Nairobi Business Monthly
achieved numbers and monetisation, he knows that the race is far from over. “The length of time needed to build a consum-er brand and transform a market can’t be done in a year,” he said. “You need time and stamina. We’ve come into this business knowing it’s a long term play and it’ll take ﬁve years of invest-ment at least.” And so he has spent a good part of the last two years building the Cheki brand and the business. “Once you’ve got that, proﬁts come out of that. Proﬁts are not our number one objective; market share is, and actual value delivery. Monetisation is an output.”In his opinion, this is the ﬁrst challenge that e-commerce businesses in Kenya face. “The idea that just because there are people and there’s internet, therefore there’s big internet busi-nesses is far from an equation that’s true. We have to do what everyone else does which is build an actual business from the ground up. Slowly. There’s no quick free easy money.”While other companies have chosen to focus on building websites, Cheki - with its simple layout - has focused on a critical mass for its service through sales and marketing, brand recognition and delivering quality service to customers
A shop and the window
Cheki employs 350 people across Africa, 50 of them in Kenya, and intends to double its workforce locally by the end of the year. The business has a network of sales people on the streets who engage with car dealers on a weekly basis. At a cost of Sh20,000 for a car dealer, and Sh750 per car for a private seller per month, a car can be advertised on
. Cheki handles all the photography and content preparation. With this simple approach that focuses on building business networks, Cheki is able to deliver between 30,000 to 35,000 car buying leads to dealers every month.“It’s all very well having 20,000 cars on a website. Anybody can do that. It’s quite a di
erent thing from selling $40 million in cars,” said Mr Eaton. With a turnaround of three days for a popular car,
In an e-commerce business, the website is simply the window to the business.