New retail players are unveiling innovative ways to keep Kenyan families going

Given the uneven prices of everyday basic items like flour, sugar, or milk, it is easy to see why virtual retailers will continue flourishing.

In layman’s terms, a virtual retailer is simply a normal wholesale shop only that it has no physical stores, everything is online.  

In Kawangware for instance, a 2kg packet of maize flour will go for around Ksh 140 in most local Dukas, in a supermarket, the same packet will go for around Ksh 130 while a virtual retailer like Chap Chap Go will offer the same packet at Ksh 122.  

This may appear like small potatoes, but to the common man, it means an opportunity to save on costs. Considering the harsh economic times thanks to Coronavirus pandemic, saving an extra coin will come in handy.

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“We are trying to work with existing community structures and more specifically the low-income segments,” says Mr. Soud Hyder one of the founders of Chap Chap Go a virtual retailer that was launched just two months ago but is already making headwinds.

Mr. Hyder says that he is eyeing a growth strategy that will serve communities at the bottom of the income pyramid.

“We also have this feature called the ‘Group Basket’ which can also double as donation pool,” Says Hyder.

A particular charity will open a Chap Chap Go account where donors can donate to the ‘Group Basket’ through an M-Pesa pay bill number or using Safaricom Bonga Points that can now be used to buy goods and services.

Once the donations hit the pool, the Charity group will then dictate the kind of goods they need to purchase; say flour, or packets sugar that will then be delivered to deserving communities.

Mama Saadia Children’s foundation in Nairobi is currently utilizing this option. The orphanage appeals to its donor communities to donate Bonga Points to its Group Basket and then uses these points to purchase food items on the Chap Chap go service.

A Nairobi based Muslim youth group known as ‘Joined As One’ also operates a Group Basket and appeals to donors via social media to donate Bonga Points and then utilizes the points to purchase food items for families clobbered hard by COVID-19.  

The food items are then packed per family and delivered as Ramadan baskets for needy Muslims.

Packed Donations ready to be delivered

Telecommunications giant Safaricom which is among the companies that have stood out for the sheer scale of their efforts in fighting COVID-19,  launched the Bonga for Good initiative last month to enable Customers to use their Bonga Points to buy goods and services as well as donate to those in need. 

The popular on-demand delivery service Glovo has since partnered with Safaricom and now allows customers to shop for food and essentials using their Bonga Points.   

Until May 11th, the scheme had benefited over 200,000 needy Kenyans. Customers had redeemed more than 670 million Bonga Points equivalent to over KES 200 million. The initiative has now been extended to June 3rd, 2020.

To purchase items, data, or airtime using Bonga Points or to donate them, Safaricom moved to make the process simple. Customers will only need to dial USSD *126# and follow through the guided steps.

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