as possible. When many customers complained about delivery fees, we developed ways of offering free deliveries.
As we speak, we are the only company in the country that offers free deliveries to places as far as 60 kilometers away from the capital city. Late last month, we made a free delivery of heavy appliances to a client in the new Soroti City, a city 300 kilometers away from Kampala, the capital city. We hope to extend free delivery to all towns in Uganda by the end of 2022.
We have used the same approach to satisfy several other customer needs such as same-day delivery, free installation, free product demos and service past 5pm. When we saw that more people were calling past 5pm and over the weekends, we decided to remain open over the weekends and keep attending online up to midnight, daily.
Is your company purely online?
Stephen Obeli Someday: Yes, but the African customer wants a mix and it is them that we are here to serve. We already started work on our omnichannel strategy testing out the local pick up option with our biggest supplier. Before the end of year we hope to have physical outlets in the 6 new cities for mostly the addon products, the same will serve as local fulfillment/demonstration centres and pick up points.
Where are the products sold on kweli.shop sourced from?
Stephen Obeli Someday: Kweli.shop partners with official distributors of top global appliances brands for the supply of merchandise to be listed and sold through www.kweli.shop. This helps ensure that the quality standard is maintained and counterfeit products never find their way to our customers through the platform.
How did the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Stephen Obeli Someday: The Pandemic caught us unawares, but worked in our favour.
We were barely 1 year old, with a business model barely generating results when the pandemic hit Uganda, but the advantage was that we had spent most of the first year fixing the systematic operational requirements of the business; e-payment systems, etc.
That helped us cope quickly and in the second year (ending April 2021) we recorded a sales growth of over 600 percent.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Stephen Obeli Someday: Yes, we did. We were forced to go be extremely lean because the uncertainties just kept increasing so we were not sure what would happen next. Working with a small team sometimes slows us down.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Stephen Obeli Someday: Generally our CRM has got better but more importantly we are a learning entity; we are still improving.
For customer relationship management we typically use HUBSPOT CRM and WhatsApp Business.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Stephen Obeli Someday: We haven’t got any so far.
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