ETTA Solutions PLC (ETTA) assigned thousands of motor bikes to expand its Z Mall delivery service around the city. Z Mall was introduced eight months ago and facilitates a modern app to connect customers with service or product suppliers. Currently the platform formed under ETTA connects some food chains and supermarkets like Pizza Hut and Shoa and Abadir Supermarkets with their customers.
Using the app customers can order any service from the providers and the delivery will be delivered by motor bikes. During these tough times online delivery is the best way to avoid contact with customers at stores and will help fight the virus by helping you to stay at home with convenience. Temesgen Geberehiwot, Managing Director and Founder of ETTA, talked to Capital about the activities of Z Mall. Excerpts;
Capital: What is the activity of z mall? Please elaborate the app of zmall?
Temesgen Geberehiwot: ZMall is an e commerce and delivery platform. We offer a wide range of merchants through our service, including supermarkets like Shoa Supermarket, Bambis supermarket , Fresh Corner and Abadir Supermarket, restaurants such as Pizza Hut, Savor, Mama’s kitchen and Village and beverage products such as BGI’s Products, Dieago’s Product and beauty supplies such as Jordan Beauty Supply and many more. All delivered to our customers in about 30 minutes. The app is called ZMall that’s available for iOS and Android as well as a website called ZMallShop.com to accommodate our wide range of customers. We accept any vendors as well.
We call our app Ethiopia’s Online Marketplace because very soon we will have online stores for all of your favorite services and products from throughout Ethiopia, which will be easily delivered directly to your home. Convenience and safety are the two key selling points of our service.
ZMall is a product of ETTA Solutions PLC, which is a tech company founded by me and my partner Ambaye Michael Tesfay launched in 2016. We have thus far independently financed and managed this company while also creating other services such as ETTA Taxi, Shekla Musicand our fast growing Enterprise resource planning system (ERP).
But we are now focusing a majority of our effort on growing ZMall right now because it is an essential service at such an uncertain time. We want to be able to flatten the curve by helping people stay home and taking care of all their shopping needs.
Capital: When did you commence your operation?
Temesgen Geberehiwot: We started our operation about 8 months ago, with our first partner Pizza Hut’s food being our main delivery. We have slowly expanded since then and find ourselves with about 20 current vendors, with another 50 or so vendors who will be coming from aboard in the next few weeks. We are targeting to have over 700 vendors on our platform by the end of 2020.
Capital: How many motor bicycles do you operate now and what makes your operation unique?
Temesgen Geberehiwot: We currently have 50 motorbikes in service, but we have a very aggressive growth plan for our fleet. Our current model was simply one in which the company own the motorcycles and hire drivers to work within our system, but we are in the process of shifting towards a model that empowers youth by partnering up with local banks and finance institutions and offering young men and women all around Addis the chance to finance a brand new motorbike for themselves, while being giving them guaranteed income as a ZMall driver. Even at current levels, our drivers are getting good income and we also offer work based incentive. We want to motivate our youth to work hard and make money in our service and our intended target is 7800 new jobs created by the end of 2020.
One of the core beliefs of our company is that we can use technology as a tool to uplift our community and help people provide financial stability for themselves and their families. We are certain that the Ethiopian youth are ready to embrace the digital economy.
Capital: Is your service is affordable for ordinary citizen?
Temesgen Geberehiwot: We are always working hard towards making our service affordable to any and every citizen.
For example, in association with our partners at Jupiter Hotel, we have made available the 150 birr lunch special available anywhere in Addis. This means a quality meal produced by the high class facilities at Jupiter Hotel, delivered anywhere in Addis Ababa for only 150 birr (the price includes delivery fee). Both Jupiter and ZMall slashed all of our profits and are operating at cost on this service because we are not doing it to make money, rather than to encourage people to stay at home. We will be doing several other specials like this so that people from all income brackets can find what they are looking for on ZMall.
Capital: How many customers/service providers do you have now?
Temesgen Geberehiwot: We currently have about 15 thousand plus active clients and we have processed more than 45 thousand deliveries thus far.
Capital: How is the growing interest of service providers?
Temesgen Geberehiwot: Once service providers hear of the impact that ZMall has on their service, they are instantly hooked. And it’s not just the additional income we offer, but also the seamless technology we offer them to handle their orders. We give them their own app to manage their store that conveniently lets them update and manage their stores. We also offer our ERP services to quite a few of our vendors, so what we are selling them is the full convenience package; which is additional volume for your service and an easier way to manage it.
Capital: As you know the covid 19 virus forced the public to stay at home; at the same time consumers should have to go to shop but the government recommends to stay at home. How do you serve the public during this difficult times?
Temesgen Geberehiwot: This is where we believe our service should step up and serve our community. Social distancing and staying home is a very important thing at this stage of the pandemic so we want people to use our service as an alternative from going to the store or market, which is a daily chore for many families around the city.
Our staff takes all necessary safety precautions, because our customers’ safety is our top priority. We have a very rigid twice daily washing and sanitizing routine that all of our delivery people and facilities go through at our headquarters. We give our drivers updated trainings every day about COVID 19 and how to protect themselves and our customers. We also require our drivers and service providers to wear a mask and glove when handling your order. We also update our customers regularly on what further steps we are taking to protect them from COVID 19. We know how important a service like ours can be at this point and we are very serious in handling our demand.
Capital: What is your observation about the demand to use your app in relation with the virus outbreak?
Temesgen Geberehiwot: We have seen a large jump in demand for our service in the past few weeks and we understand where that is coming from. We have been preparing our internal staff and team to scale up for quite some time now as we had planned to prepare to aggressively expand our services since before this pandemic even came around. And now that it’s here, we are preparing our team to be able to handle whatever amount of workload is brought to us. We are also trying to work with the government in helping mobilise resources to different places.
Capital: What is your recommendation for the public and service providers during these hard times?
Temesgen Geberehiwot: Without being biased, my recommendation for service providers for now would be to temporarily shut down all their physical stores and switch to online selling of their products. Service providers still have the pressure of conducting service and paying employees on their shoulders, and by easily shifting to a model in which you are using a seamless online store that offers cashless transactions with Dashen Bank’s Amole app would be the way to go as our country moves towards stronger precautions against COVID 19.