You will agree with me that the internet has revolutionized how most of us shop. Because of the numerous advantages and benefits, more and more Kenyans these days prefer buying things online over the conventional method of going into stores on Luthuli or Moi Avenue.
Kenya boasts of a number of these e-commerce sites; from Jumia which is actually the most popular, Killimall, Safaricom’s Masoko, Avechi and many more. In fact last year, Jumia and Kilimall which are referred to as the largest e-commerce sites in Africa celebrated their 5th and 4th-year anniversary respectively.
Since the uptake of e-commerce started growing in Kenya, a number of investors have tried their lack to tap into this market. Well, a number of them joined the industry, fought their way up and some like Rupu gave up and closed down their operations. And now, a new player, Hashmark, wants to try their luck and tap the growing numbers of shoppers turning to the internet to buy various items.
Hashmart, according to the company was actually started in 2017 but has just been officially launched. The online shop is focusing on premium brands which include electronics and accessories as well as lifestyle collections.
The company is owned by a consortium of local investors led by Mansoor Hussein, a veteran retailer and wholesaler of electronic products in the offline market. It specializes in electronics, and is positioning itself to give established players in this segment a run for their money.
Mr. Hussein, who is also Hashmart’s managing director, says its product range is selected to meet local customers’ tastes. “We are very deliberate in our sourcing of products for both quality, relevance, and affordability for the Kenyan market,” he says.
Among its products are leading smartphones brands, computers, networking products (IT), home appliances, home entertainment and wearables such as watches and sunglasses.
The company’s niche strategy received a major boost recently when it landed a deal to exclusively sale Star X digital smart television brands in Kenya. Star X is one of the fastest growing TV brands in the world, with huge demand in Asia and Europe.
Mr. Hussein says Hashmart, which has a heavy presence in Nairobi, is putting in place systems to expand to other major towns. It has also integrated various payment methods including M-Pesa, PayPal and credit cards.
He said the retailer offers same delivery within Nairobi with weekly and monthly promotional offers of up to 50% discount.
As I said earlier in this article, the e-commerce industry is growing in Kenya, as internet penetration deepens and cost of data drops. More and more Kenyans are shopping online, attracted by lower prices and home or office deliveries. This expanding market is attracting more online retailers and it will be interesting to see how Hashmart will compete against main players such as Jumia, Kilimall and Safaricom’s Masoko.