eCommerce is short for Electronic Commerce. In Kenya, physical shopping is slowly becoming a thing of the past. With the help of the internet, people can buy and sell virtually everything, like books, electronics, apparel, software, furniture. E-commerce provides a platform for people to buy or sell whatever they want, whenever they want.
Before the coming of eCommerce, the dominant form of commerce was the brick-and-mortar. Brick-and-mortar businesses are retail outlets that have at least one physical location. Now, the very activity of shopping, and the thinking processes behind the purchase, are all being revamped by a start up called Sky.Garden.
Launched in May 2017, Sky.Garden is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for mobile commerce that is built specifically for African businesses. Its easy-to-use online marketplace allows informal traders, SMEs and established businesses to sell their products.
Sky.Garden raised a US$1.2 million seed funding round in 2018, and it has now taken on a further US$4 million in capital via a Series A round featuring SANAD Fund for MSME, Aavishkaar, UNCOVERED FUND and KSK Angel Fund, the latter founded by Japanese former AC Milan footballer Keisuke Honda.
The investment will be used to accelerate the startup’s growth. Since its launch, thousands of stores in Kenya have opened webshops through Sky.Garden, which allows a retailer on one side of Kenya to sell products to a customer on the other side without any tech background. Purchased items will be delivered within 24 hours, and the money paid into the vendor’s account when the customer accepts the item.
Through the incredible strides of startups such as Sky.Garden, the eCommerce sector is rapidly evolving as the Internet becomes more accessible in different parts of the Nairobi, and Kenya for that matter. Traditional retail businesses are migrating to the eCommerce space. Therefore, expanding their reach to consumers and also staying in the competition.
The improvement of consumer experiences in eCommerce stores is evident. An increase in Internet accessibility, ease of transaction, plenty of products and personalized offers, absence of the constraints of a physical presence and interaction makes online shopping desirable to consumers.
“Sky.Garden’s sole focus is to provide African sellers with best-in-class technology to access and reap the benefits of online commerce. This investment round will allow Sky.Garden to drive impact at scale. I’m looking forward to an exciting new chapter with these great partners pioneering e-commerce with the African entrepreneur in mind,” said Martin Majlund, chief executive officer (CEO) of Sky.Garden.