Have you been to masoko.com lately?
At a time when other competing e-commerce platforms, both locally and abroad, are getting upbeat about the upcoming holiday shopping season and going gaga with their Black Friday deals, Masoko has all but given up, or so it seems.
The Safaricom e-commerce platform launched just 2 years ago, it appears, is all but dead in the sense that we have known it in the 2 years it has been around.
A quick look at the site at the time of writing this reveals that everything, other than phones and their accessories, has been scrubbed off the site.
This, it appears, is not an accident. While we have no idea what is going on with what was once billed as the platform that would give Jumia Kenya a run for its money, Dickson over at Tech-ish is privy to some goings-on regarding the platform over the last few days.
Apparently, the latest communication to the vendors trading their wares on the platform notifies them of their products being pulled from the site within 7 days (that happened sooner). More importantly, the email sent to the vendors notes that in the future, there will be a reduction in the number of products available on the Masoko platform.
The only vendor that is still standing on Masoko.com is Safaricom itself.
Safaricom has, since the launch of Masoko, operated its own online store featuring products from its local retail shops while still maintaining a page on its main website that led visitors to its old online shop pre-Masoko. As correctly captured by Tech-ish, that page is no more and visitors are redirected to the Masoko store. Previously, that used to be a section of the platform but now it is all that there is.
A year ago, the late Safaricom CEO Bob Collymore was quoted saying that Masoko was one of the products and services the giant telecommunications company had started that had failed.
Has Safaricom finally said “good riddance” to its ambitions to, as stated in its 2018 Sustainability Report, “stimulate the nascent e-commerce market in Kenya”? Or is it just taking a brief timeout and getting its house in order before making a strong come back?
If the former is the case then that would be quite unfortunate as we have made it a habit to crawl the site every now and then looking for any of the several deals that usually pop up there. At least for us, there is still room to do so no matter what happens since what matters the most to us, phones and accessories, are still available. Of course, minus the variety and savings that third-party vendors brought to the platform.