Why E-Commerce May Be A Gold Mine For African Startups

By  |  October 28, 2018

Global technological advancements have been the transforming force for a numerousness of economic societies. In the African chapter, the impact of innovative ideas on the business economy, especially the internet, has been immeasurably remarkable. Countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa are experiencing paced developments in their economies, making it crystal clear that the internet’s venture into business transactions has allowed various entrepreneurs to build positive marketable brands for their series of products and services. Buttressing that e-commerce markets are growing fast is the research that shows the online market is telegraphed to grow by 56 percent in 2020, while traditional markets are expected to experience a 2 percent rise around the same period. With the unemployment crisis, the system seems rather too filled to accommodate everyone. So with the turn to self-employment, which doesn’t come on a silver platter, African SMEs can tap into the still-young e-commerce industry. Here are some reasons why such a move may be the enterprise of a lifetime.


In order for a startup business to thrive, convenience is crucial. In a situation where customers have to go through a heck load of stress before they can gain access to certain products and services, there will undoubtedly be a shortage of efficiency and productivity on the part of the early-stage enterprise. The effects stemming from this will in turn damage the business’ reputation, as customers will be less willing to patronize the brand if the competitors table a better offer. E-commerce is the kinds of platform invented with the convenience of every customer in mind. Buying and selling online allows them to overcome geographical barriers, and, for the fact that it isn’t time-limited, products and services can be purchased anytime. All it takes is a computer, or, more conveniently, a smartphone and internet connection. Life made easy. So e-commerce is the go-to for African startups because of this advantage, and it could very well prove to be a worthy investment.


The crucial-ness of accessibility is just about the same measure as that of convenience. In a situation where buyers and even sellers don’t have to Google-map a location and find their way there just to purchase an item, the comfort sets in nicely. The hurdle of beating traffic and locating store have been overcome, totally removing the extra transportation costs, as e-commerce delivers orders right at the doorsteps. African startups are usually bedecked by proximity to markets and consumers, but with electronic sales, they can serve from virtually anywhere, given that they have near-enough dispatch services. Transportation for both buyers and sellers are controlled, creating an avenue for more innovation and quality services.


In the e-commerce sector, customers are easily provided with alternatives when they are shopping. Several online services have features which allow customers to seamlessly browse through multiple e-commerce merchants and find the most affordable prices for the items to be bought. Becoming or being an African e-commerce startup would imply that you are bringing a long-lasting solution to the table, which involves providing a better alternative than your competitors. Should you pay keen attention to this and act innovatively on this, your startup would be the go-to for e-buying. Rather than browsing through apparently endless shelves in perhaps short-supply department stores, customers can simply log on and check out the best in terms of quality and price tags. African startups offering competitive prices and premium products will have more than an edge.


E-commerce came with an avenue for people to buy and sell twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week, making it possible for online shops to be open even at ‘ungodly hours.’ From the perspective of the product owner, this factor increases the number of orders daily, and from that of the customer, the ever open is the cherry atop the chocolate cake. E-commerce’s timelessness brings with it flexibility in almost all ramifications. African startups in the industry can devote time and attention to other businesses or personal matters, while yet receiving orders and processing them. Simple clicks here and there, and the cash is always being scooped in, and the buyer is already a happy customer.

Cut-Down Costs

With an e-commerce platform, there is no need for traditional offices, company setups, and plenty of logistics, all of which cost money which is usually hard for startups to secure. Being that most of the transactions are done online, startups with limited funds can yet have a fighting chance even from the comfort of their homes. There are no overhead costs or limited labor required in this sector. Clients do not have to meet up at locations for transactions to be in order and operational expenses are cut down drastically. The automation processes that come with e-commerce, including billing, payments, inventory management, and others lower the number of employees required to get an online purchase platform up and running. Because all that is needed is a stable internet connection, the company can address the many needs of more clients within a short time.  

These advantages brought on makes e-commerce the destination for startups’ surge and current, with the evidence of a great promise for online industry, presenting a lasting panacea to the unemployment problem in Africa.


Feature image courtesy: Freepik

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