Which is better between online shopping and mall shopping?
About Shop soko
Shop soko is an online retailer who works with artisan entrepreneurs every day to build their businesses, improve production capacity and sustainably increase income.
The e-commerce platform employs technology to give an opportunity for marginalized artisans. They use the mobile phone to connect independent artisan entrepreneurs to Soko in a “virtual factory”.
Soko therefore connects artisans to a plethora of consumers and enable their businesses to grow to entrepreneurial levels. They also connect the artisans to international markets.
The e-commerce platform gives 25 per cent deposit when orders are made in order to help the artisan’s source for materials. The rest is paid after the sale of the jewelry that takes up to eight weeks.
Soko boasts of over 1,800 artisans in Kenya and 300 others based in Uganda and Ethiopia.
How to be recruited on Shop soko
An artist who desires to be recruited to Soko must exhibit the ability to make the designs given to them. The artist is given different designs from other projects which gives them the chance to be added to the artisan platform.
Soko also has an asset financing program that assists artisans to purchase tools they need. An artist earns between Sh200 and Sh1000 per piece while the items are resold at a price of about Sh5000 in the international market.
The company was started in 2013 with a capital of Sh12 million having taken part in several competitions. It is sponsored by a Non-Governmental Organization called Transformational Business Network. The NGO focuses on existing businesses to eradicate poverty.
Online shopping vs Mall shopping
Online shopping like Shop soko presents a formidable opponent to mall shopping in Kenya due to different factors.
First off is convenience. It is so convenient to shop online because you do not have to spend money on fare or fuel. You also will not contend with the annoying traffic jams.
Shopping online is so convenient such that you can conduct a transaction anywhere and at any time. You can buy an item online when at work, going for a business meeting or even at the comfort of your own couch at home.
Still on the convenience part, having placed an order for a certain item, it can be delivered to the location you want.
Secondly, the cost of delivering an order is much lower than going to a place to get it for yourself. Furthermore, some online retailers deliver for free for goods above Sh1000.
Online retailing is also very beneficial when a person is buying an internationally sold item. Some online malls provide items that cannot be found in the local market. The retailers import the goods at a very affordable rate and deliver it right to the buyer’s house.
However the challenge with online malls is the warranty issue where some do not give a warranty for the products sold. You cannot test the functionality of the product at the premises of the business. Therefore if the new product delivered is faulty, the process of returning is a long and complicated process.
On the flipside however the physical malls offer a different experience to shoppers. You can hang out on weekends with friends at popular joints. Under that same roof, you can still have an opportunity to eat at the urban fast food restaurants and eateries. These are benefits you can only enjoy by visiting the malls physically.
Malls report a surge in visitors and consumers during the weekends when doing shopping or weekend hangouts. The malls also offer fun activities for children like bouncing castles, face painting and a horde of many other fun activities.
The malls present shoppers with different varieties of retailers like supermarkets, clothing shops, movie theatres all under one roof.
Online selling is not going to replace mall shopping because of its limited capacity to offer such amazing features for family and friends. The malls are still relevant and on high demand.
I rate Shop soko 3.5 out of 5