Last year, they called it Konga Mall and released it to only to a hundred beta testers. This morning, the online store is announcing that their online marketplace is finally out of beta and available to anyone who would like to bring their goods to their platform’s massive userbase.
According to the official release from Konga, the new offering will cater to the needs of not only big wholesalers and retailers, but even road-side and market traders across the country.
Designed to “exponentially drive the adoption of e-commerce in the country through unrestricted yet structured participation”, again according to the release, Konga’s marketplace is deeply reminiscent of Alibaba’s Taobao and its consumer to consumer (C2C) model. A nationwide logistics footprint and recent delivery partnerships with UPS are also some of the plays that Konga has been working on to position itself to take advantage of what might become the true long tail of Nigerian e-commerce.
Konga is sitting on a huge war chest of cash — the startup recently raised $25 million dollars in follow-on funding, suggesting that it does not plan to lag behind Jumia in the great Nigerian e-commerce land grab. Konga CEO, Sim Shagaya is however applying his resources more shrewdly than is typical of the e-commerce rabble. By recruiting a nationwide army of retailers who source, manage and deliver their own goods, Konga might soon not have to actively invest in inventory. Or warehousing for that matter.
We are assuming they have worked out the kinks from the Konga mall beta, but it is possible that this sort of expansion might introduce new problems for the startup. As Konga has grown, so also have the number of gripes from customers — vocal social media patrons call them out regularly for one logistics hangup or the other.
Konga staff has informed TechCabal that the startup is currently working hard on its ERP and CRM technologies to smooth out the wrinkles and assures that issues will fade as they consolidate their backend systems.
The market place will open in a few weeks, but intending retailers can indicate interest in participating by pre-registering on the site.