E-Commerce

Is Safaricom Giving Up on its E-Commerce Platform Masoko?

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At a time where more people are embracing e-commerce and delivery services to minimise movements in the Covid-19 environment, you would think companies in that category would flourish. Well, the story isn’t as clear as you think. We just recently saw Safeboda announcing their exit from the Kenyan market and now it looks like Safaricom is giving up on its e-commerce child, Masoko.

Is this the end of Safaricom Masoko?

According to The Business Daily, Safaricom has cut focus on growing its e-commerce platform Masoko. Their aim, to concentrate on key product lines such as M-Pesa.

The now Vodafone Business chief finance officer (CFO), Sateesh Kamath, made the disclosures when serving as Safaricom CFO.

“We are very happy for e-commerce companies to flourish. So, whether it’s competitors like Jumia or AliExpress when they flourish, we are happy because our core M-Pesa business also grows.”

When it all began

Since its inception, the Masoko platform has struggled to compete with market leaders such as Jumia. These companies are hard to beat seeing as they host more than 10,000 vendors selling over 3.5 million products.

About a year ago, the telco announced a reduction on the number of products available on Masoko. This came as a shock to many especially since they had to cut ties with several vendors from 200 to 100.

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However, even with that, they still had plans to expand it.

“Some of the biggest lessons we have learned in the last year are a result of the failure of products and services such as  M-PESA 1 Tap and Masoko to take off as planned,” he said during the announcement of 2019 full year results. Since then, the platform has had a rather hard time.

Future

Disclosures contained in transcript calls also reveal the development that has seen the telco cut on the team size.

We are accelerating our focus on M-Pesa and some of the other product lines that we need to do.

Mr Kamath revealed that only a lean team had been left to work on Masoko. Safaricom’s focus now is to grow core products such as M-Pesa and maximise customer loyalty.

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