Africa’s ecommerce to flourish in 2015

Greater trust in ecommerce in Africa will see the sector grow in leaps and bounds during the course of this year, according to Lindsay Britz, marketing manager for Magic Software SA, a provider of software solutions for system integration and mobility.

Britz told ITWeb Africa that more business are bypassing the need to put up physical shops and opting to start online shops instead, and this will increase.

“Online commerce also enables companies to save additional costs by creating self-service sales portals and by automating processes across their back-end systems to shorten the length of the supply chain,” Britz said.

Already, ecommerce companies such as Kilimall and Kyamu have joined Jumia and OLX giants to push the uptake of ecommerce in Kenya.

The Communication Authority of Kenya in several of its quarterly reports pointed to the increase of parcel deliveries in the country and attributed the growth to budding ecommerce activities in the country.

“There has been some impressive growth within the e-commerce arena. As businesses offer more mobile shopping apps and opportunities, security improves and consumers interact more and more with these kind of technologies, they will become more trusting of spending money via the internet and their mobile device. This has a profound effect on the intention/propensity to shop via e-commerce and m-commerce platforms,” Britz added.

But challenges that inhibit the rapid growth of ecommerce include shipping and delivery issues in Africa. In a report analysis on the postal and courier services, commissioned by the Communication Authority in March 2014, deliveries are seen as a big impediment to growth of ecommerce.

“Firms have cited the lack of a national addressing system as a major barrier to e-commerce. In the meantime, postal and courier operators will need to find their own solutions, individually or collaboratively – these can be effective – e.g. GPS, smartphone technology, SMS notifications and universal SIM registration,” the analysis denotes.

Currently Jumia has contracted riders to deliver goods across Kenya and also have several pick up points.

Britz concludes that, “The number of innovative start-up entrepreneurs, developers and software providers within African countries highlights the progressive push towards modern technologies and business interactions.”

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