Have you ever thought of purchasing a nice watch or phone that you saw on a site in the United States or United Kingdom but could not due to the high freight costs? If so then you realize how much of a hustle it is to get an item purchased online to this part of the world. In my case I had to wait for a couple of months before I could get someone who was travelling to the U.K to purchase and deliver the item.
A start up Peer Cargo has been launched to remedy such. It works by linking a shopper to a traveler who is going to the shopper’s country of interest. The buyer in Kenya simply needs to log into the Peer cargo site, paste the links to the items (shopped online) that they are interested in and wait for a traveler to Kenya to respond. Travelers to Kenya can also log into the web portal, after which they can select the orders which they are able to supply. Once the shopper’s order is picked by a traveler, the shopper is notified to deposit the order cost plus fees within a 24 hour period. Once the payment is made, the traveler is notified that funds have been remitted and that they can proceed with the purchase. After the traveler makes the purchase they are supposed to upload proof of purchase of the item within 24 hours. If a traveler does not upload proof of purchase within 24 hours of getting a notification that the buyer has deposited cash, the order is withdrawn from him/her and made available to other travelers.
With every job taken by a traveler and successfully completed, he/she gets positive points and every job taken and not delivered on leads to negative points. This enables a shopper to determine the reliable travelers. Also when taking the job the traveler is required to name the date, time and location of delivery, which is however limited to Nairobi. For security reasons it is advisable to meet in a public place like a mall, restaurant. Payment to the traveler is only made after the shopper logs into the web control panel and updates the order status to delivered. In a case where the shopper’s item is not delivered the funds will be refunded or order re-queued to another traveler. This arrangement benefits the traveler in that he gets additional cash from delivering and the shopper also gets his goods into the country cheaply.
What I liked about Peer Cargo is that they are responding to an already existing need being how to get items purchased online to Kenya cheaply. However the guys at Peer Cargo should with time come up with an app to make it more convenient for users to transact. A downside of this noble venture is that they do not have a listed physical address yet which might make potential users have trust issues. However I had a chat with the company’s C.E.O Nicholas Too and he assured me that they are working on it.