Africa is increasingly migrating into e-commerce as its consumers are adapting to the culture of shopping online on a daily basis.With internet penetration rapidly spreading across the Zimbabwe, this represents huge potential which has been untapped.The typical strategy in Zimbabwe is to introduce new companies by recreating foreign business models. But for e-commerce start-ups, its very hard in Zimbabwe.
The growth and expansion of online retailing in Zimbabwe is of major concern to e-commerce start-ups as it has been deemed slow according to recent records published by PayNow.
According to Vusi Ndebele team leader at PayNow, only 10% of the transactions that they are handling are for e-tailing. Of the 7 000 transactions a month they are processing online retail’s 10% are placed at 700 transactions.
In his presentation, Ndebele stressed out that the 10% total for the online retail trails four other sectors which include Telecommunications and internet payments, Travel and Tourism, Services and Bill payments as well as Donations.
An ecosystem that is robbed of eager, experienced and well-funded tech enthusiast or startups has been a major set back the development of online retailing in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Zimbabweans are trailing behind as they are seeing how easy e-commerce is making life easy in many circumstances though their engagement is very slow and this convenience is not the same as online shopping.
Ndebele also cited the problem that falls on brick and mortar retailers who do not see the same opportunity as some are finding in creating an additional sales channel through the internet.
Paynow is however, not the only channel that is being used for online payments in Zimbabwe but its data serves to be relevant as it offers a fair representation of online payments in the country mainly because it presents itself as the most convenient way of incorporating the common payment options of the country.
Locals must start to look at the internet retail in the right way.One of the main reasons Zimbabweans have yet to embrace online shopping, due to online fraud.and the other reason being “Open markets” everywhere, starting with the security guards who sale airtime where they are stationed. There are open markets, supermarkets, and even unemployed youth selling things at traffic stops in major cities.