Online classifieds retail store OLX has expanded the type of goods to include agricultural and construction products on its platform in a bid to reach out to more Kenyans. The decision is seen as strategic considering that agriculture constitutes 24 percent of Kenya’s GDP while construction boom is taking shape across the country.
The company which recently partnered with G4S to smoothen the delivery of goods on its platform, if a customer wants it, feels that the time is ripe for anyone to sell some products like construction stones, eggs, chicken, timber, vegetables and fruits among others.
Embracing agriculture is also seen as a move to weed out middlemen who strangle profits that farmers should make. Already, OLX Country Manager Peter Ndiangui stated that Kenyans across the country have started using the platform especially farmers. Even those who may not know how to use the internet are relying on their sons, daughters, nephews and any other reliable relatives to ensure they do not miss out on making a buck using OLX.
Traditionally, OLX has been popular for connecting buyers and sellers in the clothing, electronics and vehicles categories. This is for both used and unused items. Some of its users get more buyers from using their platform than walk-ins, especially in Nairobi.
There is a weak retail infrastructure especially outside the major towns and cities. The demand for various goods is growing yet infrastructure is not. This is a major pull for the online market like OLX.
A report by Euromonitor for 2014 asserted that internet retailing stands at 6 percent of global trade. In the Kenyan retailing market, where the likes of Nakumatt, Uchumi, Tuskys, Cleanshelf, Quickmatt and Naivas among others exist, the data says that none commands more than 5 percent of the Kenya’s population.
The Euromonitor data on Kenya’s retailing asserts that
The rise of the middle class with high disposable incomes, as well as the improved infrastructure, which lowered transport costs for businesses, were key in promoting retail growth. Another key factor was the growing property boom, allowing retailers to take up prime locations near residential areas for customer convenience, as well as the devolution of services to rural areas, encouraging the footprint expansion of retail outlets nationwide.
OLX wants to consciously target the majority of Kenyans who do not rely on the retail infrastructure.
Moving forward, the company is considering setting up agencies like in Nakuru, Eldoret and later in Kakamega to act as the bridge to interested sellers, especially farmers who could take advantage of their online infrastructure.
In addition, OLX will soon unveil a mobile payment service, like MPesa to better facilitate the payments of goods.