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AfroExpress new year update

Thank you for believing in the dream of AfroExpress, and for your patience.

Earlier on in 2015, I put up a landing page to test an idea I had in my mind. I decided not to tell immediate friends or family members about this idea, yet. I wanted to see if others would subscribe to the notion of making African food and groceries easily accessible in the UK.

To my surprise, one person subscribed.

And plenty others did too.

In fact, 42 people have subscribed via the landing page. 115 followers on Twitter and a massive 3,345 people have liked our Facebook page (Thanks to Facebook Ads 🙂 )

For me, these are not just numbers.

It is validation.

It is a proof that you (and others) want the convenience of online African grocery shopping and delivery.

Since the initial landing page launch, AfroExpress has grown from a one-man idea to a team of two (my fiance and I).

Today, I aim to share with you the new development of AfroExpress.

1. Serving professionals with busy lifestyle

Over the months, the original idea of AfroExpress has gone through many reforms, but the vision remains the same.

Initially, the idea was to make African grocery delivery available to everyone in the UK at launch. We wanted to ensure people in Glasgow wouldn’t have to travel 400 miles to get suya powder or yam.

While this idea sounded great, the logistic cost makes it undesirable for consumers.

To put it simply, no one in their right mind will pay £59 to deliver a £40 grocery shopping.

So with the advice of my good friends at SSW, we decided to focus on a smaller area in London and serve professionals with busy lifestyles.

2. Text us your grocery list

AfroExpress SMS ordering
AfroExpress SMS screen

The online platform will greatly benefit African professionals who are tech savvy and are adept with online shopping.

For example, Ayanda can easily go on her phone, open AfroExpress, add items to the basket, and checkout. This is a convenience and norm for Ayanda and many African professionals.

However, for aunty Sade, who is not so tech savvy, online ordering is an inconvenience and headache.

So, we eliminated the online ordering barrier for Aunty Sade, and replace it with what she’s already comfortable with – SMS

Instead of going online or using our App, aunty Sade can conveniently order African groceries by texting AfroExpress her shopping list.

This is a massive relief for many African parents who want to enjoy the convenience of African grocery delivery

AfroExpress is now taking order via SMS ordering. But please bear in mind that the service is limited to some areas. Find out more about SMS ordering

3. Most African households cook in the weekend

If you’ve been following AfroExpress since the beginning, our initial service offering was ‘We deliver uncooked African food and spices to you within 24 hours’

Old AfroExpress value proposition
AfroExpress initial service offering

Well, AfroExpress still deliver African food and spices; however, we have removed the ‘Delivered to you within 24 hours’ offering.

Why?

From feedback and observation; Many African households shop once or twice a month. We also noticed that most Africans cook in the weekend. Mostly on Saturday and Sunday.

For example, my fiance does most of her cooking on Saturday and sometimes on Sunday, after church. The same behaviour is true for my mum.

This was a great revelation for us.

We had the ‘Aha’ moment.

People don’t need same-day or 24-hour delivery. What we need is someone to deliver our grocery shopping in time for weekend dine in.

Weekend delivery is the perfect solution for our customer behaviour.

One of the advantage of this new offering is that you can place your order with AfroExpress any time between Sunday and Thursday, and we will deliver your shopping on Friday or Saturday, depending on your preference.

4. Your personal shopping assistant.

A major delay in launching AfroExpress in 2015 was the difficulty in finding African businesses who share similar values.

The initial business model was to build an online marketplace that connects vendors with online customers. The model looks good on paper, however, the plan didn’t survive vendor contact.

Most vendors we spoke to either didn’t understand our business or perceived us as a threat.

So, in January 2016, we eliminated the vendor model.

We thought, why not bring personal shopping experience directly to AfroExpress customers?

Instead of relying on vendors for order fulfillment, we will take on the responsibility ourselves. Yes, it’s hard work. But it means we have full control of customer experience which is great!

Our process is simple: when you order through AfroExpress, our Angels will go to the marketplace, hand pick the best grocery items, and deliver directly to your door.

This is great because you can trust that our ‘Angels’ aka Personal Shoppers, will always get you the best quality yam, and fresh fish from the market

Oh, and we will knock down the price as low as we possibly could 🙂

5. Discover African dishes

Discover delicious African dishes with authentic recipes for classic stews, curries, and more

My fiance (Ashley) and I will curate links to the best African food recipes on the web and deliver this to you every Friday.

Ashley is Ghanian and I’m Nigerian, but we will try our best to be unbiased 🙂

If this sounds interesting, click here to visit our new AfroExpress food recipes blog.

6. New year, new look

The old AfroExpress logo design had no thought or whatsoever invested in it. My intention at the time was to launch my idea to the marketplace in the shortest time possible.

To be honest, I designed the logo and landing page within a day and launched the following day.

As AfroExpress grew to become a brand, it needed a refresh.

The new identity is designed to be simple and clear. At a glance, we wanted people to have an idea of what AfroExpress is, and where to find us.

Thanks to family members and friends, a new identity is born.

new afroexpress identity
AfroExpress new brand identity

You can now see the new AfroExpress brand identity on our new home page, emails and social networks.

7. When is the online platform going to launch?

Honestly, I can not give you a precise launch date right now. All I can tell you is that we’ve started the development, and we will keep you in the loop on our launch announcement.

Sign up here to get early access and also add your postcode to our delivery zone when we launch.

And if you want to try out AfroExpress, you can try out our SMS ordering by texting Hi to 07480635362 at any time.

We look forward to serving you.

8. How much does it cost to deliver to me?

£6.99

9. In summary…

  1. You can now order African groceries via SMS. Start by texting Hi to 07480635362 at any time
  2. If you prefer online shopping, click here to join our early access list and add your postcode to our delivery zone
  3. Want to discover African cuisines and recipes? Visit our blog section to get the new recipes in your inbox every week.

The next time you think of cooking for the family, friends or yourself, I want you to remember that you have friends at AfroExpress who will happily help you with your African grocery shopping and deliver it to your doorstep.

I’d love to hear your feedback or suggestions on how we can improve things. Perhaps you have a feature request for AfroExpress? Please comment below or connect with us on Twitter @AfroExpressUK

Excited to get your thoughts in the comments!

Thank you for your support

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