E-Commerce in Africa: Companies Leapfrogging Ahead

Published: 9 Jul 2014

By Wesley Maraire, Support Group Leader for Best Practices at global consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan

African consumers have a deep mistrust in eCommerce. This is primarily due to the fact that inherent challenges did not exist prior to the emergence of eCommerce. Firstly, Brick and mortar stores traditionally provide face-to-face interaction in-store, as well as at point of sale (POS), where customers purchase by means of cash. Secondly, in addition to the absence of human contact, eCommerce companies face the challenge of choosing between two primary retail strategies; either increasing revenue or decreasing costs.

The emergence of the Internet revolution in Africa over the last decade has led to 16 percent of the 1 billion population gaining access to the internet. This has precipitated the emergence of eCommerce in Africa, which is projected to grow by 40 percent annually over the next ten years. Companies not recognising the need to migrate to some form of online system that pays particular attention to the customer, may well be left behind.

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