Despite being the continent with the highest growth potential and a growing middle class population, retailers find it difficult to move online in Africa. South African online sales recently surpassed the 1% mark of total retail sales. However, Africa and other African countries require exponential growth to catch up (Export & Import South Africa).
BiztechAfrica has identified 5 reasons why retailers find it difficult to move online in Africa.
1 The right resources
Africa’s retailers need to have the following resources/processes in place:
- The sourcing of products – finding the right products for your target markets at the right price may prove a challenge;
- The retailers must hire or build a warehouse to receive, pack and dispatch the products for their online customers;
- An online marketing strategy to target and interact with customers;
- A well designed e-commerce website;
- A third-party logistic service provider to get the products delivered on the doorstep of the retailer’s customers.
If one or more of these resources or processes are not in place, the retailer’s online business will fail.
2 Strategy gaps
Once the resources and processes are in place, they should be aligned with the retailer’s business strategy. Many of the challenges for retailers getting their business online had to do with strategies that are not implemented or wrongly implemented.
3 Customers that abandon the website
The abandoning of a retailer’s website is just one click away for the visitor or customer. The main reason why online customers leave a retailer’s website is because the website is not meeting their expectations.
4 Inability to monitor and use data
Many online retailers do not how to monitor and interpret the data available on their website that track the behaviour of their customers. The retailers therefore lose the opportunity to match their products or services with that of the customers visiting their websites.
5 Lack of competition
Retailers in Africa are sometimes not bothered to venture their business online because they experience little or no competition with their physical business. Africa’s infrastructure, income and broadband/mobile connectivity are however improving, which may change the situation.
Lastly, for all those tech savvy entrepreneurs and venture capitalist around the world. Come invest online in Africa and be part of the people on the continent that will drive the fourth industrial revolution.
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