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Bringing online shopping to Africa
Posted by Tafadzwa Mapfumo on 4/25/2012
The US and European Markets have taken internet buying and have adopted it as a conventional method of buying. Last year alone internet sales were US$200 billion in the US and US$75 billion in the UK. Its not strange to have someone buy things on the internet in Europe or the USA from Amazon. Its now a well established trend. Then we come to Africa. E-commerce is still a new phenomenon to the African continent. There is a lot of skepticism when it comes to buying online. The model that has worked overseas has worked on the basis of trust. There is very little trust amongst fellow Africans. This lack of trust is not unfounded. It is based on real-risks. There have been some dodgy internet shops setup by unscrupulous individuals. These scammers are costing the E-commerce business around the continent. Hence the need for internet shoppers to do their due diligence and do their research before buying online. There are ways of finding out if an online shop is legitimate. To lessen the chances of being scammed you have to consider things like does the company have a physical office and is it a registered company and things like that. We should not wonder why the Western countries are excelling and african countries staying on the bottom of the economic ecosystem. The citizens of Western countries have economically voted for online entrepreneurs with their dollars. That's why the US has span out big Internet companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Ebay, Twitter, MSN, Skype and Netflix. What makes new technology excel in a new environment is its adoption by the market. Trust has proved to be a currency. Trust is the key to an online economy in Africa. At the moment most websites accept credit cards and visa debit cards which has facilitated most of the sales online. However the number of sales online could increase if numerous methods of payments are adopted. There are various payment platforms that can be adopted in order to facilitate wider usage of online as a shopping platform. What is needed is a huge paradigm shift in Africa. A shift in accepting new technology, that way we might see our own equivalents of Amazon that then create abundance in employment and in revenue.
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