CableKiosk.co.za, an online consumer electronics accessories store, has recently launched after six months in development and testing. Cable Kiosk, founded by Rhodes University student, Andrew Lynch from his digs in Grahamstown, offers customers iPod and HDMI cables, adaptors, chargers and more recently cable management all at affordable prices.
Cable Kiosk was conceived when Lynch was looking for a replacement iPod charging cable. When he received poor service both online and in store that offered products at what he considered to be at unreasonably high prices, he couldn’t help but feel ripped off. Lynch then decided to search abroad for alternatives and finally convinced a company in China to manufacture a small batch of cables and ship them to him in South Africa and all for a lower price than a single cable he could find. Lynch explains, “I kept one cable and put the rest on BidorBuy and within two weeks I had sold all my stock.”
As BidorBuy sales increased, Lynch realized he was providing a valuable service and looked for opportunities to expand. Partnering with Mike Winn, a friend from Rhodes University now working at Google, they drew up plans for a full service online store. Although studying his MA in Politics, Lynch set about doing the web development himself, building the site from the confines of his digs room at Rhodes until its official launch.
According to Winn, “We really wanted to deliver the best customer experience we could, which is why we have Live Chat support and are always happy to provide technical advice, whether customers or not.”
“The South African commerce market is still in its infancy, and South African internet users are somewhat scared of using the web as a shopping platform,” says Lynch. “We have invested a lot of time and energy in insuring that our website is not only easy to use but if customers do get stuck or confused we are no more than a single click or a phone call away – we strive to reply to every call and email.”
All orders purchased are delivered to the South African post office along with a tracking number so customers can track the exact whereabouts of their package. There is a flat rate of R30 charged for every delivery irrespective of how much you order.
Naturally, the process did have its challenges including getting credit card processing on the site which Lynch admits was a “big hassle”. “A few months back I walked into a local bank and enquired about a merchant account for credit card processing and my question returned a series a blank stares. This coupled with horrifically high business banking charges doesn’t instill confidence in fledgling startups,” says Lynch.
Cable Kiosk settled on Payfast as they provide an ideal service for fledging businesses as you are not required to have a merchant account with your bank and are only charged per transaction.
In order to maintain its competitive edge Cable Kiosk will continue to provide quality products sourced locally and abroad at unbeatable prices to their customers, as they go directly to manufactures and cut out the middle men along the way.
As for the future, Cable Kiosk plans on expanding its business and product range as quickly as possible with a lot of room in the South African market for niched based online stores that provide great prices and excellent customer service.