The online commerce landscape seems to be exploding as more startups jump into this fairly new territory by Zimbabwean standards. The most recent one is Prices.co.zw which quietly went live on New Year’s Day. Founded by Dakarai Martin Mshoperi, Prices.co.zw is an online retail store, or as Mr Mshoperi likes to put it, an “online department store” selling wide ranging products from the tiny toothpicks to high-end Samsung refrigerators.
Prices.co.zw is modeled on a concept similar to Zimall.co.zw in that Prices.co.zw is not the store but “houses” different retailers specialising is different product groups. In commutation sent to Techzim, CE Dakarai says they started developing the website in January 2013 and they say they can deliver products is as little as 90mins.
Not only does Prices.co.zw not keep any product stock, they are not looking to make money from the products in any way. Their revenue focus is on deliveries and Dakarai Mshoperi explains it like this,
The products at prices.co.zw are warehoused at various shops in Harare, so, when a person places an order for, say, bread, our delivery man goes to SPAR, purchases the bread and delivers it to the customer. The idea behind getting shops like SPAR to sell on prices.co.zw is that it makes us (/them) able to sell goods such as groceries online. There are over 100 shops on prices selling various goods. There are shops like Edgars, Truworths, FABS Hardware, Bradlows, Solution Centre, Allan Murray Jewellers, Autozone, Bata, Creative Computers, Veterinary Distributors, and Topics, only to mention a few. These shops sell their goods on prices.co.zw free of charge, we aim to obtain our revenue from deliveries. We want customers to buy their groceries in bulk for the month on our website and have some average sales of $80 per trolley. Our delivery charge when buying from one shop is $15.
We are not sure if deliveries based model will cut in our infant online commerce landscape but what we can confirm is that unlike Zimbogini which has a minimum order quantity and a delivery partner in Zimpost, Price.co.zw has no minimum order value and it seems they will take care of the deliveries themselves. Although Mr Mshoperi says they will actively encourage orders over $80, it’s still not clear how they will do this or what happens when someone orders a low value items – and the items can be as low as $0.20.
Currently payment is limited to Ecocash (they have an Ecocash merchant code) and cash on delivery.
The company behind prices.co.zw is called Universal Intelligence that was formed in January 2013 with the aim of developing software that makes life easier and more organized for people.