Zetu, Sokopal and MyShillings all gunning to become Kenya’s Groupon.
There is an interesting trend that has been happening in Kenya over the last couple of years. In this trend, everyone it seems is trying to replicate hitherto Internet business models that have been successful in markets such as North America and Europe.
More specifically, the latest affliction of this trend is that of Groupon. Groupon is the world’s largest “deal of the day” web site which currently has over 300 markets as of this writing.
The way Groupon works is that the site offers one “groupon” per day in each of the markets it serves. If a certain number of people sign up for the offer, then the deal becomes available to all. If the predetermined minimum is not met, no one gets the deal that day. This reduces risk for retailers, who can treat the coupon as quantity discounts as well as sales promotion tools.
Groupon makes money by getting a cut of the deal from the retailers. Groupon is said to be the fastest growing company ever and is currently being considered as a major acquisition target by Google for possibly over US$ 3 Billion which is close to double what YouTube was acquired for by Google. Therefore, its no surprise that Groupon’s business concepts is being replicated in Kenya since its a winning idea from any angle, and we all know that Kenyans do love competitions and great deals!
There are three web sites (that I currently know of) that have already started their own take of Groupon for Kenya. These are as follows:
Zetu is probably the first Groupon-like web site that I came across online.Â They also seem to have the most momentum at this juncture with some of the best deals yet and are heavily using email and social media to create brand visibility.
The day that I almost bought a move ticket on Zetu but abandoned the process to run out for a meeting was when I knew that the business concept was spot on! The idea that Zetu got me into the buying process means that many others probably find it to be just as compelling.
I first encountered MyShillings when I met the site’s founder Asif Khan during the recently concluded IPO48 competition. At the time, he was pitching the site as a candidate for funding during IPO48 when they emerged as one of the finalists for the Kes. 1 Million prize.
Currently, MyShillings has an offer for Safaricom Kes. 250.00 airtime at half-price. When I spoke to Asif at IPO48 he said they had many discount deals in the pipeline and they expected to really dent the market in Kenya. I hope this can happen so we can all get those super exciting deals!
Sokopal was probably the last of the Kenyan Groupon clones I encountered. Earlier this week they received some media attention having been featured in one of the leading newspapers.
Like Zetu and MyShillings, Sokopal is pushing discount deals that all of us would like to get in on. I suspect that as they up their media visibility, they will be as well known as Zetu.
In concluding, its hard to tell which of these discount deal web sites will be the market leader in Kenya going forward. One thing is certain though, there are other local and international players who will probably want to get in on the action given that Kenya is fast becoming one of the white hot epicenters of e-commerce in Africa. In light for this, it may actually be a good idea for Zetu, MyShillings and Sokopal to consider consolidating their operations and brands so as to make a massive and collective impact in Kenya. Nevertheless, competition is always a great thing for customers so lets look forward to some great discount deals for the holidays from these web sites!