One year after being acquired by Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) company Lipa Later, Sky.Garden, the Kenyan e-commerce platform has relaunched.
Lipa Later says it has invested Kshs 250 million in Sky.Garden, an investment that has seen the online retailer revamp its platform to introduce new features in its Ecosystem.
With the relaunch, Sky.Garden says it hopes to connect 100,000 merchants in the next year.
Lipa Later, Group CEO Eric Muli said this investment is set to have a twofold impact, empowering both businesses and customers. “Our group vision is to be a commerce catalyst for businesses and communities across Africa. We firmly believe that local ownership and operation are essential in understanding the needs of our people, contributing to the prosperity of our nation, and forging a true connection with our community.’’
‘’This local insight has empowered us to bring the vast world of e-commerce closer to Kenyans while simultaneously creating opportunities for local entrepreneurs and merchants to thrive.” he added.
The Sky.Garden ecosystem according to a statement sent by the company encompasses not only the convenience of online shopping but also the infrastructure for local businesses to thrive. From seamless payment solutions to logistic support, marketing tools, and business insights. Entrepreneurs can build, grow, and expand their ventures within the platform’s ecosystem, while shoppers enjoy an variety of products, services, and a shopping experiences.
‘’Today marks a significant milestone in the evolution of Sky.Garden, as we embark on a transformative journey to enhance and broaden our offerings for both merchants and customer communities.’’ Juliet Wanjiru, Head of E-commerce Sky.Garden said.
The firm has also introduced products such as Sky.Tickets, Sky. Logistics, Sky. Commerce, and Sky.Wallet, as it seeks to diversify its merchant categories to include a dynamic online marketplace for services and events. Notably, Sky.Wallet will offer tailored solutions, empowering merchants with access to financing, real-time transaction monitoring, direct bill payments (including utility bills and salaries), seamless deposits and withdrawals to Mpesa or Bank, and the ability to open a bank account.
Sky.Logistics on the other hand will ensure the company does same-day delivery for customers.
The platform has also introduced Buy Now, Pay Later, powered by LipaLater as a convenient alternative payment option, providing flexibility and ease in transactions.
At the same time, Sky.Garden has also ventured into social commerce. The company says Sky.Commerce is set to revolutionize the online shopping experience by seamlessly integrating social interactions with e-commerce. ‘’This innovative platform will allow shoppers to discover, share, and purchase products directly within their social networks. Merchants on the other hand will be able to reduce their online interactions and make sales all the time from anywhere,’’ it says.
The Sky.Garden relaunch coincides with the rapid expansion of e-commerce markets in Kenya and other African countries, driven by factors such as increased internet penetration and more affordable data costs.
Growing internet access is expected to boost the African e-commerce market in the upcoming years. By 2030, the internet penetration in the region will reach an average of nearly 70%, according to Euromonitor — a considerable jump from 45% in 2023. Most of the access revolution is due to mobile connectivity with 83% of the African population currently covered by a mobile broadband network, according to GSMA.