It’s good to know that in our fast growing tech world that developing countries are not entirely left out of the equation. There are some countries where the residents are too poor to afford computers and internet access, let alone enjoy the perks and convenience that e-commerce usually brings to the table. However thanks to Slimtrader, Africans can now enjoy a variation of e-commerce and do their shopping via text messaging which pretty much does what e-commerce shopping does except maybe without a fancy looking website and graphics to go along with it.
The CEO of Slimtrader, Femi Akinde said that this service was created to allow those living in rural areas access to real-time information regarding the goods and services because apparently even buying a bus ticket in rural Africa involves trips to multiple institutions and lots of paperwork which could waste an entire day, an entire day of working and earning money.
So how this works is that Slimtrader makes use of the M-PESA technology which is basically a mobile money service to do the payments for the products which are ordered through text messages.
SlimTrader links directly into the inventory, ordering and payment databases of participating businesses. Users can query the availability of products and make purchases by sending an SMS. Payment is made via mobile money services like M-PESA, Airtel, MTN, Mobile Money and Interswitch. In fact, SlimTrader is part of the next wave of mobile services in developing countries which build on the payment infrastructure created by services like M-PESA.
Customers range from airlines to fertilizer companies. Using Slimtrader a subsistence farmer can search for local suppliers of fertilizer, compare prices and order via SMS.