Ghanaian retail startup Shopa says it is âredefiningâ informal retail distribution and supply chain by connecting last mile retailers to suppliers and allowing access to inventory in cash or on credit.
Formed in August 2020 after identifying the challenges faced by informal retailers in their replenishment process and their inability to access credit facilities, Shopa leverages digital tools and an integrated delivery network to help informal retailers restock and receive delivery within four hours, without leaving their stores.
âWe identified that sourcing inventory from informal retailers from suppliers was costly in terms of the additional costs they incur for transportation, lost income due to the proximity of stores to go to market for resupply, and lack of access to microcredit because it is considered unworthy of credit, âco-founder Michael Hammond told Disrupt Africa.
Shopa aims to address these issues, by enabling store owners to place orders via SMS, WhatsApp or web app, and have goods delivered directly to their stores. So far, he has helped over 2,000 clients complete nearly 14,000 transactions, and he is looking to continue to grow.
âWe are currently operating in Ghana and there are plans to expand to other African countries in the future,â said Hammond.
Capital is available to accelerate this expansion. Shopa has raised pre-seed investments from MEST and has since secured grants of Google and Catalyst Fund. The startup earns money through commissions on products sold through its platform, as well as through credits granted to its customers through third parties. Hammond said he was confident of carving out market share in an increasingly busy space.
âTraditional distributors and wholesalers are our potential competitors. Other players such as TradeDepot, Alerzo, Omnibiz, Sokowatch and Boost Technology in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana respectively are doing similar things, âhe said.
“However, this industry is huge, and together we are pioneering a new distribution model.”