Unlike in the past where shopping in Uganda was an overwhelming, time consuming and labour intensive process with limited choice and market access, today, one can buy or sell almost anything including clothes, a hotel room or a car, among others over the internet.
This move is such that Ugandans no longer have to rely on international classifiedaertising trade sites like ebay, GumTree or Amazon but now turn to locally run online business sites like Cheki, Tradelinks Africa to buy goods within the country in order to avoid the hassle of overseas shipping.
One simply posts pictures of the item for sell or selects preferred items for buying from multiple options presented on various classified websites or any social site and the deal is sealed. This means that one can actually buy and sell anything via any internet enabled device such as laptops, smart phones and tablets at anytime and anywhere.
As a result of this trend, websites either aertising niche products or a variety of goods for buying or selling are on the rise and attracting several clients to their sites.
A case in point is Cheki Uganda, a locally based online car classifieds website which was launched in 2010 but already has over 7, 000 cars listed on its website for sell with over 12,000 users subscribed to get alerts on new cars.
Mr. Charles Mugyenzi, the Country Manager Cheki Uganda explained that among the things that have worked for their brand in Uganda is that they continue to work in partnership with local trusted car dealers and bonds, and ensure high level security and customer protection on their website.
“At Cheki, we go a long way in helping users protect themselves from fraud or misinformation. The majority of the cars on our website are photographed and uploaded by our own staff. The cars that come in from private sellers are moderated by our quality control team who only upload each car after it’s passed our quality checks,” he said.
He further noted that any car that is sold is taken off the Checki website as soon as possible.
“As well, every car on the website has a report button that can be used to flag any issues with the listing,” he noted.
According to him, the online shopping process has eased customers’ lives and been a major boost to businesses all over Uganda and his classified website currently markets to a large audience that views over 1 million pages a month.
According to Ms. Dorah Kaisy, the Managing Director of Dkay Designs and Events Consultancy, a cyber-page, she uses the page to showcase pictures of new stock of clothes bought locally or imported from abroad.
She explained that customers use the page as a reference point for items they would be interested in.
“Operating a classified website is similar with owning a virtual shop. It also excites my clients who are always waiting to see what new clothes I have in stock. Having an online shop is great because even busy clients who don’t have time to walk all the way to the shop can just make selections from the website which I later on deliver to their premises,” she said.
However, Mr Julius Kasujja, proprietor of Life Touch Images, a photo studio located along Buganda Road said he uses an online page to showcase wedding pictures for his clients. His page is linked to Facebook and other social media sites.
“Several new clients who come to my photo studio say they have seen my photos online and would like to work with me,” he observed.
The global smartphone audience is expected to grow to 1.75 billion by the end of 2014. This further implies that in the near future, one will not need to leave their desk or house to shop or list a property for sell, especially with the increased interest in online trading.
Online experts note that internet users and product consumers need to be on the alert to avoid falling prey for cyber criminals.
“Being conscious of cars aertised as too good to be true prices, people who insist on moving transactions from the original website to a fake site and people who decline to meet the buyer in person but request for funds to be wired ahead of time,” aised Mr Mugyenzi.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor