Contemporary Challenges in Street Trader-Customer Interaction Through Mobile Devices in Dodoma, Tanzania

  • Joel RumanyikaEmail author
  • Matti Tedre
  • Mikko Apiola
  • Solomon Sunday Oyelere
  • Nasibu Rajabu Mramba
Conference paper
Part of the IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology book series (IFIPAICT, volume 551)


Street trading is a common form of informal work carried out by almost one million Tanzanians. Majority of street traders use mobile devices to interact with customers. Despite this interaction, there is no abundant information showing if their interaction is mainly effective and does not face challenges. This study investigated the challenges faced by street traders and customers interacting through mobile devices in Dodoma, Tanzania. Qualitative data were collected using in-depth interviews with 42 street traders and 32 customers, followed by focus group discussion with eight street traders and six customers. Thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. The results show that street traders and customers occasionally interact using mobile phones. However, that interaction is challenged by issues connected to financial, technical and social aspects. These challenges are; lack of reliability among mobile phone interacting customers, mobile network problems, lack of business communication transparency, deep-rooted customary practices and perceptions of street trading, poor customer care, lack of consensus over mobile business etiquette, poor quality of product pictures, short mobile internet bundle validity, mobile phone battery life, and costs of mobile handset, transactions, vouchers, packages, and transport. The results call for the option of bundle and transaction cost reduction, network infrastructure improvement and provision of education to street traders and customers so that they realize the significance of business interaction using mobile devices contrary to what is happening recently, as well as abiding by communication ethics to minimize the likely challenges.


Street trading Customers Mobile device 


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© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Business EducationDodomaTanzania
  2. 2.Department of Future TechnologiesUniversity of TurkuTurkuFinland
  3. 3.School of ComputingUniversity of Eastern FinlandJoensuuFinland

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