Online shopping is changing our shopping experience. If you are a busy person who does not have time to go shopping or you are an introvert who hates crowds online shopping makes so much sense. Or for those people who just want convenience then online shopping just makes things easy.
Today on the small business we feature Wagon Shopping. Wagon Shopping is an online e-commerce website that allows you to shop for supermarket products & phones from your home/office. They say that they deliver in less than 2 hours.
I caught up with co-founder Edgar Ochieng who says he likes of himself as an ever learning entrepreneur. He picks tips from peers (fellow start up entrepreneurs) and the greats (Ray Croc, Jay Z, Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma), and finds a way to infuse what he learns from them into his day to day business life. The Jack Ma connection reminds him to never give up on his dream, Jeff Bezos shows him that people can doubt you today, and in less than a year your steering a million dollar business, Jay Z enables him to fuse cool into business and still watch it strive….that and a hustler mentality. Ray Croc, on the other hand is more old school – “Survival of the fittest”.
Tell us a bit about yourself and the company
My name is Edgar Ochieng. I am the Co-Founder & C.E.O of Wagon Shopping. I studied Journalism at USIU-A. I am a motivated, energetic guy, with a passion and drive to set goals and see them through.
Wagon Shopping is an on demand e-commerce website that allows people to shop for supermarket products from the comfort of their home/offices, and we deliver in less than 2 hours.
How did your company start?
It was one year before I graduated, and I had about 10 business ideas in the field of Tech. My goal was to have at least one of those ideas up and running by the time I finished school. I “picky picky ponkeed” through the list and chose Wagon Shopping.
With Minimal I.T knowledge in terms of coding (normal for a Journalism Major), but enough design know how, I decided to design an illustration of how I felt Wagon should work, and started sourcing for I.T. guys. In my sourcing for I.T. Experts, I met Wagon C.T.O Musa Mutetwi, who turned what I thought was a really good web design illustration, to an even better real life website.
The rest as one white man once said is history.
So far, have you seen the vision that you had set out for your companytake off?
With over 400+ sign ups and an average of 1,500 monthly page views in 12 months of business, I think we are well on our way to achieving the vision as this shows that there is a need in the market for a start up like WagonShopping.
I treat every month as though we are still starting though, as a someone once said that “comfort is the enemy of progress.” So in my head, we are still far away, from achieving the vision.
In the month of May/Sep (2017) with Facebook Ads, and regular Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn Posts we have had an estimated reach of 86,281, with 3,408 of those resulting into actual website engagement and interaction. We had an average of 4,506 page views in the month of May (2017), a 50% increase from March (2017).
When it comes to partnerships, we have come up with deals with various manufactures to sell their products on our website. This brings price mark up as a new revenue stream to the business.
How many people work for you?
We are a team of 5, working on tech, marketing, finance and logistics.
What makes your company stand out from others?
Jumia & Kilimall would be our biggest competitor, in terms of the e-commerce space as a whole. The difference when it comes to what we offer is simple. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you mention the above brands? Electronics. Our niche of supermarket products is what sets us apart.
We also offer “less than 2hr delivery” for all our pre-paid supermarket orders.
What motivates you to do what you do?
Having to not wake up and not work on something that I love is motivation enough for me to work. If that makes sense.
Describe your typical day of work
I wake up, continuously refresh my email, answer customer queries and calls. Because I am both the CEO and Customer service head I talk to potential partners and look at potential investor profiles. I also map out the week’s social media postings and ads that will run, and design the marketing art. Somewhere in there I grab a meal.
What are some of the biggest and most memorable moments so far?
That would be the social impact that Wagon Shopping has achieved so far.
The Wagon Job program has given internship opportunities to 5 undergraduate university students since its inception in February of 2016. 3 who have gone on to graduate from the United States International University – Africa (Raymond Mwaniki & Azim Ebrahim) Strathmore University (Emmanuel Ongaro), and 2 (Lloyd Karoki – Strathmore University & Edward Jaoko – Technical University – Kenya) who are in the process of doing so.
We are looking to increase our Internship intake in 2018, in the hopes of impacting and integrating more job seekers into the market.
The Wagon Rider program has provided jobs to more than 5 riders, through its shop and deliver program were riders sign up, shop and deliver supermarket products for us.
What are some of the ups and down you’ve faced in your business?
I think the down’s have come in at times when I expected funding, and I was told that the company was still young. That can be a downer, especially at the early stages, as you want to accelerate your idea as fast as possible, but no one seems to understand this.
With time I realized that these are the type of things that one has to go through, and in hindsight, it taught me a lot about patience, building your brand, and waiting on the right time for everything. That has really held the basis and foundation for me to be ready for the ups.
What are the challenges of being a young business in Nairobi?
Funding and expansion is the biggest challenge facing young businesses in Nairobi, especially in the tech field. Unless one has the correct connections, so as to create awareness of their product, it is very hard for the product to gain momentum and break even.
Where do you see your company in the next ten years?
We plan to a do city to city expansion with Nairobi as our testing ground for proof of concept. With aggressive advertising, efficient and timely deliveries, frequent offers, and a good customer service base, we hope to achieve a greater market share.
We plan to expand to at least 10 cities in East, Central, West & The South Africa.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs who are just starting out?
Always be mentally prepared for short triumphs, and long disappointments. That way, work will never stress you, and you will see every disappointment as a lesson.