If there is anything that the corona virus crisis has taught business people in Uganda and world over, it is the power of technology in providing goods and services.
With the lockdowns that cut across nations as countries implemented measures to curb the spread of the dreaded virus, the only businesses that managed to generate revenue are only those that adopted technology-supported channels to deliver goods and services.
Among them is Yapheh, a startup that offers salon and spa related services to customers including hair, nails, skins, massage or any other beauty service.
Launched recently, the person who needs the services only has to click a button and choose the service they want where they want to have it from – whether at their home, workplace or a salon.
Vicent Nemeyimana, the founder said that he was motivated to start such a platform after realizing that people were tired of the long queues in salons, waiting to be worked on while others were walking long distances to get to their favorite salon, which was inconveniencing
Additionally, some people, especially women, lacked salon time because of their busy schedules while others spa business owners were faced with shortage of clients. Salons also have poor data collection regarding clients, poor digital presence, overcrowded space and working on pressure.
Putting the services online provides salon owners with data that can be used for customer retention purposes and also enables salon owners to effectively plan, depending on the number of clients they have to attend to.
“With our solution, people no longer have to wait for long hours on benches, walk long distances to their favorite salon or suffering difficulties of finding salon time in case they are busy. You can now order all you need whether hair, nails, skin or massage services at a click of a button from wherever you are and the nearest salon will come to you,” Nemeyimana said.
He said there are thousands of salons and spa businesses, with the biggest percentage being in Kampala and most owners and users have access to smart phones and internet.
Being a multivendor, the startup has since had 20 different salons registered on its website in 20 locations in Kampala and 10 customers have already been served. Booking and payment is done online.
Yapheh is among the firms participating in the ongoing inaugural 40-days-40-FinTechs project organized by HiPipo, in partnership with Crosslake Tech, ModusBox and Mojaloop Foundation. The initiative seeks to enable FinTechs to innovate solutions that facilitate cross-network financial transactions at minimal risks to enhance access to financial services.
Running for 40 days, the project has seen the participating 40 FinTechs acquire interoperable development skills to improve access to financial services, using the Mojaloop open source software.
The HiPipo CEO thanked Yapheh for coming up with a digital platform to address people’s beauty needs noting that the salon business has thousands of clients that are potential Yapheh clients.
He pledged that HiPipo will offer technical and advisory support to Yapheh so that they can improve their digital platform and also make their payment collections solution interoperable.
He also urged the startup to invest in systems that offer users excellent user experiences.
“No matter how much you market, if people don’t get good user experience you cannot achieve your objective. For instance, if 20 people wanted to visit your platform but found it down or they had a bad user experience, they will run away to where the experience is better,” Kawooya said.