Deacons targets rich online buyers with new portal
Clothes retailer is eyeing tech-savvy young customers
Clothing and lifestyle goods retailer Deacons East Africa is set to open an online portal to tap tech-savvy customers with an eye on boosting flattening sales and cutting operating costs.the Nse-listed firm plans to start taking orders online and delivering them to customers’ doorsteps in the first quarter of next year.
The loss-making retailer yesterday said the e-commerce platform, being developed at a cost of between Sh10.32 million and Sh15.48 million ($100,000-$150,000), will cut operating expenses by about 20 per cent.
Chief executive Muchiri Wahome said the firm is drawing on lessons from online shop-
Firm plans to start taking orders online and delivering them at customers’ doorsteps
Deacons chairman Peter Gichohi Njoka (left) with chief executive o icer Muchiri Wahome.
ping platform, Jumia, where its brands are digitally marketed, in designing its own platform.
Mr Wahome was, however, quick to add it may take more than two years for the system, largely targeting affluent young clientele, to start driving sales.
“E-commerce has to be convenient, easy to use and that’s what we are building. It is just to make sure there’s easy access, quick transaction capability and there’s quick delivery,” he said. “We are presently on Jumia where we are learning interesting lessons. It is going to take time. I don’t expect that in 24 months, online sales will surpass 10 per cent but the opportunity thereafter is enormous.”
The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) traded firm is struggling to grow sales in the upmarket shopping malls, which house 98 per cent of its stores, due to falling customer traffic attributed to non-performance of major supermarket anchor tenants.