Ghanaian food delivery startup saves its customers a trip to the market

Elselund Ewudzie-Sampson (left) sources products from food suppliers at a local market.

Big Samps Market, founded in 2017, is a Ghanaian grocery delivery service catering for individuals and businesses in and around Accra. Customers place their orders through WhatsApp and the company’s team then sources and delivers the products. Founder Elselund Ewudzie-Sampson (28) answers our questions.

1. Give us your elevator pitch.

Big Samps Market is a grocery delivery service here in Accra, Ghana. The traditional way of buying goods is directly at the markets. With the growth of the urban centre and people sitting in traffic for a long time to and from work, we wanted to help busy individuals by providing easy access to groceries. In doing so, we also assist the market sellers and the farmers.

2. How did you finance your start-up?

Initially, I financed it from personal savings. As we started growing, I obtained loans from my parents that I would pay back as soon as possible.

3. If you were given $1 million to invest in your company now, where would it go?

We would invest in a large space, human resources and transportation as well as a cold room. Aside from customers ordering online and having groceries delivered, we would set up our mobile markets: vans in busy business areas of Accra. Customers would be able to shop at the mobile markets during lunchtime. We are unable to do same-day deliveries at the moment and with $1 million, we would have enough stock, staff and resources to deliver groceries around Accra within an hour.

4. What risks does your business face?

When we started, there weren’t a lot of grocery delivery services in Accra. We face the risk of other companies duplicating our offering. However, Big Samps does have an advantage over new businesses coming in because we have built a reliable brand, which we have maintained.

Another challenge we face is the lack of storage space. We are not able to stock some products all year round. The seasons of the fresh produce affect sales and income for our business.

Packing of customers’ orders.

We also struggle with fluctuating food prices. As a result, we are unable to maintain constant prices and have to increase our prices almost daily. People cannot really spend as much as they used to. We must consider collaborations with more suppliers so we have access to many suppliers. This will allow us to negotiate with these suppliers and ensure the prices are competitive.

5. How does Big Samps stay ahead of the competition?

We like to interact with our customers and build relationships with them. For example, we received feedback that many of our customers don’t like to buy goods online; they prefer to shop on WhatsApp as they enjoy the interaction, negotiation and it feels like someone understands them. We had to make sure we have enough WhatsApp lines available.

6. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

We started discounting our prices in March and it has turned our profits around. Our orders have increased.

7. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

This has to be when I was part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship in the United States. At the time, I was being so hard on myself; I wasn’t doing so well as a business owner and didn’t expect to be recognised in this way. The fellowship was a turnaround for me. After the fellowship, I made the decision to become a full-time entrepreneur and sacrificed everything for my business.

8. Tell us about your biggest mistake.

There was a time when we did not pay much attention to a return customer. As a result, she wanted to stop doing business with us. We realised you cannot take anyone for granted and you need to maintain service delivery and professionalism with every single customer.

Big Samps Market founder Elselund Ewudzie-Sampson’s contact information

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