Redefining consumer retail in Africa

This Chinese proverb that says “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step,” might have been overly used at the genesis of every adventure that I’m pretty sure it has lost its flavour and sweetness as a well masticated bubble gum has. The proverb, as cliche as it may sound, holds true for us at KudiGo.

As all incredible start-up tales go, KudiGo started from the background of rage, to absolute balderdash, to a sigh, and finally to “what can we do about this situation?” Thus if you’ve heard the Chief Enabler’s story of how he got furious with a micro-finance institution for charging his grandma exorbitant rates on a $100.00 loan, you would understand why this is not just a business to make a profit, but a passion project to change the way the business of the retail market is handled, not just in Ghana, but Africa as a whole.

Taking a step…

It is believed that entrepreneurs look for gaps in every system, and find innovative ways of bridging that gap for the social good of mankind. And thus, KudiGo Storefront was birthed; a retail engine, that integrates payment, analytics and accounting software for the informal and micro retail space in Africa. The idea of KudiGo Storefront was to leverage on technologies that was easily adaptable to an African context, and to reinvent them into usable business solutions that could help grow the informal and micro retail space in Africa. The end goal was to create a socio-economic impact, which ensures financial inclusion for all retail businesses in Africa.

An incredible journey with our Users…

We cannot tell the KudiGo journey without including the role our users have played in getting us where we are now. Though we did get capital injection into the business because we made great impression on some investors with our ideas, our customers have been the real innovators around this technology all along.

KudiGo Storefront, the “poster child” for the KudiGo brand was built on the backdrop of enabling informal and micro retailers, perform certain functions of their businesses effortlessly. We were not going to change the way retailers did their business. Rather, the system was to serve as an efficiency tool. In doing so, we gave users the leeway to give us feedback on the technology and to suggest ways in which it will help them achieve the desired goals for their business. This proved to be a step in the right direction because, a lot of upgrades were made to the system to reflect the needs of the user, rather than what we could offer them. We have several modules and features on the Storefront app now than we did before, and these were all championed by the user.

360 Innovation around the needs of the user…

Though KudiGo Storefront can be accessed strictly on a mobile android device, our endless effort to innovate around the needs of the users and to create a reliable business solutions led to the development of KudiGo Storefront 360. This is a web-based business solution that offers the user a 360-degree oversight of their business operations. Storefront 360 is a new tool that has been added to the Storefront mobile app business suite, to demonstrate our commitment to helping the user grow their business.

After 99 steps, what next?

If we were taking the proverbial 1000 mile journey, we would say that we have just taken 99 steps; 99, because we’ve just begun to scratch the surface of the vision. In our scratching, we discovered a prominent sector in the retail value chain, that needs to be paid critical attention. So in the spirit of creating a retail ecosystem in Africa, we have introduced RapidGate; a supply chain and distribution solution to the KudiGo brand of products.

Introducing RapidGate…

KudiGO RapidGate is a product designed for distributors and suppliers who provide goods directly to retailers in sub-saharan Africa; The goal of this product is to offer this segment of the consumer retail value chain accessibility, and control of their retail and distribution network, via a solution, designed as a modularized product for their specific use cases.

The product has been designed to give complete oversight to the wholesalers, distributors and suppliers. The product has also been designed to function on a mobile app or a mobile web application depending on the user preference or specification.

What the future would look like…

After we take the last step of our 1000 mile journey, we would like to look back and see that we have been able to create an ecosystem, where each and every individual stakeholder engaged in any form of retail on the continent, can have a clear path to business growth, scale and sustainability.

We would also love to have created a direct impact on businesses with an accessible and usable solution, which enables them to access capital and business insights to grow their businesses, and indirectly improve their livelihoods and that of their dependents.

Finally, we want the consumer retail space in Africa to have access to education on financial literacy, which would enable financial inclusion in a market, which although heavily dependent on cash and being widely unbanked, is also known for leapfrogging into innovation and creating new trends across industries.

THE JOURNEY OF REDEFINING CONSUMER RETAIL IN AFRICA was originally published in KudiGo Inc on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.