Zimall, one of the few online retailing startups that have been operating consistently in Zimbabwe just sent out a message to its stakeholders announcing that it would be shutting down its online retail business.
According to its announcement and a notice on the site, Zimall will no longer be taking any more orders via the website. It will instead be
…providing our e-commerce software to other businesses who are looking to expand their retail by adopting electronic commerce.
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Which sounds a lot like “leasing” its platform to other retailers that either don’t have the resources to explore online retailing or the time to invest in building a new platform and some traction.
Techzim reached out to the Zimall team to get further clarity on their decision. We are yet to receive a response.
Zimall’s plans to shutter its store and focus on delivering online retailing value through other ways will likely come as a surprise to people in the local tech startup space as well as customers who have been buying products from the online store.
In the four years that Zimall has been operational, it had attracted a fair number of users and had emerged as a local startup with a viable business model that had been supported by the team’s efforts to solve some of the challenges that come with running a small tech business and selling products online.
This change could be an indication of other models that online retailing and e-commerce startups in Zimbabwe have to consider in order to be viable.