DHL’s New Product Will Accelerate Africa’s E-commerce

By  |  April 15, 2019

International courier company Dalsey Hillblom Lynn, commonly known as DHL, has developed a mobile and desktop application tailored to accelerate online shopping experience for consumers in Africa. According to DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa CEO, Hennie Heymans, what is monikered as DHL Africa Shop will enable customers to shop directly from over 200 online retailers based in the United States and the United Kingdom.

DHL-MFA Affair

The electronic shop will operate with the white label service of MallforAfrica Link Commerce – and payment options will include local fintech gateways such as Nigeria-based Paga and Kenya-based M-Pesa. This news comes in the wake of proliferated activity in Africa’s e-commerce sector, with the most significant being JUMIA’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange.  The eShop will leverage DHL’s existing delivery structure on the continent to get goods to doorsteps through its DHL Express shipping,  tracking and courier service.

This is not the first time MallforAfrica is partnering with DHL, even as it has collaborated with other retail giants in Africa, such as Marcy’s and Best Buy. The Helios Investment Partners-backed giant began operation in 2011, with eyes set on addressing the challenges faced by global consumer goods firm when making inroads into Africa. MFA’s payment and delivery system act as a digital broker and logistics manager for American retailers that sell goods to Africans on the platform.

These two e-commerce firms have been going shoulder to shoulder since 2015. Last year, they joined efforts to launch, an e-commerce site for worthy African artisans to sell their goods in any of DHL’s 220 delivery countries. For the newly launched eShop, MFA’s Link Commerce service will help foster local transactions, purchase and delivery.

Doing One Better

According to reports, the DHL Africa eShop will offer consumers in Africa a better chance to access international retailers on a platform that is easy to use. In a statement, Heymans said: “DHL Africa eShop provides convenience, speed and access for online customers in Africa. As the global leader in express logistics, DHL is well positioned to connect African consumers with exciting global brands. This is yet another opportunity for DHL to reaffirm its commitment to supporting the growth of e-commerce in the region.’’

Citing a McKinsey report which says that the demand for world-class online shopping opportunities are growing tremendously in Africa’s most significant economies, Heymans revealed that despite the said demands, many U.S and U.K-based retailers are yet to offer shipping to Africa countries. This deficit, he said, is due to the perceived logistical challenges involved, including high last-mile delivery costs and concerns with fraud.

“However, DHL Express is the first express operator to set up in Africa over 40 years ago. So we are well-positioned to offer innovative and reliable solutions for the continent. “E-commerce offers enormous potential for the region, and we are proud to provide this platform to further connect African consumers with global opportunities,’’ Heymans said.

Amazon offers limited online sales in Africa but has started its AWS Services in the continent, while Alibaba is yet to make a full entry. Meanwhile, a few of the favorite stores available in the new DHL launch include Amazon, Zara, M&S, Boohoo, Next, Sports Direct, Nordstrom, Macys, Fashionnova, Gap, Hawes & Curtis, Fenty Beauty, Carter’s, The Children’s Place, George by ASDA, Farfetch, Louis Vuitton, Everything 5Pounds, TopMan and TopShop.

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