Often times I’m saddened by the extreme scarcity of home-grown mobile apps in Zimbabwe. This is a cause for concern considering that we’re living in the tech age. There are many times I’ve failed to use foreign-made apps because they would be designed for a context different from ours. We need enterprising locals to develop locally contextualized mobile apps. I’m pleased to be doing a walkthrough of yet another home-grown mobile app called Batsira.

What Is Batsira?

Batsira was built following the founder’s obsession with the vital need for businesses to provide genuine customer service. This gave birth to the idea of developing a platform where people can reliably come to whenever they’re looking for businesses offering the best service. Batsira is a mobile app that exclusively lists local businesses that provide the best service. The app is freely available on the Google Play Store and App Store; it’s free to use.

An Appraisal Of The App

In most developed nations business reviews (or listings) are the key drivers of customer purchases. Batsira strategically combines both business listing and review. You’ll notice that the rating options available are positive only – there’s a reason for that. Remember Batsira is all about listing businesses that provide the best service. Batsira thoroughly reviews businesses that submit details for listing. In cases of negative ratings, users can privately send messages to Batsira or the business in question. This will keep the crux of the app intact i.e. listing businesses providing the best service. It would be folly if I don’t mention about the name, Batsira (a Shona word meaning to help or offer assistance) which resonates with the local context of Zimbabwe. That’s a unique yet well-thought-out name for a local mobile app. Another plus is the option for a user to directly send an enquiry to any of the listed business whilst in-app.

The App’s Graphic User Interface (GUI)

The app’s basic functionality is on-point because on-screen options are self-explanatory. There’s a seamless flow and transitions from one window to the other. Batsira is overall simple to use because you can tell they have endeavoured to keep things simple. This is commendable because most app developers fail to package their innovations or ideas in a simple format. The app developers have settled for a healthy fusion of red, black & white as the colour theme – which actually optimizes the user experience. Red denotes things like energy, vigour, passion, activity & joy. Black symbolizes power, mystery, elegance, sophistication & functionality. The white colour helps accentuate the other features on the app that must clearly stand out for the user to see. Overall, the Batsira GUI was arrived at after some thoughtful considerations.

How To Use The App

Once you’ve downloaded the app you’re good to go. In order to really enjoy this app understand what it’s really for. Firstly, it’s meant for business owners to get their businesses listed on the platform. This they can freely do by following steps that they would be taken through on the app. The details to include will be the year established, business logo, a brief synopsis of the business, a brief breakdown of products or services offered, contact details (email address, phone numbers, website, payment methods, business address and business hours). To add all these details you click on the ‘Add A Business For Free’ button on the welcome screen. You’ll then be taken through 12 steps in which you’ll be prompted to add the required details. Don’t be fooled by ‘12 steps’; it takes on average less than 2 minutes to complete the process. Upon submission of details you’ll be assessed and subsequently approved where applicable. If approved you’ll be given a personal pin number that’ll give you complete control over your listing. You’ll be able to add special offers, change the image on the logo to advertise a certain product or change your profile. All this you’ll be able to do directly from the app.

If you’re a prospective customer and you’re looking for a business offering certain products or services you press on ‘Find Businesses’ on the welcome screen. Once you’ve done that you’ll see a list of 23 categories from which you’ll choose the respective one for what you’re looking for. After choosing a category you’ll be presented with a list of sub-categories. As soon as you choose a sub-category you’ll see a list of locations (e.g. Harare) then you choose the appropriate one. After choosing the location you’ll see a list of businesses from which you’ll choose the one you want. All the details I mentioned earlier such as services, contacts and the like will be displayed for each business.

You can also directly call or email the business right from the app. You can also easily link up to the business’ website or social media platforms straight from the app. If you want you can send an enquiry directly to the business where you cite your name, phone number, email address and message. For ease of access later you can add a business to your favourites list by clicking ‘Add To Favourites’. By clicking on ‘Share’ you can share the business name, contact details and the link for others to use to download the Batsira app.

Considering that the app is still new not many businesses have been listed yet. So I would encourage you to get your businesses listed on Batsira. Picture this; you’re being given an opportunity to freely list your business on a platform that can market it to many prospective customers. Surely you can’t afford to ignore such a rare and important avenue for you to push for your business’ brand awareness.

So there you have it, the Batsira Mobile App, a proudly Zimbabwean innovation. Digital marketing is the king of business marketing nowadays and Batsira is offering you a unique way to digitally market your business. All in all, I would give the app 8 out of 10 for now – there’s room for further development.