How to build digital commerce platform for first-time users

User-friendly platforms are slowly but surely gaining traction. FILE PHOTO | NMG
User-friendly platforms are slowly but surely gaining traction. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

As digital literacy rises and money takes to the mobile medium, we see players continue to try their hand at commerce hoping to hit balanced and profitable disintermediation at scale.

There are popular but high burn rate platforms that trying to find their profit footing and others birthed by telco concerns looking to build additional utility to successful yet threatened cash cows.

There are other less known players, building and refining products for well researched segments while gaining traction.

Sky.Garden whom I met after interacting with Norwegian accelerator Katapult is one such company.

Sky.Garden is built for the typical SME merchant; individuals who have never interacted with e-commerce at all or who have been exposed to the concept of digital trade but found the experience to be incompatible with their business structure.

They have employed three pillars: Trust, Payment and Shipping, providing merchants with an online trading platform that charges zero overheads and affordable transaction fees.

This is actualised by offering real time settlement for every transaction done, giving customers same day delivery on all orders made within the same city plus the assurance of zero fraud risk.

Sky.Garden is a crossover of an online marketplace and a plug and play web-shop solution built for informal standards and structures.

Merchants use the self-educative seller android app that provides step by step learnings on how to upload and manage product inventory as well as share their unique product links to social media.

Customers can buy products through a web-app that is optimised for mobile devices. They have pioneered an offline SMS ordering system that considers the fact that not all Kenyans are familiar with the typical e-commerce checkout journey.

As a result, customers have the option to send unique product codes as seen on social media to a free SMS short code.

They have signed up more than 3,000 merchants. Average revenue generated per merchant is just under Sh21,000.

Average delivery time in Nairobi is three hours and 24 hours to all major towns across the country.