In a competitive market, with emerging e-commerce players, all offering equal services and promising the same features, Kebrea Ghana has stood tall and created a niche for itself as an innovative leader in the e-commerce space in Ghana.
From being one of the first industry players to insist on a pay-before-delivery payment system, to their variety in product offerings, Kebrea has continued to innovate and has proven that you don’t have to be making so much noise, to make a lot of money in this industry.
I had a very interesting chat with Kebrea’s co-founders, in the days leading up to 2018.
Here’s a recap of that conversation:
Kebrea Ghana – A Background
Kebrea Ghana Ltd. was co-founded by Richard E.K Amenyogbeli & Kweku E. Bentsi-Enchill. We’re known for our flexible payment plans (hire purchase options), and bringing convenience and affordable luxury to the doorsteps of the everyday Ghanaian.
How it all started?
Richard: My co-founder and I became friends in the second year of our University education, where we started thinking about life after school. We decided to start a business with no startup capital. We made a commitment to save Ghc150 each for 5 months; roughly 40% of our national service allowance, before we registered the business and commenced operations in March 2015. Our market entry was to start out as a hire purchase company.
Kweku: We both hold BSc.’s in Banking & Finance and have a key interest in the internet and financial engineering sectors, and have had both had almost 2 years of experience in the Ghanaian banking industry. In our first few months of operations, we sought out to be different from the traditional asset finance industry players and strategize ways of scaling fast and also reaching the masses with our products and services.
Early Challenges Faced
Richard: Having gathered all this experience, e-commerce became our best bet and of course, there were challenges within the market. Firstly, shopping convenience and timely delivery of products was a lingering gap. Customers encountered unfortunate shopping experiences and delays in delivery of products without prior communication.
Kweku: We started Kebrea, while both working in financial institutions. Into our second year of operations, we both quit our day jobs to dedicate our full time and attention to the business. Access to capital, having to quit our day jobs (denying ourselves stable monthly salaries) and default by our asset finance clients are a few of the challenges we experienced over the past 2 years and 10 months.
Richard: We took on a massive risk because we started out at a time when the Ghanaian economy was experiencing challenges with power, local currency, lack of resourceful data, very little or no funding, and mediocre Government support on entrepreneurial initiatives.
Venturing into a startup business at such an unpredictable time in the country’s history which saw the collapse of a number of Ghanaian owned businesses, turned out to be one of the greatest challenges we faced. We received lots of reproach about following our dreams, but our drive, determination, and sacrifice I suppose has brought us this far and positively positioned us, as a startup with a high prospect for growth and expansion.
The Journey So Far
Richard: It’s been an exciting journey really. One void of regrets and sort of a great learning curve. Barely 2 years and 10 months into operations, we’ve worked with a wide range of individual and corporate clientele from different industries, verticals, and geographical locations. We’ve delighted 350+ clients, and delivered 900+ products, with over Ghc 500,110 in sales since March 2015.
Kweku: We started out with just an electronics department but over time created 7 new departments ranging from home, fashion, babies, kids & toys, beauty and health, building materials, grocery and household supplies and office supplies. Consumers still lean towards the brick and mortar shops because of the feel and touch factor associated with that shopping experience. Nonetheless, with an increased internet penetration, and the rise of mobile money and e-payments, e-commerce is projected to grow steadily.
How long did it take to get your first 100 orders?
Richard: It took us about 7 months to get our first 100 orders.
Why did Kebrea choose to scrap pay on delivery, in a Country where e-commerce is still in its infancy and trust is still an issue?
Kweku: We decided to scrap the cash on delivery option as a safety measure, and also as a strategy to promote e-payment, so as to facilitate the growth of e-commerce in Ghana.
How has business been without a pay-on-delivery payment option?
Richard: We believe our clientele base and Ghanaians, in general, are becoming more and more comfortable with e-payments. At a time where the total value of mobile money payments as at September 2017 reached GH¢109 billion, representing a 112% growth over the GH¢51.4 billion recorded from January to September in 2016, plus, with an active mobile money subscriber base of over 11 million, we at Kebrea believe our strategy is a step in the right direction. Business has continued smoothly without any issues.
How about Card Security: Is there a 100% guarantee on security? And what is Kebrea’s promise on delivery time?
With regards to security, we have a 99% guarantee on the safety of Card/mobile Money payments. Kebrea in partnership with its partners has put in adequate measures to ensure the customer’s details and secure. We promise 1-3 working day delivery period.
What makes Kebrea unique from other E-commerce platforms?
What sets us apart in the ecosystem is our consumer finance scheme, aimed at making sure the average Ghanaian is able to acquire basic assets they so desire with flexible payment terms. An approach that provides the client the financial freedom so long as they can service the facility.
Also, we are reasonably priced, have a higher turnaround time and a lower operational cost, thus, giving us an edge over the bigger brick-and-mortar stores and other e-commerce companies currently operating within the industry
What’s the Future looking like, for Kebrea?
Looking ahead, we intend to revamp our asset finance scheme and make it more accessible, increase our distribution channels and embark on a regional expansion agenda.
Thanks to Richard & Kweku for their time. Who knows, we just might get them on our next Agbogbloshie podcast episode.