Fintech iKhokha has opened its eighth retail store, where their point-of-sale devices are sold and where merchants can access support, networking opportunities and other business enhancement tools.

Since launching in 2012, iKhokha has developed a deep understanding about the complexities and challenges that small business faces in South Africa. As part of their growth strategy, iKhokha embarked on a journey to learn more about what their merchants in communities really needed as added support and convenience.

What they found was the need for an on-the-ground presence, which led to the opening of physical stores in various locations, as a way to extend the brand, increase sales and provide much needed support.

To date, iKhokha has opened retail stores in Phoenix, Isipingo, Umlazi, and central Durban in KwaZulu Natal, with the Pietermaritzburg store opening this month. Stores have also opened in Daveyton, Soweto and Hillbrow in Gauteng, with a store in Thembisa opening in next week. June also sees stores being rolled out in East London and Umtata.

While some fintechs do sell devices in retail and clothing stores where cell phones, airtime, and data is sold, there is often no dedicated brand support or ways to deal with queries at the time of purchase.

Having already sold their devices predominantly online and at retailers such as Makro, Masscash and Cellucity, this move to include location-based retail stores sees iKhokha able to support more existing merchants, increase their market access and foster more economic growth.

“At iKhokha, we are dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and SMEs to believe in better business, by providing support to the underserved self-employed sector of South Africa, a sector that plays such a vital role in stimulating our economy and helping to bridge the unemployment gap,” says Ramsay Daly, co-founder of iKhokha.

Each store runs its own marketing activations, as well as pursues business opportunities in the vicinity in which it operates. This includes networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Many merchants have never had access to these types of opportunities before – a platform where they can discuss their challenges and network with other small businesses within their communities.

“Our expansion into retail stores has largely focused on putting the community first. This includes the employment and training of people within the community to work in the stores,” says Daly. An experienced store manager has been hired at each store, joined by five youth from the Youth Employment Service (YES), a private sector led initiative that addresses the country’s youth unemployment crisis by empowering businesses to create jobs for South Africa’s many unemployed youth.