A local online trading company – Dumbulo Shopping Solutions – has begun selling cement online.
The online shopping platform www.dumbulo.com availed cement sales for customers in and around Addis Ababa. Co-founder of Dumbulo Shopping Solutions, Gemechu Waktolla (PhD), told The Reporter that with the view to avoid the hassles in buying cement Dumbulo Shopping Solutions has launched a system by which customers can shop cement online. Gemechu said his company targets end users who face challenges in buying cement from the local market.
Dumbulo Shopping Solutions has started working with cement producers and major cement distributers authorized by the Federal government to distribute cement in the country. The company has entered into an agreement with National Cement one of the leading cement manufacturer that has a central cement warehouse in Addis Ababa. It is also discussing with the other cement producers, the four major cement distributers and the Chemical and Construction Inputs Development Institute on ways in disrupting the traditional erratic cement market.
“Big investment projects and government infrastructure development projects can directly buy cement from the factories. It is the end users like home builders that are suffering,” Gemechu said.
“Home builders can now login to www.dumbulo.com and order for cement and pay with various payment options. We have several mobile payment options. Customers can use CBE Birr, M-Birr, Hello Cash and Amolle Wallet to pay for the cement,” he added.
Customers can order for cement and get it delivered at their construction site. “Home builders now can shop the cement online with much lower price from the traditional market,” Gemechu said. The Ministry of Trade and Industry has put a price cap on cement. The Ministry has set a price tag of 360 birr for a quintal of cement. “Customers can buy a quintal of cement for 345 birr through our website. The whole idea of e commerce is availing products with cheaper prices,” Gemechu said.
“Home builders should not wonder in the city looking for cement and hassle with brokers. A person should be able to access information about cement while he is at home or in his office. Our purpose is to fill the information gap and stabilize the cement market,” Gemechu said. “Home builders can buy cement online with the price set by the government or less than that,” he added.
Dumbulo Shopping Solutions was established by four IT experts and management consultants three years ago. The online trading plat form has availed consumable goods for sale. The company entered into an agreement with local vendors that supply their products. The website through its construction inputs window will start selling other construction materials like reinforcement bar, ceramics and paints. Dumbulo Shopping Solutions has established a delivery service provider, Sheger EX, which delivers products bought from www.dumbulo.com. “The feedback we got from customers so far is overwhelming. They like our services and advised us the areas that we need to improve,” Gemechu said.
“When we launched the website three years ago the environment was not encouraging. But now the e commerce law is enacted, we have the country’s digital strategy and the National Bank of Ethiopia has amended many proclamations suitable for e commerce. There are many payment options. Citizens are getting familiarized with online shopping. We still have to build the public’s confidence and the government should also promote online trading platforms,” he added.
Gemechu, assistant professor at the Addis Ababa University Business School, is the founder of I-Capital Africa – the organizer of the annual East African Finance and Cement summits.