To operationalise zoppah.com so that people from Southern Africa are able to shop & ship goods from China without going there. Zoppah is the eCommerce platform for Southern Africa.
Its all about making it easy for people to shop & ship goods from China with ease mainly for people in Southern Africa. The screenshots below are from the users of the Platform as we have been pretesting it for going live.
We recently formed zoppah.com an online platform focused at ensuring that people from Southern Africa are able to shop online and receive their goods within 2 weeks like their counterparts from all parts of the world. Its base is the Thousands of small businesses who have learnt how to shop online, and are mainly from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho amongst other countries. There are over 10,000 such vendors who will get an opportunity to open their store on the platform. Each of the Vendors will be using their store front as their online store.
Zoppah makes it possible for these entrepreneurs to open their stores and sell directly to their customers without them having to stock. Over the past 3 years it has become clear that shopping in China Online is possible for us here in Southern Africa, unfortunately the Logistics have always made it seem almost impossible. The system that has been set up by Zoppah is to ensure that goods are received within 10 to 20 days if by air and 6 weeks to 8 weeks if by sea. By consolidating parcels, it makes shipping affordable even for those with small orders.
Establishing Zoppah has been made possible by coming together of Siku Nkhoma (Malawi) and Stan Morake (South Africa) who have brought their ecommerce & IT expertise (respectively) to come up with a platform that actually solves a problem people have. The platform started trial orders in July and so much has been learnt and this has brought us to this stage where we are seeking your support to make our going public possible.
What Have we Learnt
1. South Africa Customs is very delicate and should be handled with care and understanding so that parcels are not held for long by the SARS team
2. Shipping Costs should only be paid for after the parcels have been consolidated as Volume Weight is an issue, and this helps customers to decide whether they want sea shipping or they proceed with the Air option.
3. Many people would want to sea ship as the items usually are of low value or have high volume. This then makes sense to ship via sea. Our Fulfilment Centre is able to handle sea shipments too
4. The timelines of accepting an order & finances being availed
When an individual places an order, it takes about 8 days for the Payment Gateway to release the funds. This makes it very difficult as the order needs to be processed within a few hours of being accepted. This calls for Zoppah to have a buffer of funds held in China that allows for the smooth operations. This is one of the reasons we are seeking your support.
5. As a platform still under constant updates as it responds to the needs of the users, there is still a lot of funds which need to be availed to get all the IT input that will make it work.
6. It is not possible to raise funds for a startup in our setting and localities, hence coming to you for help.
ITS POSSIBLE & IT SHALL WORK
We pretested in South Africa which is the most difficult market & put a hold as we worked on functionalities we just can’t cope with the need and demand for us to go live. We are very certain that once we finally go live after on boarding all vendors Zoppah will be the shopping site for most.
We have grown a Facebook following on over 65,000 Members of people from within Southern Africa who are eager to shop online but didn't want to go through the hustles of the manual system we had in place. You can check the group Shop, Ship & Sell Goods from China Without Going There on Facebook, Once all Vendors have been on-boarded we will ensure the people in the group get the opportunity to shop.
What Does Your Support mean to Zoppah
As we are primarily based in Malawi, its not possible to get the start up financing we need, unlike the developed world where our counterparts have so much option. We then realised that there could be fellow Africans and others from across the World who might be wanting to lend a help or even invest. Having checked all the Investment Crowdfunding options we noted that our location is still a hindrance and it takes time for them to make a decision. We felt this route is better as it allows Zoppah to not only instantly get your support BUT allow us to turn your support into Equity. We are looking at turning the support you have provided now as a stake into Zoppah. Your contribution is part and parcel of your equity in the company.
The funds you give will go towards creation of a BUFFER, that allows us to always have funds in China so that when an order is placed on the site, our Partner Fulfillment Centre in China immediately places an order & kicks starts the fulfillment cycle without further delays. During the pretest, we have been getting orders that range from US$30 to $1,000 and these will be fulfilled immediately. Usually it takes 24 hours to 36 hours for the fulfillment Centre to receive goods and shipping within 2 days. This cycle commences and finishes before the Payment Gateway has released the funds to our accounts. Once we are fully operational we are expecting at least 1000 orders per day. Our fulfillment Partner in China has capacity to service these orders.
The funds will also allow us to be able to engage the Engineers so that they continue working on the platform to make it user friendly for our customers.
Taking away the need to look for basic operational funds means that we will focus on our core business: Ensuring that our customers are able to Shop & Ship their Goods from China without going there.
How much can I give
You can contribute as much as you can afford. Whatever your contribution; it will go a long way in ensuring that Zoppah’s Services are up to the standards our customers expect of us. We shall keep a database of all the contributions via this fundraising site so that the valuers have access to it.
How much is my investment Worth
$250,000 is worth 10% of the company. Whatever your contribution it will be pro-rated on 10% of the company.
Where do we see ourselves
Zoppah will be the leading eCommerce Platform in Southern Africa that will make it possible for us in Southern Africa to enjoy the seamless benefits eCommerce has brought to those in the Developed countries. Within 3 months of launching we expect that more than 10% of all shopping within our target countries to be undertaken via our Platform, and this will be 50% by the end of 24 months of launch.
What are the Risks
Having spent the past 3 years focusing on how we can make shopping in china online a reality for many in our countries, we have carried the bulk of the risks as we have learnt so much and are using the lessons for a broader good. As someone who has worked almost her entire life to make it possible, i am at a stage where moving forward is dependent on your support. I can’t afford to let you down because all i have is your trust in me. I will ensure that all funds are put to good use and that the company rises beyond our expectations so that you too can proudly say, my investment made it happen.
The whole reason for coming up with this crowdfunding initiative was from the reality that Stanley & I were already struggling to meet the financial demands of this startup, that are necessary for us to go live. We are very certain about the business outlook and the work already undertaken gives a very good launching pad that will ensure that Zoppah is a success. Given this is a business that's dependent on market conditions, we can never prepare enough for the outcomes. Its our hope that the Company will succeed, but in the event that it hasn't gone accordingly it means that you, me and everyone else who would have contributed carry this risk. Our hope & belief is that You, me & everyone who would have contributed shall be proud owners of one of the most successful eCommerce companies in the world.
A bit more information about us
Siku Nkhoma (Co-Founder)
Am a passionate eCommerce enthusiast, and for the past 3 years I have lived, slept, dreamt and eaten eCommerce literally. I am excited and honoured to have been given this opportunity to impact on so many lives. It’s my hope that this fruitions for many.
Am a wife, mom and an entrepreneur who believes that as long as it’s a problem there is a solution to it
Stanley Morake (Co – Founder)
My colleague Stan is an IT Engineer who says that as long as its a programming problem it can be solved. Stan is a Husband, a Father and an IT entrepreneur who lives in North West in South Africa.
I met Stan after he had shopped online and wasn't happy that our system wasn't automated, which let to loss of time and he was looking for solutions as i was too.
We both feel honoured to be bestowed this responsibility.
How long do i have to make my contribution
We only have up to 16th October to raise these funds before going to funding rounds. This is the only opportunity ZOPPAH has to include anyone interested to invest in it to come in. After that we will be requiring your support through shopping on zoppah.com
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