Portfolio Learnings: The ‘virtual village’ that’s improving the health of mums and their families in
Published on: 17/11/2020
The health and wellbeing of mums and their families is at the core of the work of MumsVillage, a social commerce marketplace for Kenyan mothers. This Portfolio Learnings piece looks at the progress and learnings of this ‘virtual village’.
Through peer-to-peer communities, MumsVillage enables mothers in Kenya to be able to access and share localised content and products, helping them to make informed choices for the health and wellbeing of their families.
Since 2018, TRANSFORM supported the development of MVShop, a platform which gives these mothers at the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) the opportunity of becoming micro-entrepreneurs and increasing their incomes by selling mother and baby products through the platform.
Progress and achievements
The project started with design workshops, user research and expert interviews to refine the model. New team members were recruited and provided with training on the platform, in sales and in digital skills. By May 2019, the full supply chain was in place, at which time the MVShop went live, supported by marketing campaigns and advertising sales partnerships.
One of the key achievements of the project was the launch of the Villagepreneur (VP) Program, the mission was to reduce poverty through increased income generated by commissions from online sales. With a total of 85 VPs, the project aims to have 500 women entrepreneurs selling through the platform.
During the project phase, thanks to marketing efforts, over 1,000 products were sold to almost 450 customers, from 43 vetted suppliers. In addition, more than 300,000 mothers read health articles and watched video content on maternal health on the platform, and 3,000 joined online health chats.
With the platform now operational, MumsVillage has ‘learned by doing’ and presented the following recommendations for the future of the project in Kenya:
- VP Program: Enable more access to smartphones with reliable data through partners to increase VPs’ earning potential through online work; run different incentive-based exercises; and explore the option of building inroads and pitch the MVShop and VP programme to corporate mothers.
- Supply Chain: Launch ‘own brand’ of key Stock Keeping Units (SKUs) to offer quality products at an affordable price, as well as increase margins for quicker profitability and raise VP commissions sustainably. Also, test, track and analyse dynamic pricing for third-party brands, and encourage “customer speak” – product training conducted by brands as this gives clear sales uplift for VPs.
- Customer Segmentation: Leverage analytical tools and create clear customer target profiles to align and adjust the marketing activities through online and offline channels.
- Marketing: Pursue brand advertising opportunities and explore additional revenue generation opportunities, increase awareness efforts around new available features, and leverage existing resources, such as SEO, ads and shopping engines.
- Technical Optimisation: Redesign and implement the user interface to improve the shopping experience and drive purchases, including a new app; collect and analyse data; and integrate new tools to improve VP and customer shopping experience.
In July 2020, MumsVillage and BabyBliss Nigeria announced their merger to create Bliss Group, establishing an entity with a Pan-African unparalleled omnichannel commerce, community and content offering focused on mother and child care. As access to the Internet grows on the continent and more women are financially empowered, the combined experience enables them to provide a great Pan-African experience for African pregnant women and mothers to make informed choices for the well-being of their families.
Like many of the projects in the TRANSFORM portfolio, the research and findings gleamed from the project phase of MumsVillage are vital in preparing the organisation for scale, enabling it to reach more mums and their families and enhancing their health and wellbeing. Visit our portfolio for more information.
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