RAINBOW Tourism Group (RTG) says the performance of its innovative digital services platform, Gateway Stream, has been significantly buoyed by the Diaspora community.
The hospitality group said Gateway Stream had seen increased use of the digital platform for purchasing of goods required by Diaporanns relatives in Zimbabwe.
This has provided an alternative for Zimbabweans outside the country to purchase goods for their loved ones back home other than the traditional and limited option of just cash transfers only.
Gateway Stream, which was launched in May 2020, continues to gain momentum and has become complimentary business for RTG and a strong driver of revenue growth for the group.
Global changes in consumer buying behaviour to online purchases was given impetus by the outbreak of Covid-19, which limited physical movement due to travel bans.
However, online shopping on the domestic market continues to lag behind global trends owing to the slow growth in appreciation of the benefits of the concept.
Gateway Stream has since launched the Gateway Stream Social Influencer programme to drive direct engagement and market awareness to steer growth in this segment of the RTG business.
RTG believes there is need to continuously educate users on the advantages of online shopping as well as cultivating the online shopping culture for local shoppers.
Gateway Stream could be boosted by fast decline in new Covid-19 cases, as business activity returns to near normalcy while global markets also increasingly open up.
Previously, the Gateway Stream business has been dominated by groceries, hardware, accommodation, food and drinks, while events and insurance channels have started showing high potential going into the future.
RTG chief executive Tendai Madziwanyika said in an interview the platform had received overwhelming response from Zimbabweans based outside the country.
"The response from the market has been positive, especially from the diaspora community which has quickly adopted the technology and seen its advantage over money remittance.
"We have fulfilled orders from Zimbabweans living in the diaspora buying for local family and friends, from countries such as China, Australia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Kenya, Republic of South Africa, and Botswana.
"There is considerable traction for the new revenue channels as evidenced by the growth in active subscribers from 15,000 in 2020 to over 70,000 to date," said Mr Madziwanyika.
Lately, the Gateway Stream business has also experienced growth in bulk orders from local institutions like schools and companies.
Mr Madziwanyika however pointed out that the high cost of data in the country remained a major stumbling block to the flawless operation of the digital platform.
The hospitality group has since entered an arrangement with some internet service providers to allow the Gateway Strem application to be used free of charge.
"The main challenge was the cost of data for our customers whilst transacting on the platform. We managed to overcome this challenge by creating strategic partnerships with mobile networks, resulting in our customers now being able to access and transact on the platform free of data charges on some internet service providers and mobile network operators in Zimbabwe," he said.
Gateway Stream has been described by the hotel group as a super-app with multiple revenue channels offering a unique online shopping experience with 9 Apps in one, therefore, offering the customer a one-stop-shop
Gateway Stream is a super-app with multiple channels. As business starts to return to normalcy post-Covid-19, and markets start to open up, we see great opportunities in insurance, hardware, and food and beverages channels.