How often do Nigerians buy things from abroad and find themselves unable to complete the business due to shipping costs? How often do people endure exorbitant shipping prices just to get their goods across to Nigeria?
While the beauty of eCommerce is that it could be transnational in nature, delivering goods across borders, however, stifles the joy of transacting such business. Transthat is a Nigerian startup that wants to solve the problem of shipping in international eCommerce.
The startup was founded on June 13, 2017, in Lagos by Lola Ekugo. It helps shoppers to remove shipping costs and get their goods delivered from abroad within a shorter timeframe. It achieves this by matching shoppers with travellers who have spare luggage space to bring the goods into the country with them.
How Transthat works
Three categories of people are needed for a Transthat business to be successful. The first is the person who wants to buy or pick up something from a location outside of Nigeria. The second is the person who is coming from that location to Nigeria. Since both people do not know each other, a third person who acts as the intermediary and protector of trust between the two is needed.
The Transthat team is the intermediary in its model.
To have an item delivered through Transthat you need to open an account on the startup’s web app. From your dashboard, you can choose to be a requester and arrange for your item to be delivered to you.
The details of the item to be delivered will be filled in a form on the site, including the size, category, name and description. You also have to be specific about the nature of item by telling whether it is fragile or spoilable, and the quantity of it that will be picked up. Pictures of it as well as links to where it will be bought, are required if you can provide them.
Presently, only 7 countries are within Transthat’s range of operations. You can have items delivered from Ghana, Turkey, United States, United Kingdom, Italy, United Arab Emirates and France.
For the travellers, they will also be required to open an account on the company’s web app. The difference is that they select the Post Trip option instead of Post Request. The only information required from travellers is the company they are coming from and the date they are expected to arrive.
Only travellers from the 7 countries listed above are eligible to be a part of Transthat’s network presently.
Charges, pickup and other things you need to know
For either category of customer, Transthat verifies the mobile number of each person. Although the startup says it plans to initiate pickup of items from people, currently it only facilitates delivery of items that have been purchased internationally.
Letting the travelers handle logistics replaces shipping costs with the cost of tipping the traveller and an additional service fee that Transthat charges. The least amount that is accepted as a tip for travelers on the platform is N4,500.
Delivery is covered by one of two options. The items can be picked up at the company’s collection centre or couriered to the preferred location.
International travel has been stifled for a while due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the model is one that has been used to cater to people, the business itself has dwindled. This could be because the model requires a significant number of travellers and requesters to be registered with the company per time. A reduction in the volume of requesters will mean less business for travellers who register with the startup and vice versa.
In terms of competitors, Transthat’s model does not have significant competition in the country yet. Still, it has not gained any huge traction as a result of that.
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!