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Technology

It’s time merchants dropped kiosks idea

The kiosk businesses have served Kenyans well, but the digital design ought to take over. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The kiosk businesses have served Kenyans well, but the digital design ought to take over. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

It is said that every Kenyan has a side hustle, which makes us rank well in the unscientific polls that try to measure the entrepreneurial spirt across nations. If only for a feel good vanity metric.

My biggest pet peeve, however, is that we have lived with the kiosk mentality for far too long, limiting how we perceive markets, promote, price and even distribute.

The moment we see a friend or co-worker strike moderate success, we are quick to try and replicate and undercut in the hope of siphoning their client base and revenues.
So it, therefore, becomes, everyone with their little shoe and clothes shop selling on Instagram, Facebook, even taking orders via WhatsApp.

Granted, the mediums of engagement are legitimate and the revenues may be decent for a cottage industry hustle, but it leaves a lot to be imagined, in view of the larger opportunity.

In a world that is connected by Internet, facilitating communication and commerce, there should really be more entrepreneurs actively selling in the global marketplace.

Yes, there is the constant clarion call for increased investment in manufacturing sector to create jobs through value addition of raw materials, but before we can navigate the political side of things, we should be proactive and realistic about the options to deliver the same value.

Drop shipping is an opportunity that many can begin to explore. Creating excellent e-commerce experiences is not difficult and neither is research into what the world is searching for and buying.

What one needs to crack though, is the identification and engagement of a manufacturing and logistics partner, often requiring a visit to hubs in Asia where infrastructure is developed.

Highly simplified, you would not interact with products physically but instead funnel orders to the manufacturing centres from where dispatch is also done.

Digital stores allow you to move other people’s products or yours in time to markets globally. While you still have daily business to take care of and the normal rigours of business, you save on money and reduce stress by having zero stock to manage and the possibility of limitless inventory.

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