Monday, 20 June 2016 09:03

Transporting Uganda’s e-commerce into the future

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Innovator and disruptor … Yunus Masaba of Transporter Corporation speaks at an entrepreneurship event Innovator and disruptor … Yunus Masaba of Transporter Corporation speaks at an entrepreneurship event
When Yunus Masaba saw that Uganda’s informal taxis weren’t providing a suitable delivery service to the growing number of online shopping businesses in the city of Kampala, he came up with a solution – and a new business model. Initially it was e-commerce operations such as Hello Food, which partners with restaurants to home-deliver food orders to consumers, which provided the impetus for Masaba to co-found the business called Transporter Corporation. “Until we entered the market, Hello Food and other [online sales] companies relied heavily on the ‘boda-boda’ taxis (motorbikes and bicycles which serve as taxis) for deliveries. However, due to their informal nature, it wasn’t working and we saw an opportunity that nobody else had noticed,” he says in the latest issue of ‘Strategic Marketing Africa’, the publication of the African Marketing Confederation (AMC). Transporter Corporation subsequently provided a delivery service for several other e-commerce businesses and then moved on to deal with supermarkets and set up its own platform called ‘Your Supermarket’. This allows customers to shop at different supermarkets and Transporter Corporation will deliver. “[But], with our exposure in transportation, we did not want to stop at only transporting goods. We have now extended our offer to a chauffeur service, which mainly provides executive transportation,” Masaba tells the magazine. Given that the business is heavily dependent on interacting with customers online, he concedes that the high cost of data is one of the threats. “New players have entered the market, so we are hoping the prices will be drop. Costly Internet limits the number of customers we reach, so our expansion is limited. We find people have to make a trade-off; would they rather physically go the marketplace, or incur the high costs of Internet in order to use our service?”
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