NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 29 – Like how Uber put taxi owners out of business, meat order and delivery online services may soon put your favorite butchery out of work.
Ericson Mwaniki, a Nairobi based meat vendor, identified and is now implementing a simple idea; to enable customers buy their favourite matumbo, chicken, fish fillets and meats of all kinds from their mobile.
The City Market-based meat vendor says the success of his butchery, is increasingly becoming dependent on mobile due to the use of Facebook, WhatsApp and Voice calls.
“We get all sorts of buyers telling us how easy and convenient it has become since we started doing the business online. Customers no longer need to leave your office or home to go buy meat,” Mwaniki, who owns the Kamundia Butchery at City Market, said.
Liz Santos, who operates a similar business, says she too was attracted to taking the business online because of its ease and adaptability.
“It has been 2 years since I took the business online. People like how convenient it, especially for people who work outside the city,” Santos says.
At City Market, activity seems to be slower than usual. According to Santos, this is not unusual and can be explained by the fact that many customers are opting to place orders using their mobile phones and have their meat delivered, rather than shopping from the market physically.
“These days, almost every adult has a mobile phone; this means many people are being able to connect with us using these devices. Those who do not have WhatsApp get us on Facebook, those who do not, only need to call us,” Mwaniki says.
“We are even thinking of going on TikTok,” he quips.
Mwaniki’s Kamundia Butchery has over 15,000 followers on Facebook. His WhatsApp contact list similarly has hundreds of people.
Wambua Nduku, a Nairobi resident who frequently places meat orders online says she migrated from the old method of purchasing meat and has never looked back again.
“Before I knew about this service, I used to set time aside for coming to City Market as it is one of the very few places, I trust in purchasing meat. I also used to buy from a butchery in my neighborhood but most time, they would not have what I wanted, for instance, fresh fish,” she said.
“I jumped into the meat order and delivery service bandwagon immediately I learnt about it mainly because it saves me a lot of time,” she said.
Trust is however an issue that is tested a lot of times in the business.
According to Mwaniki, new customers are especially doubtful because they do not handpick the meat we send their way.
On her part, Wambua said she has only been ordering from one supplier as she has established a trustworthy relationship with them.
Annette Olewe is new to the service.
She says it took time to warm up to idea, especially because meat is sensitive and can be dangerous if mishandled.
“I was more than just surprised to see a few of my family members purchase meat online, and this was very hard for me. The first time I tried the service, I was not very satisfied with the experience. However, I was able to identify a good supplier and I am now content,” Olewe said.
For trust to remain unbroken, both Mwaniki and Santos say they source meat from Dagoretti Slaughterhouse as it is one of the few places they trust explicitly.
The businesspeople however disclose the sort of challenges they go through, for instance, payment upon delivery.
“I have had instances where a customer orders meat but refuses to pay for it upfront. Some will say the meat they received does not meet their expectations and refuse to pay for it, despite having incurred transport costs,” Mwaniki said.
“Other customers complain that they do not want to pay for their orders before receiving, which makes it hard to sustain the business.”
Mwaniki adds that meeting customer’s expectations, especially with regards to time taken to deliver, is also a major challenge.
Both Mwaniki and Santos say they are optimistic the service will disrupt the industry; “we hope to be part of the group of people who change how this sub-sector operates.”
STORY BY JULIE OWINO AND LABAN WANAMBISI