The usual and unsophisticated selling and buying of commodities in shops and at market places took a futuristic turn when Michael Aldrich birthed a revolutionary and innovative glimmer that has paved way for easier and stress free transactions. E-commerce or electronic commerce is the selling and buying of goods and services or the transmitting of funds and data over the internet. Since its inception, it’s savoured massive patronage and success as a result of its convenience, low pricing, customers having numerous alternative products and services to choose from and suppliers having a wider prospective customer base to engage. Consumers and suppliers are equally beneficiaries to these oil fields drenched in vast lands of opportunities and has since seen a jib in business transactions. Peter Theil early Facebook investor and venture capitalist together with Max Levchin and Elon Musk even made online business transactions easier and safer when they developed PayPal an online payment system which serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper like cheques and money orders.
E-commerce continues to redefine business transactions as it globalizes and opens up possibilities which seemed somewhat impossible decades back. E-commerce is sea surfing across continents, and with Africa privileged to have access to outstretched internet, it’s extended its ship load of treats to its shores. EshopAfrica.com the oldest and most successful e-commerce company in Africa from Ghana started in 2001. It sold arts and crafts from Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali and Zimbabwe to customers in America, The United Kingdom and other affluent individuals in other developed countries, the merchandise they sold were price skimmed and segmented to target a specific market group. Skinny laMinx and Rwanda Partners are all e-commerce companies which are into the selling of handmade crafts which seem to yield huge profit margins annually, it’s without doubt that this segment is the most money-spinning and successful when it comes to e-commerce in Africa and has since nurtured an industry riding on white horses.
Online shopping another blossoming flower which seems to be growing at a faster and alarming rate, is gradually gaining overwhelming patronage by Africans across the continent. Between 2005-2010 the usage of internet in Sub-Saharan Africa rose to 400% as 60% of Nigerians used mobile devices to make purchases online. At this rate the profitability of online shopping is expected to increase by 12% each year. Reports say online shopping could make 10% of Africa’s retail sales by 2025 generating about $75 billion in annual revenue. The likes of Jumia, Amazons distant African cousin, Konga Jumia’s arch-rival, Zoobashop Argos’ fraternal African twin, tisu, DealDey, Rupu, Kalahari, Ushop, Atsoko, YuppieChief, DealFish etc, are all online retail shops which appear to be doing very well on the continent. Sceptics were rather pessimistic about the success of online retail shopping when it first burst into the African scene, but it looks like Zacchaeus continuous to go higher the cinnamon tree. With an estimated net worth of $670 million, Jumia the market leader has fifteen warehouses across Africa but Jumia Nigeria being the biggest on the continent, it has 1800 employees under its umbrella, according to Jumia it has a million customers as at now and is sure to expand into other market segments within Africa. Unlike Jumia, Zoobashop a Ghanaian online retail outlet is dominating the Ghanaian market, with as much as 1500 orders a month and a CIMG E-COMMERCE COMPANY OF THE YEAR 2014 award under its belt and Ishop2Africa a newly established subsidiary which is into the sale and delivery of goods from the US to Ghana will further transform the online retail space in Africa whiles ensuring that customers have a wider product range and several alternative brands to explore. Zoobashop Ghana’s most prominent online retail space is only a mile away from giving Jumia a run for their money.
As the online retail industry booms and enjoys immense growth on the continent, Business Analysts are expressing their profound disquiets with regards to online retail shops cannibalizing the traditional retail outlets, well it’s certainly disconcerting especially when the industry is speeding off like Usain Bolt, nonetheless online retail shops are just complementary elements which drum up support to the traditional retail outlets. E-commerce in Africa is certainly an oil field and a holiday Inn waiting to serve investors with exotic plates of African dishes and huge returns on investment.