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Safaricom e-commerce platform set to launch 16 November

Safaricom e-commerce platform set to launch 16 November

According to techweez, Safaricom has issued an official date for the launch of its anticipated e-commerce marketplace called Masoko, set to be launch on the 16th of November in Kenya.

In August, Rita Okuthe, Director of Enterprise Business at Safaricom said there were plans for the marketplace to be a little bit more than an African equivalent of Amazon.com's, marketplace.

Techweez quotes Safaricom CFO Sateesh Kamath as saying,"Kenya has a huge untapped potential for e-commerce. Kenya customers are also savvy in using mobile technology to manage their financial transactions. We believe this market has the potential to grow multiple times in the next few years."

According to techweez, Masoko will adopt an Amazon-like model, where vendors sign up and sell their goods on the platform.

Safaricom will not own any of the stock available on Masoko, but will vet all the vendors and their stock.

"Masoko will launch with 30,000 different types of products and more than 200 vendors. The platform will serve C2C, B2C, C2B and B2B market segments. The main payments option will be Lipa na M-Pesa, which will be running on top of M-Pesa's new API, but other payments options such as Cash on Delivery will be accepted. Masoko will also use logistics services such as Sendy to deliver goods that the customers have ordered."

Safaricom's decision to open the Market came at a time when Africa's e-commerce giant, Jumia Market was announced to be shutting down, potentially creating a launching pad for Masoko. Jumia said its shut down would boost its growth and strengthen the group's presence in Kenya by integrating Jumia Market into Jumia's e-commerce operations.

Masoko has set lofty goals, including a 72-hour turnaround time while targeting MSMEs that are already using social media platforms to reach potential customers. "If you look at Facebook and Instagram, there's a lot of online/offline selling that happens and one of the reasons why they're popular in Kenya is because small-scale, middle-scale merchants use it as a sales tool," Okuthe said.

The company has already stocked 30,000 SKUs and enlisted 200 merchants.

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