VENTURES AFRICA – An e-commerce platform designed by Kenyans has been downloaded over 20,000 times since its launch eighteen months ago, with founder Kelvin Jayanoris delighted with the progress of the plugin.
DukaPress was designed specifically as a WordPress e-commerce plugin in August 2010 after its developers noticed that WordPress did not have an effective e-commerce plugin to match those available on other platforms.
In filling this gap in the market, DukaPress has become the highest rated e-commerce plugin available on the site and been downloaded approximately 22,000 times. The plugin now has a truly global reach, with the majority of customers based in the United States and Germany. It has been translated into nine different languages.
Jayanoris admits that the global appeal of the plugin was not something that the developers expected, especially given that the initial motivation for developing DukaPress was to provide something specific to Kenyans on account of other e-commerce platforms being very much centred on Europe.
“We wanted to build a Kenyan thing, but over time we found that guys that use DukaPress are not actually Kenyans,” he said. “Actually we have not heard of any Kenyan customers. Perhaps there are people out there using DukaPress in Kenya, but I don’t know who these people are.”
The success of DukaPress has also been achieved with very little funding. Rather, Jayanoris and his colleagues have focused on making their product simple and effective, providing a service that they considered to have been lacking previously. With WordPress drawing roughly 100 million monthly visitors and eight percent of web pages now powered by the site, the need to create an effective e-commerce plugin was paramount, even if the uptake has come from a different area than was expected.
“We looked at our competitors and realised these guys are actually quite huge and they have a lot of money to spend on improvements to their software,” said Jayanoris. “So we made the decision not to compete. We built DukaPress uniquely to be very simple. The ideal customer would be someone who wants to set up a shop quickly with no hassle. They just want something that works and I believe we have been able to do that.”
“We’re not competing directly with the big boys. We’re just carving out our own niche”
Image via Whiteafrican