A rider is on his way to send goods to customers in Nairobi, Kenya, May 25, 2020. (Xinhua/Li Yan)

Home delivery services have seen a rising trajectory in Kenya as the effects of the pandemic continue to bite. Small businesses have adopted this model which was initially a preserve of well-established enterprises. 

NAIROBI, May 25 (Xinhua) -- James Kamotho nestles a phone between his ear and his shoulder while on his bicycle, he is on a call confirming a list of items sent to him by his customer before making a delivery.

Kamotho's vegetable stall located in Nairobi's Buruburu suburb has been delivering freshly chopped sukuma wiki (kale) among other fresh produce to customers as it strives to stay afloat amid disruptions triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I started making deliveries after I observed a drop in the number of customers coming to the stall. The reception has been overwhelming as I have begun to receive orders from outside Buruburu," Kamotho told Xinhua during an interview on Saturday.

The middle-aged vegetable vendor has been pushed to review his business approach to survive in the wake of the pandemic.

Home delivery services have seen a rising trajectory in the country as the effects of the pandemic continue to bite. Small businesses have adopted this model which was initially a preserve of well-established enterprises.

On average, Kamotho makes slightly above a dozen deliveries to his customers in a single day.

His customers are able to reach him either through a phone call or by sending him a short message.

"I do not charge for deliveries within the neighborhood. However, it costs about 50 shillings (about 0.47 U.S. dollars) for deliveries outside. I have seen a great improvement in my business, consequently my four employees continue to receive their full salary," said Kamotho.

"We have been experiencing brisk activities since we started making deliveries and we are happy we still have our jobs at a time when people are being laid off," said Elizabeth Shiro, Kamotho's female employee.

Just like Kamotho's vegetable stall, a wines and spirits shop located a few meters from his stall is using a motorbike to deliver alcoholic drinks conveniently to its customers.

"I am mulling over the idea of partnering with a leading delivery service company to reach as many customers as possible because orders have gone up since bars and clubs were closed," said Kariuki Gatimu, the proprietor of the wines and spirits outlet.

He said the service has been received with excitement among alcohol consumers.

"We have allowed our well-established customers to order for their drinks on credit with the promise to pay at a later date. I attribute our revenue increase to this scenario," said Gatimu.

In Nairobi's central business district, Anastasia Wambui gives instructions to his biker before sending him off with skin products.

The 35-year-old female entrepreneur has taken to transporting items to his clients while leveraging on social media.

"I began delivering when I witnessed a significant drop in the number of customers coming to my shop. I imagined delivery would see me incur losses but after doing it for close to two months, I am convinced I made a good decision," said Wambui.

She said her stall is now merely a storage store as walk-ins have dipped.

Business owners have continued to reap dividends from home deliveries in these unusual times as people opt to stay home and observe the social distancing.

Many enterprises have foregone their traditional way of operating and changed for the better.

A leading retail supermarket in Kenya in March launched a pilot phase solution of delivering local dishes to clients.

The food will cater to the low and middle-income earners and the price range is between 0.84 and 1.68 dollars with zero cost for delivery.

"Our customers have been providing great insight on touchpoints we can use to ease the existing COVID-19 challenges concerning retail services, and we are actively responding," said Dan Githua, CEO of Tuskys Supermarket. ■

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