E-commerce set to make significant gains in Africa

By mahlokoane percy ngwato

Follow @AfricaBizReview on Twitter.

As infrastructure availability and investment continue to move into Africa, e-commerce is becoming an increasingly important sector; Sumesh Rahavendra, Head of Sales for DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, has said that the delivery of goods needs to be improved in order to make the service truly world class.

His statement was echoed by ‘Lions go digital: The Internet’s transformative potential in Africa’ - a recent report by McKinsey & Company which has noted that e-commerce could potentially account for up to 10 percent of retail sales across the continent’s largest economies by 2025. The report details that, whilst overall iGDP in Africa is low, countries such as Senegal and Kenya compare very well to much more advanced countries.

Rahavendra said: “Consumers are now able to access and purchase a range of products at a click of button, and are increasingly expecting immediate delivery, which makes logistics increasingly important. This in turn is driving retailers and logistics providers to seek new initiatives to provide better delivery offerings and competitive advantages, such as same-day delivery and flexible returns.”

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DHL conducted its own Global E-Tailing study which also found that gains in e-commerce across all market types will require logistics companies to play a role in providing supply chain management solutions that are able to swiftly evolve in line with consumers’ constantly changing shopping habits.

Rahavendra also said: “E-commerce is a saving grace for consumers in outlying areas, who would traditionally have had difficulty accessing brick and mortar stores. E-tailers should therefore select a reliable and reputable logistics provider, as they are ultimately an extension of their own business, and an important touch point that end consumers have direct contact with towards the end of the transaction stage.”

E-commerce is finding its place in some of the most challenging environments in the world; the African market, however, is evolving at an astonishing rate and is already, in some areas, becoming comparable to the powerhouses of Europe and America. The challenge still remains for e-tailers to ensure modern, responsive delivery systems.  


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