Retail expert from SafeBoda - Leah, on how brands can survive the pandemic.

Fa calendar 16 grey July 24, 2020   
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In light of the fact that no one knows when this pandemic will be over, ensure your business has gone digital so even more customers can see and interact with your products and services

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The past couple of months have brought to life the famous words of Peter F. Drucker - “Innovate or Die!” The unprecedented times we’re currently living in have shown even the strongest of brands that for them to survive, they cannot continue to do business as usual. They must innovate to move with the times or get snuffed out of the race.

Not all is doom and gloom, however, as the global COVID-19 pandemic has shifted focus from traditional methods of selling, consumption of products by consumers, feedback mechanisms and your management of their feedback thereof that determines if they will be clicking on your shop anytime soon.

Not too long after the Pandemic hit the Kenyan scene, the indomitable Kenyan business spirit arose in similar cadence, proving that you did not necessarily need to work from a physical office to get things done; you did not need to physically go to the market to get your products and you most certainly did not need to dine out or send your office messenger to get you lunch… cue online and mobile everything! Car-boot sales yards and almost everything else turned their energies to the online community in a bid to market their goods and services as a COVID-19 survival strategy.

How do I know this? Well, at the beginning of this year, the amazing organization I work with - SafeBoda Kenya, was all about having customers take Rides and send stuff effortlessly using the SafeBoda App.

At the onset of the Pandemic in March, SafeBoda Kenya was at the tail end of laying the foundation on how the new verticals - Food & Shop, would work on the SafeBoda App. 5 seconds later, I kid you not, we were full throttle, visiting partner-restaurants and shops, signing them up to the SafeBoda platform.

This now became an overnight conduit, bridging customers who would previously physically go sit down to eat at restaurants, go to shopping malls for their supplies, butcheries for their meat and groceries or open-air markets for their fruits and vegetables.

Almost 75% of the Shops and Restaurants on the SafeBoda platform did not have a digital presence and have since seen a smooth, effortless means to continue to not only tide them over these unprecedented times but also generate additional revenue from a business avenue that just might be their new normal.

One such vendor, a greengrocer on the SafeBoda platform that we recently got to talk to is Centeva Fresh and Green - a 360° fresh farm produce direct from farmers to your plates. Centeva Fresh and Green was founded by two green-thumbed gentlemen with a background in banking and insurance, who were previously providing small to medium term loans to women in the market and in the process inadvertently studied the farm to plate process. In March of 2020, at the onset of the pandemic, Centeva Fresh and Green was born.

Their Key Digital Business Learning point? “We recognize that most Kenyans would rather go to the market to “see” the quality of what they are buying and even haggle over price as is per our African culture as opposed to ordering in through an app. To counter this, we have a NO questions asked replacement policy - if our produce gets to you in less than premium condition, we shall exchange it for you at no extra cost - including the delivery!  - Freshness guaranteed!”

“A significant lesson for everyone in business especially in light of the fact that no one knows when this pandemic will be over, is to ensure your business has gone digital so even more customers can see and interact with your products and services” Livingstone asserts.

"No matter how small, do not overlook any opportunity, START!"

Using the SafeBoda App, we have significantly increased the number of orders per day propelling us to open even more outlets to be able to serve a larger customer base and are definitely well on our way to being an international brand! Nairobians can now enjoy meals under 300bob to get to them in minutes courtesy of all the restaurants also available on SafeBoda Food who easily plug in to the existing infrastructure with a pool of 4000 SafeBoda riders.

Restaurants such as Naifast and Crispy Bites have definitely seen great value in being on the SafeBoda App as this has forced them to grow at a faster than anticipated rate owing to the number of orders they now get - all this during these unprecedented times.

Nuggets of advice?  Wake Up! Look beyond your current situation and get your business onto the online community if you are not already there. There’s never been a better time to automate your processes and always think ahead of your 1M online competitors. And as a parting shot, no matter how small, do not overlook any opportunity, START!


About the Author:

Leah Waweru is the Head of Marketing of SafeBoda Kenya and a retail expert. 

Check out open positions at SafeBoda.

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    KALYA Dennis | July 30, 2020 12:24

    Brilliant! This is it!

    Margaret | July 30, 2020 06:18

    Immense opportunities to be explored at current unprecedented times.

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