Kenya’s simplePOS to help small shops move away from pen and paper records

KENYA – Kenyan startup simplePOS, an easy-to-use, convenient, secure solution for retail business, aims to move small shops away from pen and paper records using mobile technology, and is already working with 6,000 merchants.

Anderson Riungu launched simplePOS, which aims to take shop records mobile in August 2018. Besides recording sales, the application lets users create inventories and return lists, and view sales reports and stock levels.

“With time, as we grow, we aim to enable the small businesses to order goods from partner suppliers within the app and also provide other services like loans in partnership with banks,” Riungu said.

According to Disrupt Africa, the startup already has around 6,000 shops using its app and has a retention rate of about 70 per cent. Part of the appeal is its lightweight smartphone app, and its low cost.

“Most small shops can’t afford POS machines, so they just write down their sales, but simplePOS just aims to complement that task. I have not encountered an app targeting that group the way we are,” Riungu said.

The self-funded startup has not started charging its users yet. The plan is to eventually charge US$1 per month to use the app, but it has not yet activated that feature as the aim is to get to a critical mass of about 30,000 users beforehand.

“My go-to-market model has been slightly different from conventional startups,” Riungu said.

“I have a version of simplePOS called simplePOS Elite – this is for SMEs with distribution networks and salespeople already. It has a web and Android interface.

“I usually give it to them for free and have their salespeople market the generic one to the small shops. It is easier to get these small shops using our app if it is marketed to them by someone who has been selling to them for months or years, someone they know.”

This approach has already worked well, and simplePOS is now planning further growth in Kenya. Riungu also hopes to expand to other markets in the future, most immediately regional counterparts Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda but also Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria.

“With time we hope it can be the preferred app in the developing world,” he said.

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