It’s been three years of WeeTracker being your chronicler of tech economy, business and markets. We combine the high-streets of finance with creative storytelling to build insightful narratives that people can act upon.
From Fawry, Interswitch, Jumia to Flutterwave, our news coverage has been on the byte-lanes of high-speed Internet; delivered as it happens; thriving across many cultural and technological paradigms. And now we bring to you yet another milestone in our journey – our premium video section. We aim at interviewing the who’s who of the business world; the top honchos with all the ondits and inside info to help you accelerate in your growth.
With passion, curiosity and integrity — we aim at journalism that is accurate, objective and engaging.
And in our very first edition, we try to explore the South African ecommerce scene. What does the country get right? What more new opportunities can it provide? To answer such questions, WeeTracker invited Clive Butkow, CEO, Kalon Venture Partner and Paris Philippou, VP, ecommerce and digital, Massmart.
While more than 66% of SA are regular mobile internet users only 1.4% go online to shop. Quite dismal? Maybe not. “When it comes to online sales I’m positive on growth. You will see online sale volume of 1.4%, go up to 4% of total retail spend. Its growing at a clipping rate of 40-50% year-on-year,” says Clive Butkow, who’s backed hotshot like Sendmarc, FinChatBot, Mobiz.
Sitting on a quarter of a billion rand, Butkow says, “We won’t invest in anything less than a 10X return on capital. We look for a good founding team, nice domain and a lot of traction in the marketplace. And e-commerce is something we have certainly placed our bets on.”
According to a Visa survey, as high as 63% of South Africans prefer to make purchases at a mall, and about 76% visit a mall at least once a week. Is it a strong tug towards the physical shopping experience or is it an inability to shop online. “There are many barriers to shopping online. In a retail store, you’d pay in cash. Whereas online you need to have the credit/means to shop. Another real issue is a physical address – to which the product has to be delivered to. Many people don’t have that,” says Paris Philippou.
Adding to this issue is that in townships like Soweto in Johannesburg, have some streets that entirely non-accessibly by road. “Then what do you do? There are sites that are now delivering to the nearest bricks and motor store – from which customers can then pick up.”
Innovation, the two retail veterans say – is the key to successful business models. “Look at the “take now -pay later” model it is successful. In my personal capacity I have invested in a company called M-Post in Kenya, which if you don’t have a home address — converts your mobile number into a physical door that you could actually send your goods to.”
But shopping online is not without its trust issues. Not a day goes up when our newspapers don’t tell us about some scam or the other. If you want to hear about how Clive Butkow became victim to an online fraud or what Paris Philippou thinks of ease of payment – videos available with annual membership of WeeTracker.
Stay tuned for many more exciting conversations about African venture investments, digital economy and business scenario. You can access the videos by becoming our annual subscribers.