One thing is true, we do not pay directly to watch TV, unless it is PayTV. Advertisers pay for us. We pay back by buying their products. The TV ad model has made me question why we pay for Internet access. Or why telecos can’t give out free phones in exchange for being a customer in their networks. Or why we have to buy the newspapers yet every single page of those newspapers are filled with prime time ads. Mediamax probably thought in the same lines and decided to offer The People Daily newspaper for free. Tanda, a Kenyan startup, seems to be asking the same questions and is getting ready to give retailers of first consumer commodities free smartphones that comes with a shop management App they are calling Tanda One.
According to their website, Tanda is an all in one smartphone and app that transforms the way shops order their goods and interact with customers. TechMoran wrote about Tanda One two days ago and explained that for the free smartphone, Tanda has “partnered with Google’s Android One to launch the world’s first $0 Smartphone for retailers to help automate millions of retail shops in the country then expand across East and West Africa.”
To get more insights on how exactly Tanda intends to distribute and monetize the Tanda One absolutely free smartphone, Kachwanya.com reached out to the CEO Geoffrey Mulei and asked him a few questions, starting with whether every Kenyan was eligible to receive the free Tanda One smartphones.
Here is where your excitement ends, as, unless you are a retailer (shopkeeper) of first moving consumer goods like bread and milk based at mtaani, the free Tanda One smartphone is not for you. Tanda One smartphones will be distributed to almost all mtaani shopkeepers in Kenya and Africa with the aim of aiding them better manage their inventory and daily transactions. “We’ve built an app, packaged in a free smartphone , that automates the entire duka’s inventory, orders and sales. We plan to usher in the future of retail in Africa”, Mr Mulei explained.
It is the part of managing the transactions that caught my attention. As a shop owner, I have tried to find suitable mobile Apps that can act as an effective POS for my shop. The Apps are there, but almost all of them are either too complicated or are unable to work according to the way typical Kenyan shopkeepers run their businesses. The good news is that Tanda One App has been developed specifically to address those challenges. As Mr. Mulei puts it, the shopkeeper will execute his/her transaction in no more than three taps.
When the deal is too good think twice. That’s why I was skeptical on whether the Tanda One smartphone is indeed a free smartphone. Mr. Mulei has assured Kachwanya.com that Tanda One is free, and for Tanda to get money from both the smartphone and the App, the startup is partnering with suppliers to streamline their distribution to the shops. With Tanda One App, suppliers will know in real time which shops need what quantity of what commodities at any particular time. Over time, the suppliers will be able to manage their distribution networks effectively. Also, the suppliers will be able to know the shops that are under stocked or do not stock their merchandise and consequently use the Tanda One App to reach out to those shopkeepers. As Mr. Mulei reiterated, at no point in time will the retailer be charged to use either the Tanda One smartphone or the Tanda One App.
I must say that as a shopkeeper I am thrilled that Tanda is thinking of my needs – the need to provide not only a free smartphone meant for my shop’s operations (I hope this will put a stop to those mulika mwizi phones we see in MPESA shops), but also to provide a more locally tailor made POS App that understands how I operate my shop and consequently manage my inventory.
Tanda One free smartphone and accompanying App is yet to be launched, so we are unable to tell you just how it operates. Ones it is out, we’ll for sure review it and inform you all the nitty gritty details you need to know.