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Using Ecommerce Mobile Apps to Stock Corner Shops in Africa

Corner shops, otherwise known as Tuck shops or Spaza shops in SA, depend on being restocked either by the owner going to the wholesaler, or a community system for delivery (typically these are run by immigrant owners), or relying on a middlemen passing by every so often with a van full of produce. Some years ago Wasoko (previously known as Sokowatch) was created in Nairobi to provide a basic B2B ecommerce solution for informal shops. Wasoko now delivers to over 50,000 informal retailers across Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Zambia, and in March of last year achieved a US$125m Series B round for further expansion. Recently B2B ecommerce startup Kamioun has been launched in Tunisia as the leading mobile platform for corner shops, helping them simplify replenishment processes as a stepping stone into other aspects of business digitisation.

Kamioun in its current form was formed as a pivot from a previous idea during the first COVID lockdown in 2020, and is essentially a digital wholesaler that makes money by selling goods with a margin on top of the buying price.  Kamioun believes corner shops are an integral part of the social fabric in Tunisia, and in so many other countries in Africa. In Tunisia, Kamioun is competing against a complex set of wholesalers, distribution companies and travelling salesmen, which mostly operate offline and organise visits per zone through cash vans to sell their products.

Alastair Tempest

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