Innovation Leads to Turnaround for Kenyan Retailer
Amidst Kenya's bustling informal trading scene emerges a beacon of innovation that underlines a cardinal rule for businesses of any scale: Stay agile and swiftly respond to consumer preferences.
John Koome of Twiga Foods, a company that bridges farmers to retailers, shares the journey of a local entrepreneur who once owned two ‘vibandas’ or food stalls. Twiga's daily tomato delivery to these stalls painted a grim picture; the vendor grappled with towering rents and wages, leading to unsustainability.
Seeking change, he swapped the vibandas for a ‘mkokoteni’ - a local two-wheeled cart. This move not only transformed his business trajectory but also amplified his tomato sales. From selling two crates daily at his shops, he now boasts a sale of about five 22kg crates daily from the mkokoteni.
So, what's so enchanting about this mobile cart?
1. Proactive Selling: Rather than being stationary, the entrepreneur takes his wares directly to consumers, enhancing customer reach.
2. Consumer Perception: Customers often view produce from mkokoteni as fresher and more economical than those from traditional stalls.
3. Flexible Stocking: The mkokoteni provides the flexibility to stock products that are in demand, turning higher profits without the constraint of permanent clientele.
With profits touching Kes 2,000 daily (US$14) from tomatoes alone, this translates to a monthly profit of Kes 60,000 (US$420).
Reflecting on the entrepreneur's success, Koome shares a conversation: "When asked about his low-sales days, the vendor remarked, 'I no longer have a bad day unless I choose to'."
Key Insight for Aspiring Entrepreneurs: Embrace change and continually align with market and consumer shifts for success.