When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. This is a lesson one Wilson Nderito has learnt only too well. Nderito is an Information Technology (IT) technician with a rich background in computer networking.
Things were going well careerwise for the father of two who, thanks to his skills gained from the Kenya Industrial Training College. After his graduation from the college in 2005, Nderito had a string of luck in landing jobs and successfully worked for several tech companies in Nairobi.
However, each time there were redundancies in the companies, he was always among the victims and would suddenly find himself jobless. But this year, Nderito decided that enough was enough. The techie made up his mind to leave the employment market and start his own venture. And that is how his company, Eastern Bypass Marketplace (EBM) was born.
“EBM is an online hyper-local marketplace that connects local buyers and sellers through a mobile application and website,” he says, adding that “Apart from this facilitation, the online marketplace also offers diverse online shopping cart features that can be availed by any e-commerce hyper-local marketplace.”
The online interface allows vendors to enable tax and shipping or logistical charges automatically upon checkout. Besides, a seller is allowed free shipping to user groups as part of promotional activities.
“In simple terms, EBM is an advanced online shopping cart solution. It provides all the necessary tools for a seller to accept online orders, take payments from clients, make deliveries, handle shipping and for customers to buy what they want,” he says. Since the activation of his App in early February this year, Nderito says he has already recorded positive results recorded through user acceptance and even financial returns.
“I knew many people would appreciate this initiative but not to this extent. In fact, many have confirmed to me that I have simplified their purchases since they can buy what they want from the comfort of their homes.
“This is the same case with the sellers who have not only expanded their market bases but also found the necessary tools to facilitate client interactions and sales” Nderito told CityBiz.
Peter Omari, a boda boda rider based in Mlolongo and a user on EBM, says that since enrolling as a member in March this year, he has recorded a booming business.
“I simply registered my services on this app and since then, I have been receiving immense response from nearby clients who want to use my services. Initially, I used to make less than Sh1,000 per day, but nowadays, I don’t go home with less than Sh2,000,” Omari said.
Beautrice Akinyi, who runs a boutique in Kitengela Town, also receives orders from clients who find her wares in the market App.
“My sales have increased ever since I started using this App to look for clients and I really thank Nderito for coming up with this idea since it has made our work easier” Akinyi said.
Nderito says returns from the online platform are sufficient to cater for his bills including maintaining the family without much struggle like initially. He says to keep the marketplace running, he offers competitive rates for advertising goods and services.
“There is free plan where the seller is only allowed to list limited products, a basic plan for Sh750 where sellers are allowed to list up to 25 different products, and a standard membership plan which goes for Sh1,800 and for which members are allowed to list and sell up to 75 different products,” he says.
Nderito reveals there are currently over 50 active shops registered on his app and which remit their subscription fees on a monthly basis, translating to Sh60,000 per month.
Nonetheless, Nderito reveals the journey has not been without challenges. The greatest one has been marketing the platform. There are also many people who do not understand how the idea actually works, as “the concept of owing an online shop is still a new concept to most people.”