Lagos-based retail-tech startup One Kiosk is leveraging geo-location and machine learning to connect owners of local stores with potential customers online.
Founded last year, One Kiosk targets informal retailers and “mom-and-pop stores”, helping them connect to online users based on location, and also providing them with sales data which enables them to access credit lines from partner financial institutions.
From a customers perspective, the platform allows users to find stores near them, search products, and make orders for delivery within an hour.
Led by chief executive officer (CEO) Adeshina Adewumi, the One Kiosk team combines experience from Stanbic IBTC, Andela and Proville, and hopes to become a leading e-commerce solution by targeting excluded areas of retail.
“The informal retail space has been left out of the value chain of e-commerce in Africa for too long,” Adewumi said.
“But previous e-commerce models did not fill the infrastructural gaps in Nigeria and Africa. This has led to the shutdown of most e-commerce solutions in the past.”
To address this issue, One Kiosk uses geo-location, which it combines with a zero inventory model since it has partnered with regular brick and mortar stores.
“This has helped us achieve more efficient turnaround time for delivery while also cancelling out pay on delivery – a death trap for most e-commerce solutions in Africa – since most of the stores are trusted stores already known by users who only want to enjoy convenience,” said Adewumi.
Since launching its pilot in July 2019, One Kiosk has onboarded over 14,000 merchants, and has seen US$50,000 worth of transactions pass through its platform.
Its pilot was focused on Lagos, but One Kiosk is now ready to expand across Nigeria.
“Our system has been deployed from day one to scale into any country with little modifications,” Adewumi said. “As of today any vendor from any part of the world can list on our platform. The only issue would be around settlement since we currently only accept settlement for Nigerian banks. We however look forward to penetrating South Africa, Ghana, Egypt and Kenya within the next 3-5 years.”
One Kiosk makes money through commissions on transactions that take place through its platform, but plans to charge for subscription to the system once it fully populates its merchant base.
“The merchants who wish to appear top based on each location they own a store would have to pay a premium monthly fee, in addition to other data we would provide them to position their stores and inventories,” said Adewumi.
Self-funded until now, the startup is in talks with a number of investors around funding now that it feels its model has been proven. Securing funding as an e-commerce platform will have been a significant achievement, Adewumi says, given most venture capital firms have a “stigma” towards e-commerce in general.
“Once they hear “e-commerce” they instantly block you off. However most VCs who at first refused to hear us have now begun to engage once they get to understand how this model works,” he said.