Masikini website review: A new dawn for online shopping in Uganda

Masikini Home Page

We recently wrote about Masikini and its ability to accept online payments from one’s mobile money account besides VISA. The overwhelming response therefore entitled us to follow this up with a review of their main website, which they also complement with mobile apps on both the Play Store and the App Store. And yeah, this a mobile first world and so the apps addition shouldn’t be too much of a surprise.

Let us talk about Mobile Money payments

The surprise ingredient of this e-commerce portal is the mobile money integration many have long yawned for to purchase goods online. While you can use mobile money to buy goods intra boundaries from e-commerce portals, the same can’t be said if you wish to buy the very goods overseas on top e-commerce websites like Amazon, Ebay and Taobao but Masikini allows you do so, with a detailed “How to” in order to accomplish this.

Both MTN Mobile Money and Airtel Money are supported on top of Visa (By this writing, Visa wasn’t yet operational but Masikini promised to fix the issue by the end of the month) so either side of the curve won’t hassle to do purchase goods. It will double down to preference but we can all agree mobile money has the numbers while cards are somewhat not universal.

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The items are categorized into Electronics, Jewelry and Watches, Women’s fashion , Men’s fashion finally Sports & Outdoors. The are further sub-categorized into individual constituents covering a wide array of products depending on what you’re looking for.

All goods are listed with their respective store and its Origin (The website excludes the store while the mobile app has the feature). The Features list follows, availability, sizes  and in what quantity, original cost and the extra shipping charges.

You only get to see this extra info after you’ve clicked on the displayed item. Shipping days appear stagnant with promises ranging between 5 to 10 days or approximately  2 weeks time from the date of purchase. An option to lessen the freight days isn’t available at the moment.

You can then go ahead and add the displayed item on your wish-list or buy it right away. Besides different colors of the same product appear under the variations section, so you have a list of colors to choose from.

 

The Headline feature

The headline feature here is paying through mobile money. Masikini displays a walk through  on how to use the different mobile money integration options available so that the customer gets to know what to do regardless of what network they subscribe to (Only MTN and Airtel are supported).

However with a ceiling on how much consumer mobile money accounts can hold raises questions since they’re items in excess of that amount for which you can purchase using mobile money.

I came across products in excess of UGX 4 Million, which happens to be the ceiling on one of the mobile money services. On further inquiry, the telecom rep told us that they can go beyond the ceiling on special request by the customer.

The contact page is where the helplines are displayed for any inquiries. There is email, a telephone number and the physical address displayed. You can also contact them directly through the website by inputting your details, the message to be relayed and then hit send on top of Masikini’s social channels

However there are no local deliveries. Once the item is shipped into Uganda, the customer has to pick it from Masikini offices located on Oasis Mall where verification and receipt is confirmed.

Also

On checking out several listed smartphones. I couldn’t stop but notice that most of the listed iPhone 6Ss  were actually refurbished models while other models are listed as new. While they carry a warning to any prospective buyer, actually differentiating them from their display picture is subtle and this is where human interaction reigns supreme.

Masikini has a refund policy that is applicable once the shipped product exhibits defects or isn’t to the customer’s satisfaction. You’re therefore advised to double check on your shipment’s arrival since they’re particular clauses in the EUA that might prohibit you from returning the item should verification and receipt be finalized. Checking, verification and receipt are only done at Masikini offices at Oasis mall for now.

Masikini WebsiteWebsite Layout

The site layout looks simple, intuitive with an amazon-esque search omnibox at the top followed with one’s account details, their wish-list and contacts info. The products take up most of the homepage while extra info like Masikini’s about page, contact info, How to? take up the bottom pages.

Suggestions

Local deliveries are a positive welcome. While veterans like Jumia can do it, what about the flamboyant Masikini? Also cash is predominant in Uganda only accompanied by the likes of mobile money and cards (Not exactly VISA only, Mastercard, Paypal, American Express blah blah) owing to the fact that the competition offers these too, Masikini should think about cash on delivery options and the rest too.

Also they should extend their pickup points as they scale  for purposes of convenience.

What we liked

  • Easy Mobile Money Payments
  • Easy to Navigate website
  • Variety of Products

What we didn’t like

  • They’re no quality assurances before delivery
  • VISA integration not yet implemented
  • Paypal payments would be a welcome option
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