The Uncharted Waters; E-Commerce

The decision by Microsoft to invest $100 million (Sh10 billion) in a first-ever development center in Nairobi goes along way in recognizing the rising importance of African IT talent.

IT across the African continent is uncharted waters which bears promising returns if leveraged well. This is why the World Bank is betting on a digital transformation to rescue Africa from the snares of poverty.

The Bank has plans to invest $25 billion (Sh2.5 trillion) which is likely to attract matching funds of a similar amount or even more from the private sector. These resources will go into digital transformation between now and 2030 so as to fight poverty.

Research findings estimate Cross-border shopping will be responsible for up to 20% of E-Commerce in 2022, with sales of US$630 billion. Driven by China and the Asia Pacific markets it will become the largest cross-border E-Commerce region for both imports and exports. Cross-border shoppers are becoming more sophisticated, and consumers in new markets like the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America are also adopting cross-border E-Commerce.

This forecast details online cross-border retail across 29 countries and the regions of North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East. With Smartphone adoption being higher in the developed world at 65% in 2015 and projected to grow to 76% by 2020. However, the progression in the developing world is faster with an increase of 23 points from 40% in 2015 to 63% in 2020. By 2020,  Sub-Saharan Africa should reach a total of 540 million smartphones from 380 million at the end of 2015.

So what do you need to set sail and not to wail as an entrepreneur?

A website to tap in on the cross-border shopping.

A website essentially helps you have control over the prevailing narrative.

Ensures that there is zero loss of any business opportunities; as we have earlier established the internet is a huge market waiting to be explored.

It allows you to have a 24hrs a day presence to this said big market and it ensures you enjoy the trappings of low cost advertising.

A website also allows for you to;

  • Your website gives you full control to publish anything you want
  • Your website allows you to change design based on your audience preferences
  • You own all the content you post on your website
  • You have full control on when your website should be up or down
  • A website allows you to own your audience, you don’t have to pay to reach them
  • You can use your website traffic to build an email list

But this is what ensures you remain a ship and not a sheep on the waters…

A responsive website that allows your customers to buy and pay for the items they have selected. A website that basically is an online store that integrates card or mobile money forms of payment with location and delivery mechanisms.

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